Category Archives: repentance

  1. Good fences make good neighbors? (Luke 16.19-31) [sermon 3-26-2017]

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    March 24, 2017 by jmar198013

    The rich man—who was used to getting his way—wouldn’t let up. “No, Father Abraham!” he argued. “But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.” Abraham said, “If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” And that gives the story a new twist. Because we know Jesus, the one telling the story, would himself rise from the dead later. But even that wouldn’t convince a lot of people. When you invest yourself in getting more stuff, gaining more status, and winning at any cost—like the Pharisees—you become blind to many things.

  2. Falling towers and fruitless fig trees (Luke 13.1-9, 31-35) [sermon 3-12-17]

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    March 8, 2017 by jmar198013

    The story of this fig tree receiving special attention—extravagant mercy and generosity—calls us all to see ourselves as that tree. Like Jesus said elsewhere: “Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much.” We’ve been given much. Maybe we need to see a warning hidden in all our blessings: a judgment is coming if we don’t bear fruit worthy of repentance.

  3. “I’m here; send me!” (Isaiah 6.1-8) [Sermon 11-13-2016]

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    November 10, 2016 by jmar198013

    Like Isaiah, we live in unsettled and unsettling times. Things are changing, which is a constant in our world. But so many feel left behind. Lost. Unheard. Many are afraid of what the future holds for them, if anything. Many live in despair. In fear. In rage. In confusion. We also live in a time when so many unclean lips go unchecked, and the words they speak do real harm. We are surrounded by the walking wounded. In such a time, may we be people with clean lips. God needs us to be his lips, to speak words of hope, comfort, and healing to our wounded neighbors. To use our words to build others up, not tear them down.

    God’s invitation extends to us, from Isaiah’s day to our own: “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”

    May you and I—all of us—respond as Isaiah did: “I’m here; send me.”

  4. Dreams and schemes (Gen. 37.3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50.15-21; Luke 6.35) [sermon 09-25-2016]

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    September 22, 2016 by jmar198013

    Joseph had big dreams. His brothers had twisted schemes. But God had dreams and schemes of his own.

  5. Get down and dirty with God (Luke 13.1-9; Isa. 55.1-9) [Sermon 02-28-2016, Lent 3c]

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    February 25, 2016 by jmar198013

    Once some folks told Jesus that Pilate has massacred some of his neighbors. Obviously, these folks thought the dead had it coming.

    Not Jesus! He didn’t blame the victims. He didn’t even blame the system. He turned it back on the ones who thought Pilate was doing God’s work: “Do you really think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans?”, he asked. “No. But I tell you, unless you repent, you will likewise perish.”

    I think he was saying: “You have more in common with the people you’re judging than you think.” The repentance Jesus wants is compassion. Mercy. Empathy. When we fail at those, we’re burning the only bridge we have to cross, too.

  6. Today this scripture is fulfilled (Luke 4.14-21) [Sermon 1/24/16 Epiphany 3c]


    January 22, 2016 by jmar198013

    Jesus returned to his hometown synagogue, and preached from Isaiah 61.1-2. The great Jubilee text. Good news to the poor. Release to prisoners. Recovery of sight for the blind. Liberating the oppressed. And Jesus concluded by saying, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

    Jesus always confronts the church afresh with this challenge. Today is the day to proclaim Jubilee. Today is the day to proclaim good news to the poor, release to the prisoners, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed.

    Today is the day to fulfill the scriptures.

  7. The Preparation of an Advent People (Luke 3.1-6) [Sermon 12-6-15 Advent 2c]

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    December 3, 2015 by jmar198013

    In the third chapter of Luke, we encounter Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, who has come to “prepare the way for the Lord.”

    John blazes a trail for Jesus through fiery preaching. But what’s behind all the fire and brimstone? An invitation to repent. And by repent, John means being a sharing, peaceful people.

    During Advent, may we remember that even the fire-breathing preacher John shows us that preparing the way for Jesus involves how we live together, and how we treat our neighbors.



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