Tag Archives: Christianity

  1. A place at the table (Luke 15) [sermon 03-19-2017]

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    March 17, 2017 by jmar198013

    The story ends with the father saying: “But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.” The father insists to the older son that not only is his place in the family secure; he is his brother’s brother, whether he wants to be or not! That’s where Jesus leaves the story—with the father’s invitation to come join the feast. And that’s where the story is left with us now, too. There’s room at God’s table for us all. Those who stayed and served. And those who were lost, but now are found.

  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. Do you see this woman? (Luke 7.36-50) [Sermon 2-19-2017]

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    February 17, 2017 by jmar198013

    Jesus wants Simon—and everyone else—to “see this woman.” Because she’s the proof of the parable he’s just told about the two debtors. “This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven,” Jesus says. “So she has shown great love.” The extravagant love she has poured out on Jesus is a sign that she already knows she’s been forgiven. God has released her and welcomed her home. All she’s doing is showing her deep love for the one who unleashed that forgiveness into her life.

  4. Setting the Sabbath free (Luke 6.1-16) [Sermon 1-29-2017]

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    January 27, 2017 by jmar198013

    The Sabbath was meant for the release, rest, and healing of those who had been slaves. But what happens when a law that was meant to give comfort to former slaves morphs into another form of bondage? How can it be a day of rest and release if you’re so worried about doing it wrong, you can’t really celebrate it? Those Pharisees would have people become slaves to the Sabbath. Jesus came to set people free. And he came to set the Sabbath free. So it could serve humanity, the way God meant it to.

  5. An agenda for ministry (Luke 4.14-30) [Sermon 01-15-2017]

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    January 13, 2017 by jmar198013

    Jesus told his neighbors, in no uncertain terms, that God didn’t intend for Jubilee to be proclaimed only to them. Jesus had come to preach the Good News of God’s salvation to all the poor folk. To heal all the blind folk. To proclaim forgiveness and release to all the captives. Yes, even the tax collectors and Samaritans and … even the Romans. God had sent him to proclaim Jubilee to everyone. Even their enemies. And that’s what got them mad enough to throw Jesus off a cliff. Because there’s this human tendency to think blessing is a zero-sum game. Good news for somebody has to mean bad news for somebody else. There can’t be a “year of the Lord’s favor” without a corresponding “day of vengeance for our God.” Jesus came to show us it doesn’t really have to be that way.

  6. John baptizes Jesus (Luke 3.1-22; Ps. 51.6-17) [Sermon 01-08-2017]

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    January 6, 2017 by jmar198013

    Luke has recorded for us the precise moment when Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach good news to the poor. It was right after he was plunged into the same waters as the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed, and those who cried out for God’s favor. In other words, people just like you and me.

    He didn’t save us from on high.

    He got right down in that dirty, muddy water with us.

  7. Welcoming God’s salvation (Luke 2.21-38; Psalm 131) [sermon 01-01-2017]

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    December 30, 2016 by jmar198013

    Like Simeon, each of us can reach out for Jesus, and rejoice before God: “my eyes have seen your salvation.” And God’s salvation is a wide-open welcome that reaches down into our depths.

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