Monthly Archives: March 2017

Blind Spots

Lent 4A – Blind Spots

John 9:1-41

March 26, 2017

 

Some of you know that I drive a Toyota Yaris.

For the most part, I love this car –

It’s small enough to park

And yet has a hatchback so I can fit my bike in the back.

Actually those were about the only two requirements I had in a car when I bought it.

 

As I started driving my Yaris though –I realized there was a problem.

The first time I noticed it was on the beltway,

and just as I was thinking of moving to the right lane,

a car came up out of nowhere…

The car has a huge blind spot.

 

The story of Jesus and the man born blind

reminds us that all of us have blind spots.

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I Have Been Changed For Good

Lent 3A I Have Been Changed For Good

March 19, 2017

John 4:5-42

 

The poet Lord Byron once wrote,

“Till taught by pain,

Man really know not what good water’s worth.”

 

Mpeeling Feriase is in pain.

The farmer from the tiny country in the southern tip of Africa called Lesotho (li-soo-toe)

Is once again walking the 60 miles up the mountain

To find grass and water for his cattle.

The last time he went,

The water had run out,

and he ended up needing to kill two of his cows for food.

 

It’s surprising to Feraise,

because traditionally Lesotho has lots of water.

In fact, from his village, Feraise can see lots of water.

It’s behind a dam, which has a pipe, and which sends water

not to Lesotho but to South Africa.

 

Fifty years ago, there was a deal,

And poverty-stricken Lesotho sold its water to South Africa.

 

It was a good deal on both sides –

until the effects of climate change dried up the rivers and brought a drought.

Lesotho is still bound by its contract with South Africa.

The government still gets paid for the water,

but the farmers and the shepherds lose out.[i]

 

When asked what he thinks about all this,

Feraise says something which the reporter thought

must be a traditional African proverb,

but which turned out to be Lord Byron:

“’Till taught by pain,

Man really know not what good water’s worth.”

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Born Again

Lent 2A – Born Again

John 3:1-17

March 12, 2017

 

Beginning in the 1500’s, there was a name – a derogatory name –

given to people who were secret believers – the closeted faithful.

 

It started during the Reformation when Protestant Christians

lived in Roman Catholic countries

and escaped persecution by hiding the fact they were Protestants.

John Calvin called them out –

and he coined the term “Nicodemite.”

 

The “nicodemites”  were named after Nicodemus in our gospel text –

who by day was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin leadership council,

but who by night came to see Jesus.

 

Over the years, there were a number of notable people

given the label of Nicodemite.

 

As a Catholic with Protestant sympathies, Michelangelo was said to be a Nicodemite-

He went so far as to sculpt himself as the figure Nicodemus

in his statue of the Pieta in Florence, Italy –

the sculpture was a highly personal work,

thought to be intended for his own tomb.

 

In the 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton was called a Nicodemite,

for publicly practicing as an Anglican but privately holding unorthodox beliefs.

 

To be called a Nicodemite was meant to be derogatory..

To be branded cowardly or unable to commit.

 

Today I’d like to claim the word “Nicodemite” in a more positive way.

I don’t see Nicodemus as cowardly —

I see him as someone who is trying to figure something out.

Who’s in discernment.

Who is willing to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers.

Who actually has a more mature faith than someone who never questions,

Never expresses doubt or disbelief.

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“If” Is A Dangerous Word

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Lent 1A “If” Is A Dangerous Word

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

Matthew 4:1-11

March 5, 2017

 

In Genesis, the serpent says to Eve,

“If you eat the fruit you will be like God,”

and both she and Adam take the bait.

Suddenly it isn’t enough that they live in Paradise,

they want more.

 

“If” can be a dangerous word.

It can be a word which entices – tempts.

 

All of us struggle with our own ‘ifs’:

If I won the lottery.

If I had a different job.

If I were retired.

If I had a partner.

My favorite of late: If I lived on the beach….

 

If just that one thing would happen,

then I would be happy;

then I would be grateful;

then I would be satisfied;

then I promise I wouldn’t ask for anything more;

then life would be good.

 

Of course while we wait for any of those things to happen…

while we place conditions on whether or not we will be content,

we miss the fact that (as the tee shirt says) life IS good.

Very good.

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