Category Archives: grace

  1. Reading the Bible like Paul (Luke 18.9-14; Gal. 1.13-17; 2.11-21) [sermon 5-21-2017]

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    May 19, 2017 by jmar198013

    Paul read, interpreted, and applied the scriptures filtered through the story of Jesus and his own experience as a sinner who received mercy. That may be the most valid Christian hermeneutic there is.

  2. Reading the Bible like Jesus (Acts 15.1-18) [sermon 5-14-2017]

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    May 11, 2017 by jmar198013

    Acts 15 is a story of the leaders of the early church reading the Bible like Jesus. It’s a good example to follow. That’s why it’s there.

  3. Fulfilling Isaiah (Acts 8.26-39) [sermon 5-7-2017]

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    May 6, 2017 by jmar198013

    The work of the church is to continue what God and Jesus and Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch began. To “take up the cause of all the black sheep,” the ones who have been considered unclean and excluded from God’s people. To bring them to the Good News of God’s salvation—that God has heard them crying out in their shame and humiliation. That they are not strangers to God. That God knows and loves all his children. That Jesus has borne their shame and rejection in his cross. That in the incarnation, death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ, Father God has “embraced the company of the lowest.” Our work as the church is to keep fulfilling Isaiah 56 through the Good News of Isaiah 53. We need to know who the foreigners and eunuchs of our time are to do this. I believe we are wise enough to know this.

    Because the bottom line is, God has embraced the church in our shame and uncleanness through the waters of baptism. And Jesus’ word to us is the same as it ever was: Do unto others as I have done for you.

  4. Low points and high spots (Acts 6.1 – 7.2a, 44-60; Luke 23.33-34a, 46) [sermon 4-30-2017]

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    April 26, 2017 by jmar198013

    Many look to the book of Acts as a blueprint for how the church ought to be, but it’s really more of a portrait of how the church was–and often is.

    Luke makes sure we see both the low points and the high spots of the first decades of the church. We see some of these in our lesson today, as the church deals with a problem of neglect of minority widows; overwhelmed (and out of touch?) leadership; and the brutal lynching of one of its ministers. These stories all show us both low points and high spots in the life of the early church.

  5. Opening the scriptures (Luke 24.13-35) [sermon 4-23-2017]

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    April 22, 2017 by jmar198013

    Jesus still journeys with his church, just as he did those two disciples on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. And every time we take and bless and break and share the bread that is his body and the wine that is his blood, the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our host. He is made known to us. We can join with the disciples who first proclaimed: The Lord has risen indeed! And we can know that because he has been raised from the dead, so will we.

  6. Pretending Easter hasn’t happened (Luke 23.32-47) [Good Friday homily 2017]

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    April 12, 2017 by jmar198013

    Because of Good Friday, in the darkness of this present age, we feel Jesus’ nail-pierced hands grasp our hands; and his feet walk beside our feet. And the same voice that told someone suffering beside him in the darkness: “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.” That voice says to us: Child, I know. They did it to me, too.

  7. Sight to the blind (Luke 18.31 – 19.10) [sermon 4-2-2017]

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    March 31, 2017 by jmar198013

    In Luke 18.31-19.10, the meaning of Jesus’ word is hidden from his disciples. A blind man begs for sight. A tiny tax collector named Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus through a crowd. There’s all sorts of reasons people can’t see. But Jesus cures not only the blindness of the eyes, but of the heart and spirit.

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