Texts: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25; Mark 13:1-8
Remember when you were very small and got startled awake in the dark of night by something, your heart beating wildly? Where was your safe place? Sometimes it was enough to pull the covers over your head to feel protected. But other times the terror was just too great and you would flee to the most secure place you knew.
Texts: Isaiah 25:6-9; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44
With perhaps a few exceptions, most of us in this room have seen the Hollywood movie version of Frank L. Baum’s epic story The Wizard of Oz. We probably all have some particular memory of it, from the intense technicolor in which it was rendered, to the stormy intensity of the Kansas tornado. So many things became part of our cultural references – the principle characters of the girl, the wizard, the scarecrow, the tin man, and the lion. And of course flying monkeys and munchkins.
Texts: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-38
Today is a haunted day. As the dusk gathers and night descends there will be all sorts of spirits on the loose, roaming the streets, demanding satisfaction, and creating chaos for the unwary. It’s the Eve of All Hallows of course – good old Halloween.
Texts: Isaiah 53:4-12, Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45
Then, who can be saved and enter heaven?
It’s The Question that is still floating in the air in the tenth chapter of the gospel of Mark.
Texts: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31
One fine day…Jesus set out on a journey. Not just any old kind of road trip, mind you. He had a particular destination and urgent timetable. He was, as they say, a man on a mission. The day was fine, not in the weather-sense, but in the sense of his direction, which was toward goodness.
Texts: Genesis 2:18-21; Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-6
Genesis chapter 1 gives us the lovely refrain, “And God saw that it was good.” But Genesis 2 is very different. The first seventeen verses are mostly taken up with the landscape and geography of the Garden of Eden.
Texts: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50
One day a preacher in Tennessee decided to make a memorable point with his congregation about hell. He borrowed a skeleton from the local dentist and stood it beside the pulpit. Then he began to describe the shadowy realm of all that is unholy.
Texts: Jeremiah 11:18-20; James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a, Mark 9:30-37
A week ago we arrived at the shores of Lake of the Woods in southern Oregon. It’s one of a handful of modestly sized mountain lakes at about five thousand feet elevation. They cluster about 30 miles due south of Crater Lake as the crow flies.
Texts: Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-10[11-13] 14-17, Mark 7:24-37
It’s all about miracles today. Like God giving the Edomites their due recompense for oppressing the Israelites, and God’s leading of Israel out of captivity in Babylon. As Isaiah proclaims, there’s nothing quite like the power of God for making things happen. Blind people see, deaf people hear, lame people leap, mute people sing out, and waters rise in dry places. Same thing for the Gospel: there goes Jesus, healing the child of a Gentile woman; healing a deaf mute man.
Texts: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15. 21-23
If you’ve ever travelled on the London Underground you’ve heard the safety announcement to “mind the gap.” It refers to the gap caused by curving station platforms and straight train cars, and variations in the levels of train cars and platforms. It’s a common problem.
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.