“The Uncivil Jesus”

Mark 7:1-7/Matthew 23 “Civility” is in the news these days. The lack of it, that is. A restaurant owner tells a certain White House press secretary that he will not serve her and the hue and cry over uncivility fills the airwaves. But what really raised the hackles of many … Read More

“Make It Up as You Go Along”

~ 1 Samuel 16:1-13 ~ Leonard Bernstein’s enigmatic musical theatre work, Mass, from the 70’s, begins with all the performers in harmony and agreement. The celebrant begins the mass with a beautiful, haunting song: Sing God a simple song, Lauda, Laude Make it up as you go along Lauda, laude … Read More

“Be Careful What You Ask For”

~ 1 Samuel 8: 1-11, 16-20 ~ “Be careful what you ask for.” These were the words of Dr. James Forbes, Pastor Emeritus of the famous Riverside Church in NYC, the same church where Harry Emerson Fosdick was the pastor in the 1930’s. I was attending a conference on the … Read More

“Who Owns God?”

~ Isaiah 6:1-8/John 3:1-17 ~ What is God like? Well, Isaiah says he saw God. There was God sitting on a throne, high and lofty. And angels sang, “Holy, holy, holy” which is the inspiration for the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Jesus, in his midnight conversation with Nicodemus, suggests that … Read More

“A Righteous Congregation”

~ Psalm 1/John 17:6-19 ~ This is the “Christian Unity” passage. It comes up every year because Christian unity is important. But I don’t want to talk about Christian unity. I mean, should we even pretend it exists? Empty rhetoric, it would seem. The cynic in me says forget it. … Read More

“Powerful Stuff – Handle with Care”

Psalm 98 Ah, music. The power of it cannot be denied. It can create incredible euphoria. It can bring one to tears. It can soothe the soul, as Bob Seger’s song says: “Still like that old time rock’n roll, that kind of music just soothes the soul.” Which, of course, … Read More