Softening Hearts

Luke 16:19-31 The vacant lot has potential.  Every time the woman passes it on her way to work she thinks: “I could plant something here, I could take this lot, with its spare bits of trash and I could make it beautiful.”  In her mind’s eye, she could picture an extravagant garden that would cover the debris filled yellow sunflowers, […]

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What Truly Matters

Amos 8:4-7, Luke 16:1-13 The Message translation of the end of today’s Gospel text reads: 8-9 “Now here’s a surprise: The [wealthy landowner] praised the crooked [steward]! And why? Because [the steward] knew how to look after [their self]. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.” Live, really live. Not complacently get by.  Not mindlessly go through the motions. Like the merchants are doing in the Amos text.  On the Sabbath day intended for rest, the merchants mind wander as they contrive ways to achieve the largest profit margin possible. Physically they are present during the Sabbath but mentally they are checked out –  dreaming up ways to sell small portions of wheat at higher prices. Restless, the merchants search for angles to make their dream a reality.  Cleverly, they decide to sell even the worst part of grain, a part which God had commanded them to leave behind to feed the widow, the orphan and the foreigner. The money the merchants make come at the cost of their neighbors, who they no longer saw as friends but as: competition, threats, and commodities. […]

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Delight

Luke 15:1-10 “Where is my coin?”  The woman wonders.  Perhaps it is only one coin, but it is a coin that she cherished and treasured.  She thought that she had just left it on the table but when she went over to grab it wasn’t there. She freezes. “What?? Where is it?” She thinks.  Immediately, she grabs a lamp and goes through her whole house looking for it.  On her hands and knees, the woman investigates every inch of the floor.  On her tip toes, she flings open every cabinet. Every part of her house is examined until at last, the woman discovers what she is looking for.  With trembling hands, the woman picks up the coin, clutches it close to her heart and goes running to the streets gathering up every friend and neighbor and stranger she can find, crying, shouting, saying, “Rejoice with me!!! I have found my coin, that was lost and know is found.” The woman’s voice interrupts the lives of those around her, seeping into the houses past the shut doors and closed windows, to those who had fallen asleep on the street side, to those who busily pass her on the streets.  This woman’s voice wakes the people up, inviting them to pause from their worries and their wanderings to relish the wonder of the moment.  To breathe in the aroma of its loveliness. “Rejoice with me.” In the words of the American poet […]

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God’s Spacious Hospitality

Please note that for this sermon, I handed out bread to each individual, which I then wrapped in cellophane bags.  The recipe for the bread can be found here. I also handed out individually packaged honey, which can be found here.  The giving out of the bread and honey was done at the end of this meditation. Luke 14:1-14 Jesus tells us […]

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