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As Jesus Loves Us

This is the sermon I preached this Sunday at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel text is John 13:31-35.  We hear these words every Maundy Thursday in Holy Week. Jesus has just washed his disciples’ feet, including Judas’. Judas has departed from the others so he could betray Jesus. On the heels of this, Jesus says NOW he’s been glorified. We have again one of those circuitous, seemingly convoluted statements about Jesus being glorified, the Father being glorified in him and so on. Now to the crux of today’s message. What does Jesus mean by “a new commandment?” Elsewhere, we hear about the need to love one another and others in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. What’s new about that? There’s an additional piece Jesus brings into this commandment; a further lens through which to view love. “…as I have loved you…love one another” (v. 34). The newness is a “new” understanding. What does Jesus’ love toward his disciples look like? We see a small piece of it in the way Jesus addresses his d
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Sheepy Followers

This is the sermon I preached Sunday at St. Timothy Lutheran Church , Bemus Point, NY. The gospel was John 10:22-30 .  Many of you know that I lived in Bethlehem, the Holy Land in the 1980s with my then-husband and children. One of the delights of Bethlehem life was the view we had from our upstairs aa. We often saw a herd of sheep filling the street below; led by a young boy. He would occasionally say something to them in Arabic. Did you know that sheep understand Arabic? He rarely looked back to check to see if they were all following him. He didn’t need to. He knew his sheep.  Today’s gospel demonstrates such a relationship. Jesus’ followers are likened to sheep, highlighting their relationship to the Father and the Son. Additionally, there are benefits because of that relationship: protection and eternal life. Life is a major theme of John’s gospel. Relationship punctuates the conclusion of today’s gospel—that between the Father and the Son that we have the privilege of entering in

Do You Love Me?

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 5/1/22 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church . The text was John 21:1-19 . Click here to listen/watch this song.   Golde goes through the litany of all she does as a good wife of the time. Doesn’t that show she loves Tevye? Ultimately, they each decide that they do love each other. As that scene closes, they sing together, “It doesn't change a thing. But even so, after twenty-five years, It's nice to know.”   Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” These what? In verse 15, who/what are the “these?” Is Jesus talking about fish? Since Jesus was no longer with the disciples in person, was Peter returning to fishing? Or, was it just a way for him to go to the familiar and clear his head? What do you think?   Are the “these” the other disciples? Here we have Jesus commissioning Peter as leader of the disciples. Does Peter love Jesus more than the other disciples do, or does he love Jesus more than he loves the other disciples?

The These

These are a few thoughts on this coming's gospel, John 21:1-19. In verse 15, who/what are the “these?” Is Jesus talking about fish? Since Jesus was no longer with the disciples in person, was Peter cashing in his chips by returning to fishing? Or, was it just a way for him to go to the familiar and clear his head? What do you think?   Are the “these” the other disciples? Here we have Jesus commissioning Peter as leader of the disciples. Did Peter’s love of Jesus need to excel that of the other disciples?   Are the “these” all of the above? Was Simon Peter willing to give up all the familiar to follow Jesus and lead the disciples?   Jesus’ call to each one of us is to love him more than “these;” the “these” of work, family, home, friends. That doesn’t mean we have to live an isolated life like some desert hermits—quite the contrary, since our call is to be Christ’s presence in the world.   Simon Peter, like Jesus, was crucified for the faith. It is said that Peter as

Jesus' Armload of Promises

  This is the sermon I preached Sunday at St. Timothy Lutheran Church . The scripture text is John 20:19-31 . Each of the Sundays during the Easter season focuses on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. This week, he appears to Thomas and the others. Rather than focusing on Thomas, let’s focus on Jesus and his promises for his followers. This reminds me of a song written by Burt Bacharach, recorded in the ‘60s by Dionne Warwick entitled “Promises, Promises.” The chorus contrasts two different kinds of promises: Oh, promises, their kind of promises, can just destroy a life Oh, promises, those kind of promises, take all the joy from life Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises Can lead to joy and hope and love Yes, love!!  The disciples behind closed, locked doors are scared to death and mourning the loss of their friend, leader and master, Jesus. Those that follow God had gotten killed by the authorities—first John the Baptist and now Jesus. We

Follow Those Women!

This is the message I preached on Easter at St. Timothy Lutheran Church . The gospel text was Luke 24:1-12 .  The women in today’s gospel were doing what women did in that time; they were going to prepare Jesus’ body with spices to help cover the stink of death. But there was a problem—no body. Let’s follow these women to see how they became the first evangelists and testifiers of the resurrection; going beyond their confusion with the absence of a body to boldly witnessing to the other disciples.   They saw the empty tomb and two angels. This is certainly not what they expected. They had come with spices to anoint a dead body, but there was none to be found. The angels set them straight about the mystery of the missing body of Jesus.   They heard, the angels’ words, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” What do these angelic messengers mean? The living? “He is not here, but has risen.” How were they to get their minds around that? Luke didn’t mea
   This Sunday I'll be preaching on Luke 3:7-18 . O nce again, we encounter John the Baptist in Sunday's gospel, Luke 3:7-18. I have a couple of questions of this text. First, how do we get from John calling his audience a brood of vipers to " So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people" (v. 18). Huh? Where do you see the good news in this passage? John is certainly an interesting character and example for us all to point to Christ and not ourselves. What do you all think? picture