September 20, 2020
Texts: Jonah 3:10 – 4:11; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-6
Listen to a true story. A woman came to her priest to make a confession. With great anguish she told how she had experienced some financial difficulty and became very desperate. Since she worked as a teller in a bank she was able to embezzle the money necessary to pay her debt. No one had noticed the crime, but her soul was troubled and she wanted to make things right.
It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? The smoke that hangs in the air from fires in the west, the hurricanes on the southern coast with more lining up in the Atlantic, the pandemic. In news reports I keep hearing the word Armageddon. But what is Armageddon really?
September 13, 2020
Texts: Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
Motives are not always pure. You know that, right? So from the very beginning we should wonder why Peter went to Jesus one day and asked. “Lord, if another member of the community sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”
Texts: Ezekiel 33:7-11; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
It’s Labor Day Weekend and there are lots of visitors in our island towns. Each ferry brings a fresh surge of people. If you’ve ventured out you’ve seen the tide of people on the streets shopping, eating, and walking, sometimes hazardously. Soon it will be quiet, but for now it’s noisy and active. Especially the children. I mean, who doesn’t know the siren sound of an exhausted and over-stimulated little one, right?
Texts: Jeremiah 15:15-21; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28
Sometimes, distant as we are from the people who were inspired by God to tell the biblical story of faith, we over-spiritualize things. We don’t fully appreciate the real struggles that people experienced as they listened to God and walked with God. The prophets, the apostles, it’s almost like they weren’t real people like us. But they were.
Texts: Isaiah 51:1-6; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20
If there is one theme that runs through all our scripture texts today, it’s this—sometimes we just need a little pep talk to get us moving off dead center. I mean, people are people, you know? Sometimes we just need someone to talk us off the ledge of fear or indecision.
Texts: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28
I wonder what it’s like to be a prophet. I don’t mean the ones who stand on a stage with a microphone and share strong opinions with anyone who will listen. And I don’t mean those influencer kind of people who work behind the scenes to gain control over what the general public thinks.
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.
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.