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On not giving up (worship gathering of August 19, 2007)

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Proper 15 (20); August 19, 2007
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2,8-19; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

The band played Blessed Be Your Name; Jesus, Be the Centre; Jesus, All for Jesus; In His Time
Pastor Sharon prayed, Terry Hagedorn welcomed, and we read this paragraph together from Hebrews 12:

runner Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.*

And I began the sermon:

Why, do you suppose, the Bible includes this paragraph? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

August 20, 2007 at 1:58 pm

A Crop of Justice (readings for August 19)

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grapesIsaiah tells his peers that God is “looking for a crop of justice” and a “harvest of righteousness.”

Somehow, we’ve come to think of justice in a punitive sense: making sure lawbreakers get punished. But I wonder if just-ness in Scripture is meant so negatively. For Isaiah’s language here, like that of Jesus, seems to be more directed to those who turn their backs on others. His message is not vindication for the religious, and certainly not “an eye for an eye,” but a call to abandon behaviors that victimize, and to go serve the poor instead. Jesus never argues for more religion, but rather for more compassion.

It’s a point that’s often missed today. A few examples:  Despite the fact that the Israeli army kills four times as many Palestinians as vice versa, many American Christians, seeing Israel in their religious literature, assume God is somehow on Israel’s side. And despite the fact that dozens of innocent death row inmates have been set free as a result of DNA evidence in the last few years, despite the fact that Texas is about to execute a man convicted of murder whom everyone agrees murdered no one, Texas’ death-row juggernaut has been unstoppable partly because of the support it gets from Christians—who’ve come to view justice as “making sure someone pays,” I guess. And despite the fact that our neighbors to the south struggle desperately to care for their little ones – partly because of our own NAFTA and corn subsidies – we’ve come to see justice as “making sure they pay” for infractions of the civil code, rather than making sure they have enough to eat! Feeding them would be “a crop of justice,” not punishing them!  How is Jesus’ example so far from our minds?

Small wonder that Jesus, in the reading below from Luke, warned that he’d come to bring disruption and confrontation. Defending the defenseless still draws the wrath of the religious.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Monte AsburyProper 15 (20); August 19, 2007
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2,8-19; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

Isaiah 5
Looking for a Crop of Justice
1-2 I’ll sing a ballad to the one I love, a love ballad about his vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard, a fine, well-placed vineyard.
He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds,
and planted the very best vines. Read the rest of this entry »

Tragedy isn’t judgment – sermon of March 11, 2007

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Fig treeThird Sunday in Lent – March 11, 2007
Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

Music:
Indescribable
Light the Fire
Potter’s Hand
Purify My Heart

Luke 13.1-9: 1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.

So people came up with hot news. Galilee – where Jesus is from (this may have been a dig) – was a hotbed of insurgent activity. To the Romans, Galilee was Anbar Province. … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 15, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Readings for Sunday, March 11, 2007

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Fig treeThese are the Scriptures I’ll be working on this week. Have tips for me?

Third Sunday in Lent – March 11, 2007
Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

Luke 13:1-9
Repent or Perish
1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 5, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Readings for Holy Week: Friday

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Isaiah 52:13-53:12

It Was Our Pains He Carried

13"Just watch my servant blossom! Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd!

14But he didn't begin that way.

At first everyone was appalled.

He didn't even look human–

a ruined face, disfigured past recognition. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 14, 2006 at 12:38 am