Sermons from August 2021
Our reading from Mark’s gospel takes us into the heart of a heated exchange between Jesus and some of the religious leaders. The religious leaders ask a question about Jesus’ disciples that is clearly more of an accusation than a genuine question. They want to know why Jesus’ disciples don’t all wash their hands according to the purity laws before eating. Jesus, drawing on the words of the prophet Isaiah, calls them out for honoring God “with their lips” while their hearts are far away.
Our reading from Ephesians is a good indicator that this truly MAY be an age old question! This passage is moving for some and troubling for others with its warrior imagery. We’ll spend time this Sunday exploring this text in relation to the last of the “Jesus as bread of life” texts from the Gospel of John.
“Take. Eat. This is my body, broken for you.” Those of us who are newer to Christianity might have an advantage here and be more able to perceive how shocking these words were to Jesus’ contemporaries. Folks who gathered around Jesus, including his own disciples, balked when Jesus started talking about “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood.” And who can blame them? At face value, it’s a fairly gory notion. But in this passage Jesus says, “Unless you do this…you have no life in you.” That’s the piece we’ll focus on in worship today. What does Jesus mean when he says this? Is Jesus talking about physical life? Eternal life? Or is there something else?
Just like our bodies experience hunger pangs, our hearts and spirits can also experience “soul pangs.” It seems as if we’re born into this world with certain hungers for love, belonging, connection, joy, play, peace and so much more. We often experience these “hungers” in isolation, not acknowledging them to others and, very frequently, not even acknowledging them to ourselves. Today we explore Jesus’ claim to be the “break of life” and what that means for our deepest hungers.
This week’s text from 2 Samuel is a portion of a larger narrative and describes the encounter between David and the prophet, Nathan. This section of scripture illustrates how life is a constant learning process and an on-going journey. We are always on a path of discovering who we are and how we are in relationship with God, others and ourselves. We have good moments and not so good moments and hopefully we can learn from them all.