Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Lectionary Readings through November

Here are the assigned readings through the end of November - Year C.

Aug 5 – Proper 13C: Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:23; Ps. 49:1-11; Colossians 3:5-11; Luke 12:13-21.

Aug 12-Proper 14C: Genesis 15:1-6; Ps. 33; Hebrews 11:1-16; Luke 12:32-40

Aug 19 – Proper 15C: Jer. 23:23-29; Ps. 82; Hebrews 12:1-14; Luke 12:49-56

Aug 26-Proper 16C: Isaiah 28:14-22; Ps. 46; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-29; Luke 13:22-30

Sept. 2-Proper 17C: Sirach (Apocrypha*) 10:12-18; Ps. 112; Heb. 13:1-8; Luke 14:1, 7-14

Sept. 9-Proper 18C: Deut. 30:15-20; Ps. 1; Philemon 1-20; Luke 14:25-33

Sept. 16-Proper 19C: Exodus 32:1, 7-14; Ps. 51:1-18; 1 Tim. 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10

Sept. 23-Proper 20C: Amos 8:4-12; Ps. 138; 1 Tim. 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13

Sept. 30-Proper 21C: Amos 6:1-7; Ps. 146; 1 Tim. 6:11-19; Luke 16:19-31

Oct 7-Proper 22C: Habakkuk 1:1-13, 2:1-4; Ps. 37:1-18; 2 Tim 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10

Oct 14-Proper 23C: Ruth 1:1-19a; Ps. 113; 2 Tim. 2:3-15; Luke 17:11-19

Oct 21-Proper 24C: Gen. 32:3-8, 22-30; Ps. 121, 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8a

Oct 28-Proper 25C: Jer. 14:1-10, 19-22; Ps. 84; 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14

Nov. 4-All Saints: Sirach (Apocrypha*) 44:1-19, 13-14; Ps. 149; Rev. 7:2-4,9-17; Mt. 5:1-12

Nov. 11-Proper 27C: Job 19:23-27a; Ps. 17; 2 Thess. 2:13-3:5; Luke 20:27-38

Nov. 18-Proper 28C: Mal. 3:13-4:2a,5-6; Ps. 98; 2 Thess. 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19

Nov. 25-Christ our King: Jer. 23:1-6, Ps. 46; Col. 1:11-20; Luke 23:35-43

* Please note: The Wisdom of Ben Sirach (or as it is known by its other name - Ecclesiasticus) is found in the section of the Bible known as the Apocrypha. Not every edition of the Bible has this section, so check with me if you need to find it. (JTCO)

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

A Sermon for Easter Day 2007

Look out! God’s resurrection power is at work!

They came at early dawn and found an empty tomb. They were perplexed – confused – disoriented. Things were not as they ought to have been. Jesus’ body should have been right where they saw it so hurriedly laid and they had seen this with their own eyes.

BUT, IT WAS NOT! Our Holy God’s resurrection power hit the tomb like a speeding train, and the power of resurrection permeated every particle of that dead, already decaying flesh, and in some sort of divine nuclear fission, the mortal was taken up into the immortal and Jesus Christ was raised from the dead – the same, but very different.

What had literally been a dead end was transformed into something no one had ever seen before…like a path made through the sea or the blind having their sight restored.

Our God, in Christ Jesus opened a way where there had been none. No wonder they were perplexed – they had just encountered God’s resurrection power - the power that makes all things new, that brings the impossible, the improbable into being in the blink of an eye.

All praise to our living God – now and forever for his amazing resurrection power!

This is why we should never lose hope….as my friend Joseph says…never, ever, ever…this is why all through the scriptures we keep being encouraged to hold onto our hope. The writer of Hebrews says…hold onto your hope for he who promised is faithful..

Why hold on? Because if we let the resurrection power of God loose in our dead end situations whatever they might be - no telling what will happen and like the women who came to the tomb, you can bet, we will be confused and perplexed - at least initially

Now, it doesn’t do any good just to hold on, to keep hoping if we are not going to let Jesus Christ – the world’s greatest change agent – into the situation. And frequently, we don’t want to do that…we want to let him in, well, just maybe a little, as a thoughtful or perhaps even compassionate observer…but give up control…NO WAY. Let me assure you, holding onto hope as long as we hold onto control is HOPELESS! God can’t work in that situation except in a very limited way.

Because, when we let the resurrection power of God in Christ into our lives, we need to be prepared for things to change, and it will be perplexing – no doubt—So hold on to your hope in Christ Jesus…

Consider, what is the alternative?

It’s the question the angel asked the women…”Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

When we will not let the resurrection power of God into our lives, we become dead people--- we may look alive but there’s death at the center and that’s where it will be heading. BUT when we belong to Jesus Christ, when we are connected to his body – spiritually, organically, his life flows into ours. See, resurrection isn’t something that just happens when we die – it starts as soon as we are one with Christ and his life giving blood flows in our spiritual veins.And what we see is changed lives.

How about you? Are you seeking life in a graveyard? Where are you investing your hope, your self, your time, your treasure? Want a quick way to answer that question? Take a look at your checkbook or credit card statement…it’s a quick and usually accurate indicator of where we have invested ourselves.

And we have to ask, are we willing to let God’s resurrection power get hold of us?

And this applies, not just to us as individuals, but to our families, churches, businesses even governments. Are we willing to let God’s resurrection power into those things?

I’ve got some news for you. If we don’t, then we are like the women in that garden --- looking for life, looking for the living among the dead.

Do you want a dead life, or a dead church, or a dead marriage...dead hope? You can guarantee it by staying in complete control , because our insistence on doing things our own way is what keeps God’s resurrection power away…

Do you want to live…. to have an alive church, an alive marriage , and alive whatever? Then, say to the lord Jesus, come in. and fill me or fill this situation with your resurrection power.

You will be confused, you will be perplexed but you will also be amazed at what happens.

The angel said something else to the women- of which we should take note. “ Remember that he told you that he would be handed over into the hands of sinful people, that he would be crucified and that on the third day he would rise.” The angel said…Remember! He told you what would happen. Subtext: why are you perplexed? He told you it would happen in just this way! Humankind is truly slow to learn. And, we have a God who has communicated himself over and over again in the scriptures…

For instance, why in the world are we surprised at the pain and trouble that come if we break one of the ten commandments, say, like stealing? This is not rocket science. God gives us these things because they keep us from injuring ourselves, each other and from destroying our relationship with God--- cutting ourselves off from his resurrection power.

Yet, if we remember and come to ourselves and ask for that resurrection power to be at work in us, he is faithful…and the result in our lives? We truly live, we can have courage and hope, and the power to love and serve both in the difficult, painful times and in the peaceful times as well and we will have the Resurrected One as our companion forever..

So, on this Easter Day, I say….Look Out! God’s resurrection power – the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead – is heading your and our way. Let us embrace it and embrace our Resurrecting God with joy and praise and thanks and glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now and Forever…AMEN.