Going too far . . . or not far enough?

Text: Matthew 4:1-11 (Jesus tempted in the wilderness) What did you think of the translation of today’s Gospel reading? Taken from John Henson’s 2004 translation of the New Testament titled “Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures,” it translates the Greek word for the Devil into the fears and desires of Jesus. Do … [Read more…]

Lost in translation

Texts: “If it be You Will” by Leonard Cohen * Mark 14:32-42 (Jesus prays in Gethsemane) Sunday mornings at Mill Woods United have some elements that are traditional and others that are new, and I hope you appreciate both. We may find comfort in hearing stories from the Bible that we know well while also … [Read more…]

God help us

Texts: “School Prayer,” a poem by Batya (2013) * Romans 8:14-27 (“the Spirit helps us in our weakness”) What role can prayer play in the face of an epidemic like the one caused by the new coronavirus? I ask this today not to contribute to panic but because news of the virus, which arose in … [Read more…]

“Will you come and follow me?”

Text: Matthew 4:12-23 (Jesus calls his first disciples) Has anyone here today watched the Netflix series “Messiah?” The ten episodes that make up Season One were released on January 1, and last week, Kim and I binge-watched them all. Set in a slightly altered version of today’s world, “Messiah” tells the story of a preacher … [Read more…]

Kingdom come

Texts: “I Happened to be Standing” by Mary Oliver * Luke 11:1-4 (“Father . . . “) Ever since I learned “The Lord’s Prayer” as a child, I have been waiting for God’s kingdom to come. But despite never-ending repetition of the prayer by myself and billions of others, God’s kingdom doesn’t seem to have … [Read more…]

“How, then, should we pray?”

Texts: an excerpt from “The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of The Lord’s Prayer” by John Dominic Crossan * Matthew 6:9-13 (“Our Father . . . “) Dear friends, Welcome to another spiritual gathering on this cold and beautiful morning in Mill Woods. Welcome to another moment in which we share our spirits in … [Read more…]

Vision 2020

Texts: “Continue” by Maya Angelou, and Matthew 2:1-18 (the flight to Egypt) On Christmas Day, a controversy broke out on Twitter when U.S Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg sent out the following tweet: “Today I join millions around the world in celebrating the arrival of divinity on earth, who came into this world not in riches … [Read more…]

Complicated joy

Texts: “Don’t hesitate,” a poem by Mary Oliver * Luke 1:26-45 (“the birth of Jesus foretold) Christmas is about simple joys. Every December, we gather with family and friends for festive meals, the exchange of gifts, and heartfelt wishes for merriment and a happy new year. We light candles and string colourful lights to brighten … [Read more…]