Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sermon: “Beyond Our Ken; Within Our ‘Can’”, Isaiah 6:1-8/John 1:1-5, 9-14 (May 30, 2021--Trinity Sunday)


Today is what’s affectionately known by many preachers as “Heresy Sunday”. Devoting a week’s worship to the Holy Trinity SEEMS like a great idea in principle, but if you’ve ever attempted to explain the Trinity to anyone unfamiliar with the doctrine, you can understand why this is actually one of the most challenging Sundays of the year to preach. The Trinity is such a strange concept—three equal and unified persons of the same substance contained within a single God—that humanity has yet to discover an analogy that doesn’t accidentally slip into heresy in one way or another.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sermon: "Speaking in the Spirit", Acts 2:1-8, 12-13/Ezekiel 37:1-10 (May 23, 2021--Pentecost)

When we think of the story of Pentecost, we usually think of the dramatic visuals: the individual tongues of flame alighting on each person; the confusion of the crowd; the jeering of the unbelievers. When we think of Ezekiel and the “Valley of Dry Bones,” we likewise think of the incredible imagery: the deserted low place full of dry, sun-bleached skeletons; the spectacle of these bones suddenly becoming covered in sinews and flesh and skin; the great earthquake that accompanies this miracle. If you close your eyes, it’s easy to picture these events. They’re two of the most vivid scenes in all of scripture. No wonder we’re drawn to them.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sermon: "This Changes Everything!" Acts 1:4-9/Ephesians 1:15-19 (May 16, 2021)


When I first started telling people six years ago that I was moving to Idaho, I got all sorts of responses to the news. I remember one person joking that I was continuing my “I-90 ministry”—I’d begun with my theological education in Boston, continued back in my hometown of Rochester, and now was making the leap to Idaho (I-90 runs through the panhandle). According to this theory, I’ll have to retire in Washington to complete the journey.

I didn’t mind the joke at all. In fact, there was something comforting about knowing that I’d still be connected, however distantly, to the highway that I’d logged so many miles on over the years. Growing up, my family traveled I-90 to visit my grandparents in Buffalo; I made the trek between Boston and Rochester on a regular basis during the 5 years I lived in Massachusetts; I’d even occasionally hopped on I-90 for just a few miles if the traffic was bad on the other highways. Even though I was only really familiar with a relatively small stretch of the Interstate, it was still reassuring that, in the face of such a dramatic life change, I could still follow that same road to travel back home.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

...Given For You.

Over the past month, I've both donated whole blood for the first time in 17 years and donated platelets for the first time ever.

A little background:

The first time I gave blood was at a blood drive in High School. The donation itself was uneventful, but as I stood to make my way to the snack table, my vision began to narrow, and as soon as I sat down, I passed out. It was humiliating and scary, and while I didn't regret donating blood, I wasn't eager to repeat the entire experience.

But when the church I serve hosted a blood drive a month ago, I decided it was time to try again. I knew I'd be surrounded by people who knew me and loved me, and I'd be able to go right back to my office to lie down if necessary. While on the cot, I quickly became lightheaded and nauseated (per tradition), but I let the phlebotomists know and they immediately took measures to alleviate the symptoms. I didn't wind up passing out, and while I wouldn't call the experience comfortable, it was a triumphantly successful return to blood donations. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sermon: “Permission to Be Bad: The Myth of the Growing Edge”, Exodus 4:10-16/Romans 12:3-9 (May 9, 2021)


We’re quickly approaching the end of the Easter season. Next week we’ll be celebrating the Ascension (when Jesus is taken up into heaven and the disciples are officially promoted to apostles) and the week after that, Pentecost. So today represents the final days of “training” for Jesus’ followers. Sounds like a good time for a performance review, don’t you think?

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sermon: “The Prophet-Driven Market”, Acts 8:26-40 (May 2, 2021)


We’ve all been in this situation: you enter a store, minding your own business and focused on getting your shopping done, when it happens—a sales associate appears out of nowhere and swoops in to ask, “Can I help you find anything?” Sometimes, they persist even if you say no: “Well, let me tell you about our sales today,” or, “We’ve gotten some new styles in for spring; let me show you.” Ugh. It’s enough to make me want to turn around immediately, walk out the door, and never look back.