Texts: Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
We would all like to think of ourselves as good children of God’s kingdom, which Jesus came to bring. But then certain…behaviors… make us realize that there’s more complexity to this kingdom picture than we had realized or hoped. At least one contributing factor is that most creatures, and particularly us humans creatures, don’t behave well under stress. Like, for example, now.
Texts: Isaiah 55:[1-8] 9-13; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Oh, that we all could have the faith of Isaiah! The kind of faith that refuses to let anything in present reality get in the way of believing in God’s provision, God’s guiding, and God’s future. Because you see, while Isaiah was entirely on board with the plan for Israel to return from exile in Babylon, the people were not.
Texts: Jeremiah 28:5-9; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42
June 28, 2020
About forty years ago, or a little more, I was backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. We would hike next to creeks until they became streambeds. The streambeds led to high mountain lakes, beyond which were tiny alpine tarns, some of which never are free of ice all summer. Highest of all were the glaciers and snowfields where the watershed always begins.
Texts: Exodus 19:2-8a; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35 – 10:15
For the first three months of privation, it was mostly good. People took the changes, the loss of familiar work routines, lack of access to favorite foods, and separation from familiar haunts pretty well. Of course there were complaints about food shortages, a little chafing under the restrictions of the leading people in whom they’d had to put their trust.
Texts: Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13; John 7:37-39
The Day of Pentecost. A festival day; people in party clothes, national prayers of remembrance and thanksgiving; lots of food and absolutely no social distancing whatsoever. And then out of nowhere, the Holy Spirit of God arrives in a mighty rush of wind and fire. Glorious and terrifying.
Texts: Acts 1:6-14; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
You may have seen a premature invitation to wear red for Pentecost. That was my mistake. Today is the seventh Sunday of Easter and the church’s color is still white. Pentecost is next Sunday. I got ahead of myself.
Texts: Acts 17:22-31; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:5-21
In this strange new viral world, the internet has climbed into the driver’s seat. Twenty-five years ago it was a foreign space inhabited by a few brainy folks. And just look at us now, all digitally united! The only thing more we could really want (apart from seeing one another in the flesh again) is more bandwidth. Because, the more bandwidth you have, the better you stream.
Texts: Acts 7:55-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14
We didn’t take the opportunity back in April to have a holy humor Sunday. It’s an old tradition among some Christians to tell jokes for the sermon on the Sunday after Easter. The origin of the idea is supposedly that Easter was a grand joke on Satan who was certain that Jesus was dead and gone forever. But then the tomb was empty! Surprise! Alleluia everybody! (Though don’t you wonder if preachers did this to avoid writing a sermon just after Easter.)
Texts: Acts 2:42-27; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
These days the pandemic is giving rise to a whole new genre of entertainment as we cope with the extended stay-at-home directives. There are indoor sports challenges, some of which go hilariously awry. There is competitive house, garage, or garden cleaning. And there’s endless cooking—especially those favorite comfort foods.
Texts: Acts 2:14a, 22-23; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31
When I heard the news that Jesus had died on the cross, a victim of the jealous anger of powerful religious leaders and the cruel law of the Romans, I knew I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was done. I wanted to get as far away from this bad story as I could.
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.