Jesus does not come to give us a list of new rules, instead he tells stories, he speaks in parables, setting up his teaching in such a way that there aren’t hard and fast, black and white, rigid lines. Instead, he tells us stories about how to have values, values that are rooted in love for God and love for people. And here we see, here we hear from the mouth of Jesus that more important than the law of Sabbath is the core value to save life. That’s at the heart of his mission, to love God and love others.
This week we put our hope in political candidate. As a pastor, I spend a lot of time listening. I have listened and I have learned from those who find themselves afraid and in deep pain. And I have listened and leaned from those who found a reason to celebrate because they have been heard. I have listened to friends and family and colleagues and mentors on both sides of the aisle. And I’ve watched the distance between the two sides grow impossibly wide and the desire to understand the other all but disappear. This week we put our hope in a political candidate. This wasn’t the first time we’ve done this.
Last Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration for our community. We received a piano in memory of a member, and it would have been her 100th birthday. Her entire family came for the celebration, and I had the service all planned. I wrote the sermon early in the week. The cake was ordered. The decorations were hung.
And then two black men were killed by police officers.
Of course, no one was surprised last week when Donald Trump said that his favorite Bible verse was “an eye for an eye”. It’s the perfect example of how little people understand Jesus. Last night someone told me that Christianity feels a lot like playing follow the leader, and no one actually knows what they’re following. It’s really felt like that a lot lately, hasn’t it?
I'm a female pastor and people often ask how that plays out in our home. Jeff and I do not live into traditional gender roles. I worked hard to earn a master’s degree and pursue a full time career/vocation, while Jeff has made many sacrifices to be the full time caregiver of our four children. Trading and sharing and mixing our gender roles isn’t always easy for other people to understand, nor is it always easy for us to navigate.
One week ago, we woke up to the news that terrorists had attacked Brussels, killing and injuring people just beginning their vacation, on the subway to work, just going about their every day lives. We can’t escape bad news.
It’s the last week of Jesus’ life, and when you’re reading through the book of Matthew, you can sense the weight. The urgency. The clarity. He tells his disciples, “you are either a sheep or you are a goat.” It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?
I love to capture the ordinary moments in life, and enhance their beauty with an artsy Instagram filter. The filters are good at hiding the blemishes of everyday moments and softens the wrinkles of the mundane. They blur the lines in just the right way so that everything glows and everyone who views it will be envious.
The way our economy works today, it’s much easier to be a minimalist. I don’t have to hang on to things, because everything is replaceable. There’s no sense in paying for a repairperson, no reason to buy expensive parts, or to store things away for a rainy day. It’s trendy and admirable to be a minimalist. And part of the reason it’s so easy for us all to get on board with this, is because goods are cheap. It’s easier to toss things out, than it is to take the time to repair them.
It doesn’t matter what you believe will happen to this world in the end. Maybe you believe God will destroy the earth, or maybe you believe God will restore the earth.* Really, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t want to talk about the dispensation or tribulation or Revelation or any version of millennialism. I don’t care about your political affiliation, whether you’re a democrat, a republican or a libertarian.