Follow by Email

Monday, January 21, 2013

Water into wine? I'd invite him...

The Gospel of John is the only Gospel to report Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine, and it is the the first of Jesus' miracle that the chronicler reports.  Broadly, this miracle, as with other miracles reported in the Bible and in the religious texts of every world culture can be appreciated on a number of levels.

In my sermon for Epiphany 2, which was based primarily on John 2:1-11 in which the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana is reported, I break these levels into three broad categories of consideration:

1. The superficial.  I do not mean this in any pejorative sense, but merely in the purest sense of the word.  I simply mean that we can appreciate the reading at its surface level.  After all, a miracle would be pretty...well, miraculous.

2. The historical.  This passage is likely a commentary on the socio/economic/political/religious climate of the time.

3.  The personal.  The value of any story is the degree to which we can apply it our own lives.  In other words, what can this passage teach us personally about ourselves?

Click here to download the podcast.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it..."

This Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord.  The significance of this event has long been debated: why would Jesus, an observant Jew, submit himself to baptism, a ritual which only converts to Judaism would have had to submit to?  If we hold to the traditional belief that Jesus was without sin, and if we consider to be a cleansing of sin, why would Jesus need to be baptized?

One explanation for the baptism of Christ is that it was symbolic of his personal choice to follow God's will; his commitment to his mission.  We often forget that he, like all of us, have the choice to accept or not to accept our individual paths, callings, or mission.  Had Jim Phelps or any of the other agents in Mission Impossible turned down their proposed mission, it would have made for a pretty crummy episode.  Christ accepted his mission.  Will you?

My sermon for this week was based on Luke 3:15-22.  To download the podcast click here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Epiphany: Three Kings walk into a barn...

One of the most conspicuous and yet least understood images of the Nativity Story is that is of the Three Kings (or Wise Men or Magi).  Matthew is the only Gospel to mention them, and provides very few details about them.  Scripture only speaks in generalities about where they came from,  how they found their way to Bethlehem and indeed why they came at all.  All we are told is that they came "from the East" and that they "followed a star" to "pay homage to the child who is born King of the Jews".

And yet we turn our thoughts to them on Epiphany, from a Greek word meaning "manifestation" or "striking appearance".  Whatever the Three Kings expected to find in Bethlehem, they found the manifestation of God, and this was their Epiphany.

The Three Kings, although mysterious and shrouded in history and tradition, can still speak to us today.  They can lead us to our own "epiphany"

My sermon for this Epiphany was based on the Gospel story of the Three Kings, Matthew 2: 1-12.

To download the podcast, click here.