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Sermons on Mark

Real Strength in Community of Faith

What makes something strong? Is steel strong because of its ability to withstand stress from many directions? Is wood strong because of its ability to absorb impact while remaining intact? Is the material of a spider’s web strong because of its tensile strength-to-weight ratio? Things are strong for many reasons. The temple in Jerusalem was…

Be Not Afraid

How would you live if you were not afraid? Fear is used by politicians to gain our votes, by the media to get our attention, by advertising firms to sell us what we don’t need, and by TV evangelists to get our donations. What fears are used against us? One is scarcity, the fear that…

Restored by Grace

The word for today is restoration. Both the Old Testament reading and the psalm speak of God’s restoration of the people of Israel, gathering them from sorrowful exile into joyful community. The gospel tells the story of Jesus healing Bartimaeus, restoring his sight in response to his faith. Today we do not have the same understanding…

Only God

Fat Camels and Narrow Needles: Only Possible for God A rich man approaches Jesus and asks how to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell what he owns, give the money to the poor, and follow. Jesus will accept nothing less than our very selves. Like the rich man, we too are left defenseless…

Spiritual Practice

The Most Challenging Spiritual Practice The writers of today’s readings express to God their fears about death and those who do evil. They rage against the cravings, coveting, envy, and selfish ambition that lead to disorder and war, within and around us. They describe one caught in this reality who is led to slaughter, tested…

Unexpected Messiah

An Unexpected Kind of Messiah Today we hear from three teachers. The prophet Isaiah calls himself a teacher, one whose words sustain weary people. James warns about foolish and hurtful use of our tongues, which should be used to “bless the Lord and Father,” but often are used to “curse those who are made in…

God Is Partial

God Is Partial Again and again throughout biblical history, God is partial to caring for the poor, the weak, and the outcast. Which is why, perhaps, Jesus’ response to the Syrophoenician woman takes us by surprise: “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it…

Heart

The Heart Of The Matter When clay becomes a pot, it must first have a center. As a potter spins, pushes, and pulls the clay into its final form, it can easily lose its center and become misshapen. Having lost its center, it fails to fully be what it is being created to be—a pot,…

Speaking Truth To Power

Speaking Truth To Power Few of us want to hear a hard truth, and perhaps fewer of us want to be the ones called to deliver one. Today’s texts remind us that bearing God’s word is risky business. King Jereboam exiles the prophet Amos for calling him to account. Herod delivers John the baptizer’s head…