A view of a tiffany stained glass window with repeating scale-like tiles in a rainbow pattern, seen from below.

Sermons on Luke

Acts (1) Genesis (2) Hebrews (1) Isaiah (1) Jeremiah (1) Job (1) John (2) Luke (5) Ruth (1)

  • Dominant powers versus ultimate powers

    Dominant powers versus ultimate powers

    Jeremiah 23.1–4; Luke 23.33–43

    It was starting to feeling like maybe, just maybe, the bad guys didn’t have to keep winning. Maybe giants could fall. Maybe, as the Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber says, dominant powers would not turn out to be ultimate powers. The next Halloween, for my work’s costume contest, I dressed up for Halloween as a cell phone with 10 missed calls from Ronan Farrow and a text message saying, “care to comment?” I told folks I was keeping track of who thought the costume was supposed to be a scary costume versus who thought of it more like a “super hero” costume. For the record, I was only halfway-joking with that one.

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  • What you get when you sell all you have

    What you get when you sell all you have

    Luke 18.18–30

    One of the most respected dictionaries of ecclesiastical Greek tells us this is often used as a foil to the “fragmentary and frail” life of this world, that it’s something you seek to acquire now as much as in the future. It’s sort of an exchange you make, where you give up attachment to the “time is money” economy and are given power over the forces of death and sin, in this life and the “life to come.”

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  • Why I won’t give up the “s” word

    Why I won’t give up the “s” word

    Luke 11.49-52; 18.1-8

    Each of the gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John–have their own way of telling the story of Jesus. The author of Luke gave us a literary epic. We get the whole story of Jesus, from birth to resurrection, with a big chunk in the middle that is focused on Jesus’ public teachings. Luke spends 60% of his gospel on just 6 months of Jesus’ 33-ish year life, but that 60% is just jam-packed with didactic dialogue, parables, and sermons. Our first reading today, from Luke 11, shows up towards the start of that 60%.

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  • The father who forgot to count

    The father who forgot to count

    Luke 15.11–32

    The story that Tim just read is a children’s adaptation of the scripture for today, a parable you may have heard described as the story of the “prodigal son.” The most popular contemporary interpretations would tell you that this is a story about redemption. A young son of a rich man disrespects his father, asking for his half of the estate before his father passes away, then goes off and squanders his inheritance in a time of famine, only to come back running home to dad when things get tough. His dad greets him with an extravagant welcome, and the whole family rejoices. Well, the whole family except that greedy older brother who’s just jealous he’s not getting the same celebration. And so, the common telling goes, God is like the father who welcomes us home when we realize the error of our ways and come back to our senses. But that narrative just doesn’t quite make sense to me.

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  • Advent I: Hope and Bicycles

    Advent I: Hope and Bicycles

    Luke 21.25–36

    I was a little puzzled the first time I learned this is the passage for the first Sunday of Advent in Year C. And I must confess, I rolled my eyes a little when Pastor Kelly told me you all would be on the lectionary for Advent. After all, the theme for this week is hope, and somehow—rather than the song of Mary, or the prophecy of Zechariah, or any of the other beautiful passages about hope in the gospels—the lectionary editors left us a passage I have always connected to fear. But after a little meditation and research, I think I see where they were coming from. I believe I now understand how, what some people use as an instrument of fear, we can use as a lesson on hope.

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