Mary Magdalene and You: Resurrection Day 2017

Jn. 20:1-18 Introduction It’s no accident that the very first eyewitness of the resurrection was Mary Magdalene. Her testimony has been remembered and celebrated since the earliest days of the Christian faith and remains a wonderful encouragement to us. Who Was Mary Magdalene? Tradition has suggested that Mary Magdalene may have been the unnamed sinful…

Mike & Grace

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26). For some reason this hasn’t been a very popular Scripture for wedding homilies. But I want to argue that it…

Ash Wednesday 2017

  One of the striking elements of our Ash Wednesday service is the recitation of the curses of the covenant found in Deuteronomy 27. This was included in Thomas Cranmer’s original Ash Wednesday service, and Martin Bucer – John Calvin’s mentor – said it was a “particularly wholesome ceremony” and went so far as to…

The Dignity of Guilt

One of the most loving and dignifying things God does for human beings is insist that they take responsibility for their sin. This is one of the fundamental meanings of the words of Christ: If anyone tries to save his life, he will lose it, but if he loses it for my sake, he will…

March For Life 2017

On March 6, 1857 the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that a black man whose ancestors were imported into the US and sold as slaves, could not be an American citizen and therefore had no standing to sue for his freedom in a federal court. Many historians and scholars believe that the…

Dressed for Action

Luke XLVI: Lk. 12:35-59 Introduction Over the last few weeks, the world has witnessed a particularly spectacular American presidential election and aftermath – spectacular for its multiple layers of surprise. But perhaps the greatest surprise has been the sheer distance revealed between the various factions in America, the revelation of just how deep and wide…

Beautiful Kingdom

Luke XLV: Lk. 12:13-34 Introduction Sin is not merely immoral. Sin is always a choice to embrace futility. But Jesus has come to interrupt this futility, and restore true, full, beautiful life in His Kingdom. Beware of Covetousness A man asks Jesus to decide a dispute over an inheritance, but He asks, “who made me…

No Secrets: No Fear

Luke XLIV: Lk. 12:1-12 Introduction Leaven is the principle of growth. Jesus says here to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Lk. 12:1). Hypocrisy is the way of the City of Man, but the Kingdom of God is built on the power and truth of the Spirit. No secrets: no fear….

Six Woes for Leaders

Luke XLIII: 11-37-54 Introduction Theodore Dalrymple points out in Life at the Bottom that leaders have a tendency to construct theories that do not actually match reality. Frequently, commitment to a particular vision or ideology works as a filter that strains out inconvenient facts that would call our vision into question. The “rightness” of a…

The Sin of Cynicism

Luke XLII: Lk. 11:29-36 Introduction We live in an age of skeptics. Often this is presented as a thoughtful, intelligent position to take, but Jesus addresses the skeptics of his ministry as cynics and sloths. Jesus condemns those “who were seeking a sign” (Lk. 11:16) as evil and full of darkness. Therefore, it’s very important…