January 25, 2009

A sermon on the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, given on the concluding Sunday of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Jonah 3: 1-5, 10I Corinthians 7: 29-31Mark 1: 14-20 I am not a preacher! I think that I am more comfortable when Amanda stands up here. And by the time I’m finished, maybe you will be too. Preaching is not my natural gift. I teach. I lead my students through their studies, and help them with their questions. But I don’t normally stand at the front of a worshipping congregation to preach the Word of God. I’m much more comfortable with my own words. But today, I’m preaching because it is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is a special Week in the Christian year for me and for Amanda, because we are what has come to be called an “interchurch couple.” We share together in each other’s churches. Perhaps some of you do not know this already. I am Roman Catholic. Amanda and I met when she was at seminary, and I was beginning my graduate work in ecumenical theology. We share together in an ecumenical vocation. Here, already, is a distinctive Catholic word. For Catholics, “vocation” captures part of the meaning of the word “mission” for Presbyterians and other Reformed Christians. A vocation is simply a calling, but a special one. One that comes from God. Amanda and I believe that God has called us to be a family. We share together a … Read more »

January 22, 2012

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 Mark 1:14-20 As we journey through the seasons of the church year and explore the texts of scripture each Sunday that are assigned by the lectionary cycle, we have the opportunity to focus on different parts of the Christian story. During Advent, we enter into the experience of waiting. Longing, hoping, waiting for a Messiah to come… waiting for his return, waiting for our world to be put right. When Christmas finally arrives, we enter into the experience of the Holy Family, of the shepherds, and of the angels. We celebrate the gift of God in sending Jesus into our world, almost as if he has just arrived. And then, at Epiphany, we walk with the wise men to greet him. We experience the “aha moment” – the knowledge that Emmanuel has come – “God with us” for the whole world. Today is the third Sunday after the Epiphany in our church year. We’re in what we call the “Season of Epiphany” and our scripture texts contain some wonderful epiphanies of their own. But I can’t help summing them up with one message from God: “It is time to live differently.” The Greek word that is translated as “time” in each of our New Testament readings today is KAIROS. You might recognize that word from the name of our Canadian ecumenical social justice organization. KAIROS doesn’t have to do with what time it is on the clock. That’s CHRONOS – chronological time. CHRONOS deals … Read more »

January 21, 2018

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 Mark 1:14-20 “A Moment and a Lifetime” I wonder if you can remember the moment when your journey with Jesus began. I know some people who can name that moment, when they first prayed and asked Christ to come into their heart, when they first decided that they wanted the focus of their lives to change, and were ready to embrace the “Jesus Way” of living in the world. It’s a moment like that in the lives of some of Jesus’ first disciples that we hear about in our Gospel reading today. Simon and Andrew were fishing that day. James and John were in their boat, mending their fishing nets. Jesus came along and issued an invitation: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And they did. When Jesus was choosing his disciples they sure didn’t stop to tie their shoes.They left all their nets with no regrets for a calling that they could not refuse. Lord, I will follow you wherever you may go.I want to be a reaper of the seeds you sow. We hear the story about that key moment when the first disciples made the decision to drop their nets, leave their usual routines, and follow Jesus in ministry. And doesn’t it make you wonder about what came before that moment? Was Jesus really a total stranger to these fishermen, who interrupted their work and told them that their new occupation would be “fishing for people” from now on? If … Read more »