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Can’t worship God and Money (readings for May 25, 08)

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Pawnshop from WikipediaHere I sit in the richest nation on earth. Perhaps it should be no surprise, then, that the conflicts over which we Americans fuss most (Iraq, immigration, health care) are about our own wealth.

The question that’s ever before us goes something like this: Do we address these issues to protect the poorest or to protect ourselves alone?

One way follows the example of Jesus. But only one. Read on.

Proper 3 (8)

May 25, 2008 (Because of the early Easter, the readings from Epiphany 8 are used.)

Isaiah 49:8-16a; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

Matthew 6:24-34

24″You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 22, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Politics

Jesus disses pretense (readings for Sunday, March 25)

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TiepoloA woman named Mary bursts in on dinner in an ultra-religious house where Jesus is guest. She brings an extravagant display of affection for Jesus – risky business in the segregated world of 1st century Judea! Judas Iscariot himself seizes the moment to express outrage disguised as concern.

[at left, a portrayal of a similar scene: Christ at Supper with Simon the Pharisee with the Anointment of Feet by Mary Magdalen by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, ca. 1785, from the Getty Museum]

Which of the two – Mary or Judas – would have been met with approval from the religious elite? Easy: Brother Judas was lookin’ good. Mary, however – she’s way out of line.

Once again, Jesus and religion diverge. The one who looks good draws Jesus’ rebuke. The female (among male heavies in a male-heavy culture) attracts Jesus’ praise. Small wonder they despise him.

Paul follows up, in the subsequent reading, by heaping disdain on his own religious credentials. How do these scenes relate to issues of our day?  Read on …

Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 25, 2007
Isaiah 43:16-21 Psalm 126 Philippians 3:4b-14 John 12:1-8

John 12:1-8
Anointing His Feet
Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 19, 2007 at 3:32 pm

2.5.06 worship gathering

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What a satisfying worship this was to me! Special thanks to:
worship team: how do you do it? I woke up with How Great Is Our God ringing in my mind today (Monday). Thanks for praying for me when I was struggling right before we began. God answered your prayers, and it turned “from fear into security, from quicksand to a rock.”
– Cindy: way to put the visuals right where they belonged!
– Those who shared: your words glorified God richly, and helped me. John H – brief, good, WTG!
– Pastor Sharon, whose email wasn’t working Sunday morning, and ably sight-read her roles.

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany‑ February 5, 2006
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; I Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

Open Our Eyes, Lord
Open the Eyes of My Heart
I Waited

Monte: Please be seated. Hallelujah means “Praise Jah!” What might Jah mean?

Sharon: Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

February 6, 2006 at 12:35 am

Out from bigotry (sermon for August 17, 08)

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And a bit about white privilege …

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

1 This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.[…]

Something’s about to happen – what is it [a revelation of God], and so what do we do? Maintain justice,” Isaiah has God saying, “and do what is right.”

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.

Who’s this about now? Foreigners. And those who will follow God from any land (though following God is described here in Jewish terms, of course), gain a rich welcome to the presence of God.  Watch:

Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

I love it!  “A house of prayer for all nations.”  Is this just about white middle-class Americans like me?  Nope. Read the rest of this entry »

Readings for Palm Sunday (March 16, 2008)

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Breaking of a Palm Leaf for the Entry into JerusalemLiturgy of the Palms; Sixth Sunday in Lent; March 16, 2008
Matthew 21:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2,19-29
[see sermon at Fear: the other Palm Sunday emotion]
Matthew 21:1-11
The Royal Welcome
1-3When they neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage on Mount Olives, Jesus sent two disciples with these instructions: “Go over to the village across from you. You’ll find a donkey tethered there, her colt with her. Untie her and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you’re doing, say, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 9, 2008 at 8:55 pm