God's Full Glory
May 27, 2018
A very happy Trinity Sunday to all of you!  Now that I’ve said that, I’ll reveal myself to you, perhaps, as a charlatan for admitting that the concept of the Trinity is something that remains a bit of a mystery to me.  The word “mystery” in that sentence buys me a bit of theological credibility because the concept of the Trinity has been described by esteemed Christian thinkers over the millennia as “a mystery.”  Okay––I’ve got theological cover…for the fact that I join millions of other believers today and always in feeling quite inarticulate in the provision of a comprehensible definition of the Trinity.  “Three in one and one in three”––this borders on The Three Musketeers and that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it’s Alexandre Dumas.  And it’s not theology; it’s friendship.
Lives of Spirit
May 6, 2018
Here ends the reading!  Amen, and thank you to the many members of our community––our transnational and scholarly community––who helped us experience the xenolalia of the first apostles, the ability to speak and to understand in an actual language not one’s own.  Please join me in a spirit of prayer: “Our gracious God, on this Pentecost morning, we ask you to help us feel the power of the Holy Spirit’s presence among even us, that your Spirit may endow all of our words and thoughts with holy wisdom and truth.  Amen.”
Where God is Found
April 22, 2018

“For God so loved the world…”

“There is no greater love than this…”

“Abide in me as I abide in you…”

Please join me in a spirit of prayer: “Gracious God, as we consider your Holy Word and its meaning for our lives, grant us the faithful, wild imagination we need to understand anew how to manifest Christ’s love in the world, Amen.”

Giving Away the Ending
April 1, 2018
Not too many years ago, after publishing the final installment in the Harry Potter series, its author J.K. Rowling gave an interview.  She’d given countless interviews as the books and movies were coming out, but in this particular interview, after the last volume was public, she shared with her interviewer the fact that her Christian faith is an important part of her life.  The interviewer noted to Rowling that she had actually never before mentioned this significant aspect of her life, and Ms.  Rowling responded, “Well, I didn’t want to give away the ending.”
We Shall Be God's People
March 18, 2018
One month ago, on the first Sunday of Lent, my sermon was focused on the “rainbow covenant” that God made with all living things in the wake (literally) of the great flood.  The ark was beached on dry ground and its inhabitants had trooped out.  In this covenant, God promised never to wipe out humanity again––never to annihilate all living things.  Fast forward through the eons of the history of Israel and we find ourselves, in our biblical passage assigned for today, learning about God’s new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  As with the older covenant, the message to us is one of unending grace and mercy.
Cleansing Our Lives
March 4, 2018
On this third Sunday in this holy season of Lent, our biblical assignment is the so-called “cleansing” of the Jerusalem temple.  I say “so-called” because the language of “cleansing” has become so much more problematic than when such good scholars were instructing me in seminary, some thirty years ago, using this language.  Since then, the language of “cleansing” has been used by political and military leaders to justify their killing of people
Covenanted Together
Feb. 18, 2018
This past week, I noticed an article in the New York Times (perhaps you did, too) about the Church of England’s Lenten initiative that encourages the faithful to make plastic products the focus of their Lenten discipline of self-denial.  They have an online resource that I highly recommend, it includes a daily calendar of Bible verses related to the preservation of God’s creation paired with a proactive, small step that people can...
The Line of Succession
Feb. 11, 2018
Several years ago, I spent an Advent Sunday as the guest preacher at the Duke University Chapel where, some six months before, their beloved Dean had left to take another job.  One of the staff who hosted me said, “I think we’re all still in mourning.”  He had been very charismatic, a big personality, very gifted, and he had brought so much energy to the place.  It was clearly a very difficult transition for the staff, one that was taking a long time to work through, despite the immediate hiring of another charismatic Dean.  He was, of course, a different person.
Prophecy and Heresy
Jan. 28, 2018
How do you spell “prof-et”?  A clergy friend of mine likes to ask this of people he doesn’t know well.  Our own answers right now are probably influenced by the fact that we’ve just heard a biblical passage about people who speak God’s truth – prophets. But perhaps what did pop first into your mind was material gain – profit.  The words rhyme in English, yet they have such different meanings.  I appreciate my friend’s bemused question and its gentle suggestion that our allegiances – our priorities – align with whichever way we instinctively answer the question.  Both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures in the Bible caution us to avoid those who say they are prophets but whose goal seems to be profit.
Getting What We Want for Christmas
Dec. 24, 2017
It is Christmas Eve, and here we are, together again, on this silent night, this holy night.  Much has happened in our country, and in our world, since we gathered last year.  Some things are hopeful, many are challenging, particularly for those who have always been vulnerable – the poor, the refugees, those marginalized because of their religion or race.  The baby Jesus was each of these things, born this sacred evening into the brutal occupation of the Roman Empire.  What his young parents wanted for themselves on that first Christmas was safety, was respect, was shelter, was a future – a future in which their new son could live, not with wealth, but with simple dignity.