Sermons on “Matthew”
Join in the procession around your living room or kitchen waving your own leafy branch from your yard. Remember that palms are a very recent way of celebrating Passion Sunday. Our English translation of the passage from Matthew in the Liturgy of the Palms refers to “branches from trees,” and indeed while palm trees grew in Jericho, near the Dead Sea, and along the coast near Jaffa, Caesarea Maritima, and Akko, there were no palm trees in Jerusalem or Bethphage until the late 20th century. The “leafy branches” could very well have been olive branches, which were and are still common in that area.View Sermon
The interaction of our sacred and secular calendars is fascinating. As we walk through the last weeks of Epiphany, we are preparing for Lent, our time of holy reflection and contemplation. Lent is the time when we remember Jesus’ preparation in the wilderness before he began his earthly ministry. We are also approaching the order deadline for palms for Palm Sunday, when the church remembers Jesus’ walk into Jerusalem at the beginning of our celebration of Holy Week.
So how do we prepare for our earthly ministry as followers of Jesus, all as our sacred and secular calendars interweave in real time? Shall we order ECO palms or traditional, long palms? ECO palms are essentially fair trade palms, harvested as whole fronds, with individual leaves fanning out like rays from a center spikey stem.View Sermon
“Let there be light.” God’s first action in creation is calling light into being. In holy scripture, light is the sign of God’s presence.View Sermon
Happy First Sunday after Epiphany! Monday we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi — also known popularly as the Three Kings, or the Wise Men from the East — follow the star to the manger in Bethlehem where our newborn king lay.
For me, the arrival of the magi to worship the baby Jesus stands out as a really important moment in our story. We don’t know where they’ve come from — just some vaguely stated, mysterious “East.” We don’t know what they do back home, or what their race, nationality, religion, or cultural or economic background might be. We don’t even know what their mysterious expertise is, and why Herod and all Jerusalem with him are so terrified of them when they find out they’re on the move.
All this mystery about who these strangers are at the side of the manger — next to Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and whatever other animals might be gathered around the manger — gives each of us a place next to Jesus at the birth. All this mystery gives all of us — every one of us — a chance to walk along with the magi as they journey toward Jesus and away from Herod’s reign in Jerusalem. No one is excluded from the group gathered around Jesus at the manger, as we have no idea what that group might even be.View Sermon