Category Archives: terror

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


    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The LORD answers Job (Job 31.35-37; 38.1-11) [Sermon 07-24-2016]


    July 8, 2016 by jmar198013

    After Job suffered multiple injustices, he saw that the world is often not predictable, orderly, or fair. His eyes were opened to a world of unjust suffering. And he wanted to know why God allows such chaos and evil.

    God appears to Job in a whirlwind, and shows Job that God is not the author of chaos and evil. God has been fighting against the chaos, and working to restrain evil, from the beginning. And he challenges Job: “Gird up your loins like a man!” In other words, God calls Job to come off of his ash heap, and be involved in life. God calls Job to join him in the hard work of fighting against chaos, evil, and injustice.

  5. Stop the world and let me off! (Job 3.1-10; 4.1-9; 7.11-21) [Sermon 07-10-2016]


    July 4, 2016 by jmar198013

    When Job spoke honestly to God about his suffering, Job’s friend Eliphaz tried to correct his theology. Instead of empathy, Eliphaz blamed Job for the tragedies that had befallen him.

    Seems like our culture is crawling with Eliphazes. Whenever we learn of some tragedy, Eliphaz is unleashed on social media–especially the comments sections! So many speak words of blame and shame.

    Perhaps we all need our theologies corrected. And perhaps that correction should begin with empathy.

  6. The LORD has given … and taken? (Job 1.1-22) [Sermon 07-03-2016]


    June 29, 2016 by jmar198013

    After Job lost everything in a single day–his flocks, his herds, his household servants, and all ten of his children–he famously uttered these words: “The LORD has given. The LORD has taken. Bless the LORD’s name.” These words have become a classic expression of piety; a source of comfort for people suffering inexplicable evil; and even popular hymnody.

    But what if Job was wrong? Or at least, only half-right? And what if it’s okay that Job was wrong? Furthermore, what if the person telling the story wants us to know that Job is wrong?

    What if it wasn’t the LORD who took?

  7. When the light went out (Good Friday Sermon 2016)

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    March 21, 2016 by jmar198013

    While it was all going down:

    While Jesus was being interrogated by Pilate. While the authorities were justifying the murder of an innocent man. While the hyper crowds were demanding that the outlaw Barabbas be pardoned, and Jesus be condemned. While Jesus was dragging his cross toward Skull Hill. While the soldiers (just doing their jobs) were nailing him up. While the soldiers (“they don’t pay us enough for this”) were gambling for his clothes. While he was crying out, wounded and thirsty. While he bowed his head and died.

    While it was all going down, nobody knew that it was the light of the world being snuffed out.

    But what his mother Mary knew;
    What the other Marys knew;
    What his beloved disciple knew;
    What everyone he had ever loved and welcomed and fed and healed knew;
    What Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus the Pharisee knew;
    was that the light of THEIR world had been snuffed out.



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