Pentecost 3 A: Two Timely Truths

Matthew 10: 24-39 Dear Partner in Preaching, There are two words here, both important for our people to hear. Division and discord are an inescapable part of our life in this world. Trust me, this won’t be news to your people. Every headline or news caption seems to blare this reality. Every family experiences the pain of this reality at one point or another. Every person in your congregation has been marked by this reality. No, this won’t be news. Much of that discord is avoidable and unnecessary. That’s the tragedy, but also the truth, of our condition, and we can commit ourselves to healing it where possible. But some of that...

Pentecost 13 C: Pursuing a Faith That Matters

Luke 12:49-56 Dear Partner in Preaching, What does it cost us to go to Church? I’ve been wondering of late what our people would say if we asked them that. A free Sunday morning? A chance to sleep in? The ten or twenty bucks they put in the offering plate? Odds are, if we stop to think of it, it costs us very little to be a Christian today, as even in an increasingly “post-Christian” culture, going to church, if no longer quite the norm, at least occasions little comment. Not so, of course, in Jesus’ day. As Jesus indicates in this complicated and, if truth-be-told, somewhat off-putting passage, those who followed him were regularly...

John 21:6b-10

So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other...

John 18:24-27

Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had...

Epiphany 3 B: Following Jesus Today

Dear Partner in Preaching, I’ve always found this passage both inspiring and vexing. I find it inspiring because of the decisiveness and immediacy of the response of the four disciples mentioned in today’s reading. But I also find it a tad vexing because it seems to set the bar so high. Leave everything…to follow an itinerant preacher into an unknown future…immediately. To be honest, I find it hard to imagine doing as these four did, and I wonder if our folks might feel the same. And that might not be a bad place to start: asking our folks if they can imagine picking up and leaving everything to follow Jesus. If you do that, make...