April 18, 2019

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

“I have set you an example”

This is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin word, “mandate” – as in, we are “mandated” to do these things that Jesus told us to do.

He said that every time we eat bread together and share wine around a table, we should remember him. Remember his love for us. Remember his giving himself for us. Remember that he, himself, is like bread for our souls, giving us life.

And he said that we should love one another. We should serve one another. Humbling ourselves, getting down on our knees, and washing each other’s stinky feet.

As Jesus’ disciples, we are mandated to do these things. These are the things that Jesus commands us to do.

But if there is one thing that we must learn about Christianity, one thing that we must embrace about the Way of Jesus, it is that his is not a religion of rules and regulations, of blindly obeying commandments and mandates from on high.

Certainly, the commandments can help us along the way by giving us some direction and guiding us along the path of God’s love. Jesus didn’t reject the commandments, but he looked for what was most important … Read more »

May 2, 2010

Revelation 21:1-6
Psalm 148
John 13:31-35

Behold! Behold! I make all things new
beginning with you, and starting from today.
Behold! Behold! I make all things new
My promise is true, for I am Christ the way.

I am proud of our choir today for being willing to try something new by singing “Cantate Brasilia” this morning. The Latin words, though ancient, were new and challenging for us. And the complicated rhythms of the piece meant that we had to work hard to get them right and up to speed. But it was worth it, I think, to sing a new song to the Lord, and to share the enthusiasm and spirit of another culture in making music to glorify God.

Behold! Behold! I make all things new
beginning with you, and starting from today.
Behold! Behold! I make all things newMy promise is true,
for I am Christ the way.

It’s strange and new for the minister to be delivering the sermon while sitting in a chair, singing and playing an African djembe drum. I’m not even dressed as usual in an alb and stole, but I’m dressed for worship at camp – in jeans and a bunny hug.

I know that new things can be off-putting. We may not be … Read more »

April 26, 2009

Genesis 1:26-31a
Psalm 8
1 John 4:7-21
John 13:12-15, 34-35

I’ve never had a guitar lesson, per se. I learned to play a few basic chords on the guitar and to strum along to the beat of the music when I was 17 and I was working in the kitchen at the Presbyterian camp. The first song that I learned to play on the guitar was this one… sing along if you know it…

Lead me, Jesus; I will follow,down the dusty pathways, all along the sea. Teach me, Jesus, to be loving: your disciple I will be.

I’ve sung that song so many times over the years since then. And whenever I sing it, I wonder about what it might have been like to be one of Jesus’ disciples… one of his first disciples who travelled with him along the dusty roads, beside seashores and through little villages… shuffling through the crowds, and stopping to touch and to pray for the sick, listening and questioning, wondering about home and family, anticipating the next day’s adventure, sharing food & wine among friends and strangers, and meeting all kinds of unusual people. I imagine what it must have been like for his disciples not to know what … Read more »