Jesus' Teachings

"...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." - Jesus

A question on the final exam is: "Are you compassionate?" If you can answer with a resounding YES! Then you pass Jesus’ final exam.

For: 
November 22, 2020
Matthew 25:31-46
Christ the King Sunday
Pentecost 29
Listen! A sower went out to sow... - Jesus

We are now in the midst of summer and a pandemic. The very atmosphere seems to be saying, “take your time. Breathe slowly. Wear a mask. Stay at home. Read a book.” This should be good for our souls. But, it's not.

For: 
July 12, 2020
Matthew 13:1-9
Pentecost 6
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul - Jesus

Much like the serenity prayer, Jesus encourages us to change the political systems that we can change, to remain nonviolent, reluctantly accepting the limitations of human sin and political failure, and to pray for the wisdom to know the difference. If we do this well, we will be persecuted.

For: 
June 16, 2020
Matthew 10:24-39
Pentecost 3
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them

When the law and order police state headed by Pontius Pilate put Jesus on the cross, his disciples knew that they would share his fate if they walked with those who protested. Because, in a system of systemic racism and inequity, those in high places have an investment in keeping the system just the way it is. If you tell them that the system is unjust, they will crucify you. 

For: 
June 14, 2020
Matthew 9:35-10:23
Matthew 5:3-12
Pentecost 2
Black Lives Matter
"Go to the ends of the earth and make disciples" - Jesus

On Trinity Sunday we consider the new normal of Christianity. Religion at the time of Jesus was mostly a local affair. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his people to go out to the ends of the earth and make disciples in every place, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

For: 
June 7, 2020
Matthew 28:16-20
Trinity Sunday
Pentecost 2
[As they waited they] devoted themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus -Acts 1:14

What has our experience with the coronavirus been about? It’s been about waiting. In Acts 1:4, Jesus tells the disciples to wait. We will never be effective at anything in our lives unless we learn to wait.  

For: 
May 24, 2020
Acts 1:1-14
Easter 7
"In my father’s house there are many mansions" - Jesus

In this time of social distancing, we worry about whether we will be able to stay sane. Our world has become too limited for us. Yet in our spiritual house, there are many mansions.

For: 
May 10, 2020
John 14:1-14
Easter 5
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."

Social distancing has long been practiced in religious communities. If there is anything that the last three years has taught us, it is how to think like one of Jesus’ disciples before he died on the cross for the world. Fearing others brings out the worst in us.

For: 
March 15, 2020
John 4:5-42
Lent 3
"Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven" - Jesus

Light was the beginning of God’s creation. God said the word and made light. Called it good. In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus calls us good. That is the over-all theme of his sermon on the mount.

For: 
February 9, 2020
Matthew 5:13-20
Isaiah 58:6-8
Epiphany 5
Jesus says, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me..."

Jesus speaks of doing particular things; feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, befriending the stranger, clothing those exposed to weather or social cruelty, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. Our opportunities to be Christ-like will come in the form of specific people with individual needs.

For: 
January 5, 2020
Matthew 25:31-46
New Year
"All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted." -Jesus

In matters of religion, we should expect reversals. Those who start out well, don’t always end well. Getting into heaven is not a matter of joining the right church or developing the right theology or holding on to traditional values, whatever those might be.

For: 
October 27, 2019
Luke 18:9-14
Pentecost 20
And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores... - Luke 16

For fun do this: take an empty chair and put it out in front of the congregation. Say, “Here sits the invisible man. Jesus tells us that his name is Lazarus, but none of his neighbors know that. He sits here hungry, but no one notices his situation. Lazarus is homeless, living in the street near the rich man. Since he lacks an address, the census doesn’t count him, he can’t vote, and his congressman doesn’t see him as a constituent, and his president considers him a loser... 

For: 
September 29, 2019
Luke 16:19-31
Pentecost 16
"[Jesus] welcomes sinners and eats with them." - Luke 15:2

A young married couple find their money disappearing and their credit cards running amok, until they draw up a budget and measure where it’s all going to. So much in life doesn’t count unless you count it carefully.

For: 
September 15, 2019
Luke 15:1-10
Pentecost 14
Lo, I am with you always

There are 3 and 1/2 ascension storys. Why? Jesus says good bye to each person he met on this earth in a different way. Each group of people, each church, might need to hear something different.

Acts 1:6-9
Matthew 28:16
Ascension Day
Easter 6
"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another."

In too many governments around the world, and perhaps even here, the competitive spirit of partisanship and winning overtakes the basic task of government, that is to be in a healthy and positive relationship with the people. In too many churches, perhaps your own, the routine of being churchy has buried the joy of being in fellowship with each other and in love with Christ.

For: 
May 19, 2019
John 13:31-35
Easter 5

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