Pentecost 15 C: Freedom to Stop Counting and Start...

  Luke 14:1, 7-14 Dear Partner in Preaching, I think it’s rather difficult for most of us to imagine the reaction Jesus’ words would have elicited. To us, this seems like rather humdrum polite advice. (Not that we’d necessarily take it, mind you, but it probably wouldn’t give offense.) But to Jesus’ first-century hearers, living in an honor-shame culture that was intensely sensitive to issues of status and recognition, it would have seemed rather remarkable, and ultimately offensive. I say “ultimately” because the problem Jesus names was acute. There were few things that would be more humiliating than to have a host ask...

John 20:26-29

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not...

John 2:3-5

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” I have heard more than a few people over the...

Advent 4 B: Blessed Like Mary

Dear Partner in Preaching, Notice one thing: before Mary says “yes,” she is blessed. Why does this matter? Because I think it captures not only the important role Mary plays in the Gospel story but also reveals a central dynamic of the Christian life. First, to Mary. She is regularly hailed as a model of faith for her acceptance of the role God invites her to play as the mother of Jesus. And for good reason. Throughout Luke’s Gospel, the willingness to trust the promises of God is the mark of discipleship. And so Elizabeth believes that in her old age she will nevertheless bear John, and the disciples believe they will fish for people,...

Matthew 9:27-31

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their...