For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have… pierced themselves with many pains. – 1 Timothy 6:10
Note that Paul does not write that “money is a root of all kinds of evil,” but rather that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” An important distinction!
But I don’t want to begin there. I want to begin instead with something I’ve noticed that I tell myself almost every morning when I wake up. Nearly every morning when I wake up, I tell myself two things: first, “I didn’t get enough sleep,” and second, “I don’t have enough time.” Sometimes the first is actually true – I didn’t get enough sleep. But the second, never. On any given morning I have exactly the same amount of time I did the previous day, the same amount of time that every other person has that day, the same amount of time that every person has had every day for centuries. I have 24 hours! Continue reading →
Sermon for Sunday January 17, 2015 Epiphany 2C
January 17, 2015
“My hour has not yet come.” – Jesus to his mother, John 2:4
In this morning’s gospel lesson, it seems strange that Jesus would in one moment say, “My hour has not yet come,” and in the next change water into wine. It seems that – contrary to what Jesus just said – His hour did come. But, as impressive a feat as it was for Jesus to change water into wine, changing water into wine was not yet His hour; to change water into wine is not why He came into the world. Five times more in John’s Gospel, Jesus would do an impressive sign. Yet none of these was His “hour;” for none of these did Jesus come into the world. Continue reading →
The liturgical year is the unpacking of the lightning flash of the immense divine life. The liturgy is a course in Christian fundamentals; it’s a course in ascetical practice; it’s a course in very profound theology; and it’s a course in Christian mysticism–all at the same time. Each of us plugs into it at the particular level of our own assimilation of this light–or the light’s assimilation of us, depending on which way you want to look at this. The liturgy picks you up wherever you are. There’s something for everyone every time we recycle the liturgical year.
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
This morning’s sermon is a sermon about love, and also a sermon about calendars. The two are closely connected, for loving takes time.
I want to begin with a brief interview that President Obama gave this past May. This past May – in the midst of unrest over race relations in our country and grievances about excessive use of force by police on African Americans – President Obama held a round-table discussion with Hispanic and black students at Lehman College in the Bronx and asked them what could be done to help them reach their goals. Afterward, in surprisingly candid remarks, President Obama told of his own upbringing and the opportunities he had been given, and said how the only difference between himself and many young men of color in our country was that he “grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.” Then he said, “What it comes down to is this: Do we love these kids?”
“Do we love these kids?”
What if we really did love “these kids?” Would our country look different? I’ll come back to this in just a bit, but first, let’s take a look at this morning’s gospel lesson. Continue reading →
This morning, I’m going to preach two sermons. The second will be very brief and about the Blessing of the Animals. The first, likewise somewhat brief, will really be about prayer – specifically, the kind of prayer with scripture called “entering the story” – but it will look a lot like a sermon about time, especially our sense of time and God’s sense of time.
Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt
And I want to approach this “entering the story” kind of prayer through some of the commentary that has been written in the Jewish tradition about today’s lesson from Exodus, what we call “the Ten Commandments, but which in the Jewish tradition is called the “standing at Sinai.” (Remember that the people were standing at Mount Sinai when God, high above on the mountain, gave the commandments to Moses.) Some of the Jewish commentary on Israel’s “standing at Sinai” I find quite wonderful and creative. Continue reading →