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September 9, 2012

Series B                                               Pentecost XV              September 9, 2012
Isaiah 35:4-7a        James 2:1-10 14-17         Mark 7:24-37
The scriptures’ purpose are to help us understand the reasons for Jesus’ presence on earth.  For ages the world had sought salvation and healing according to human wisdom.  Jesus challenged not only the human way to salvation but also the human criteria for salvation and healing.  When he gave hearing and speech to the deaf man with the speech impediment, the human response was to comment on the good job he had done: “He has done everything well”.  Physical healing was the human stand­ard of perfection in that day, and Jesus must be pretty special if he can heal people.  But Jesus did not want…

September 2, 2012

Series B                                                  Pentecost XIV          September 2, 2012
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9     James 1:17-27     Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Walking into an office, a know-it-all salesman demanded to see the manager without delay.

The secretary informed him, “I’m sorry, he is not here.  Can I help you?”

The salesman snapped: “I never deal with underlings.  I’ll wait right here until the manager returns.”

“Very well”, responded the secretary as she returned to her work.

After a couple hours passed, the salesman became impatient.  Authoritatively he wanted to know, “How much longer do I have to wait?”

Demurely the secretary answered, “About four weeks.  He went on vacation yesterday.”


Good manners make a difference.  But good manners are not a substitute for being a faithful disciple…

August 26, 2012

Series B                                                   Pentecost XIII            August 26, 2012
John 6: 56-69
Who do you trust?  Who do you trust to tell you the truth?  Who do you trust that you know will be loyal and faithful to the trust you put in them?

We all hear promises that we just know we should not believe as soon as we are told them, like:

“The check is in the mail.”

“I’ll start my diet tomorrow.”

“Leave your resume and we’ll keep it on file.”

“This hurts me more than it hurts you.”

“This will only take a minute.”

“Go ahead and tell me, I promise I won’t get mad.”

“I can keep a secret.”

“Trust me, I’ll take care of everything.”

“Don’t worry, I can get another 40 miles when…

August 19, 2012

Series B                                                    Pentecost XII             August 19, 2012
Proverbs 9:1-6        John 6:51-58
Proverbs 9:10 states that:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

In today’s first lesson from that same chapter of Proverbs, wisdom is depicted as a woman who has prepared a great banquet for her guests.  Everyone has been invited to that banquet even the simple, people without sense, and the immature.  Notice that this is an invitation, not a command.  Those invited have a choice: to attend or not.  Of course the wise choice is attendance.  To attend is to:

“…live, and walk in the way of insight.”

“Insight” is an Old Testament phrase meaning you will gain knowledge…

August 12, 2012

Series B                                                    Pentecost XI             August 12, 2012
John 6:35, 41-51
 If you want to cut someone down to size, there are several ways to go about it:  belittle their job; criticize their intelligence; make fun of the way they look; or ridicule their humble beginnings, by reminding them, and others, that there is nothing outstanding in their back-ground, that their parents were very ordinary folks, that they can boast no royal blood.

The latter is what some of Jesus’ hearers were doing on the occasion recorded in today’s Gospel.  Just the day before, Jesus had performed a miracle feeding the 5,000.  But when they came for more he told them,

“I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes…

August 5, 2012

Series B                                                     Pentecost X                August 5, 2012
John 6:24-35
“To Ignore The Signs”
We all know how important signs are.  They are meant to keep us from getting lost, to find our way, to protect our lives, or help us make decisions.  Although we certainly have to know how to interpret the sign before we make a decision based upon it.  Like this true story that occurred on a flight bound for Los Angeles from San Francisco on a bright sunny day.  Before the flight took off there was a 45 minute delay and the passengers were growing restless.  And then during the flight the plane landed unexpectedly in Sacramento and the passengers were told there would be another delay before they…

July 29, 2012

Series B                             Pentecost IX   July 29, 2012
John 6:1-21
“Mirrored In The Miracle”
A teen-age girl was once asked: “What do you do when you see a pretty face?”  “Oh”, she responded, “I lay the mirror down and rest a while, and then I pick it up and look again.”  Looking into a mirror can be a self-centered activity, an exercise in conceit.

It can also be a humbling experience.  A zoo once had a sign that read, “This Way To The Most Dangerous Species On Earth”.  People rushed to see what it was and found themselves looking into a mirror.  As you hear in the news, day after day, of the terrible things that people do to one another, like that shooting…

July 15, 2012

Series B                                              Pentecost VII                      July 15, 2012
Amos 7:7-15      Ephesians 1:3-14      Mark 6:14-29
Last Sunday, Jesus sent the disciples out into the world, two by two to make known that all people are God’s, and that God loves them, as that love is estab­lished in the one, Jesus of Nazareth.

Our lesson from Ephesians says it quite well:

“ chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that before Him we should be holy and blameless.  God destined us in love for adoption through Jesus Christ…”


In Shakespeare’s play, “Henry V”, on the field of Agincourt, the French outnumbered the English 5-1.  Just before battle, the Earl of Westmoreland wonders at the odds, saying:

     “O that we now…

July 8, 2012

Series B                                                    Pentecost VI                   July 8, 2012
Mark 6, 1-13
Nearly 4 million people were without electricity from those severe storms that raced across the country a little over a week ago.  There are a couple hundred thousand homes still in the dark.  The Lord must have been watching over us that our area was spared.  What’s more aggravating than a power failure?  Neither the lights, the air-conditioner, the T.V., the refrigerator or cell phones will work.  And if you have a well, you don’t have running water either.  We take these things for granted day after day.  We depend upon them.  And suddenly, life is like living in a wilderness far from any modern conveniences.


July 1, 2012

Series B                                                     Pentecost V                     July 1, 2012
Mark 5, 21-43
“Two Daughters of Israel”
The name Tom Dooley may not be familiar to you; but his dedication as a doctor brought hope and healing to thousands of Vietnamese and Laotian refugees in the late 1950’s.  Tom Dooley served in Southeast Asia in the U. S. Navy Medical Corps.  He later returned to begin a thriving medical operation known as Medico before his untimely death from cancer in 1961 at the age of 34.  His books, Deliver Us From Evil and The Night They Burned the Mountain, tell some of the story of his work.

Just before he died, Dr. Dooley wrote to a young doctor just finishing medical school, challenging him to consider…