The Way of Wisdom

November 12, 2017

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC
Proper 27, Year A
Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

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NOTE: I realize that many of you as subscribers to this site have become accustomed to a text version of my sermons, yet when I preach without a manuscript, that isn’t created. I invite you to listen to the audio offering instead. I’m working to improve the quality of the recording, so until then, you may have to lean in and listen more deeply. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey!

Gospel Text:

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Mt 25:1-13)

 

Source of Op Ed: Nicholas Kristof, “How to Reduce Shootings,” The New York Times, November 2, 2017. Website: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/06/opinion/how-to-reduce-shootings.html Accessed November 10, 2017.

Can I Getta “I’m In!”

November 5, 2017

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC
All Saints’ Day (transferred), Year A
Revelation 7:9-17; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

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Gospel Text:

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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Acts of Love

October 29, 2017

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC
Proper 25, Year A
Leviticus 19:1-2,15-18; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

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Gospel Text:

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.. (Mt 22:34-46)

What is God’s

October 22, 2017

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC
Proper 24, Year A
Isaiah 45:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22

Listen here, or read below:

 

Oh great, the scripture passage that tells us we should pay our taxes. Always a favorite! Of course, it might be more helpful if we hear it in April instead of October. And while this story is sometimes used in that way, it isn’t really about paying taxes.

The passage starts out by telling us what the Pharisees are up to. Remember, Jesus has been telling parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, and through these stories, illustrating how the Pharisees aren’t exactly living into the spirit of God’s law. So, now the Pharisees are trying to entrap Jesus by asking him a controversial question. They took the Herodians with them to witness Jesus’ answer. These are those in authority under King Herod, who governed the Hebrew people, and had a certain amount of independence even though the Roman Emperor had ultimate authority.

To keep this independence, Herod was expected to pay a tribute tax to Rome, which was collected from the Jews. So, with Herodians and Pharisees on the offensive, they began by trying to butter Jesus up a bit, saying:

“Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”

So these same Pharisees who were recently questioning by whose authority Jesus was teaching in the temple, are now addressing Jesus as “Teacher.” They’re saying he’s honest and teaches the truth of God. They go on to invite him to speak freely, reminding Jesus that he isn’t influenced by someone’s stature in society. He treats all people the same.

Don’t we see these same types of characters in every Disney movie ever made? We want to call out, “Don’t fall for it Jesus! They’re up to no good!”

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