Archives: Proper 9

The Adoration and Seduction of Your Soul

This is going to be a great, big, gooey, gushy, schmaltzy sermon, so just brace yourselves.

It is going to be embarrassingly emotional, uncomfortably intimate, and just all around hearts and flowers, so buckle up.

We are going to talk about God’s love today.

We are going to talk about the love of God in all of its extravagance and all of its irresponsible, reckless intensity.

I spend enough time in this pulpit talking about the challenges of life, our struggles to confront darkness both within ourselves and in the world.

Today I’m taking up the challenge Paul articulates in Ephesians: “I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Do you wake up in the morning and know that your destiny and your purpose is to know that you are filled with all the fullness of God?

Are you reminded at least once an hour that God delights in you?

Do you understand that God has never been disappointed in you?

God may have mourned your choices, grieved your hurting of yourself and others, longed for you to turn toward God in faith and trust, but take this knowledge and write it on your heart: God has never been disappointed in you.

You are God’s favorite, God’s darling, the light of God’s life.

God gets up in the morning to see you, to know you, to work in your life and try one more day to seduce you a little closer.

I’m telling you that nothing, and I mean nothing, in your life is more important that knowing that God loves you.

It sounds so simplistic, but most of us live the majority of our lives with only theoretical knowledge of God’s love, not experiential knowledge.

And thus when we try to love others, from our own spouses, parents and children to our colleagues to starving and oppressed people around the world, we find that sooner or later, our love runs out.

Self-generated love is a limited resource.

We can only love others truly, fully, unconditionally when we let God love us truly, fully, unconditionally.

And “let” God love us is absolutely the right verb. Continue reading

Stop Offering Hospitality (Yes, I’m Serious)

Opposite Day. Did you ever play Opposite Day when you were a kid?

I guess it’s not so much a game as a common retort to unpleasant taunts from peers, similar to getting a Cootie Shot.

When someone says something like, “You’re ugly,” or “You’re stupid,” you would say, “Well, that’s fine, because today is Opposite Day, which means I’m beautiful and smart.”

I don’t know. It made sense at the time.

Well, it appears to be Opposite Day in both our epistle and our gospel today, and no one is taking it well.

In our lesson from 2 Samuel, everything goes exactly according to expectation and plan.

David has been destined to be king for some time. He has fought through giants and being on the run from a jealous king and losing his best friend Jonathan, and today is the day when it all pays off.

All the tribes of Israel come to him and tell him, “You are our rightful king! You have led us through war and calamity and you are anointed by God! Take your throne and reign with righteousness!”

And David says, “Don’t mind if I do!”

He takes possession of the stronghold, names it after himself, “and David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him,” says our lesson.

They all were rich and good looking and lived happily ever after, amen.

Well, congratulations to David, but it didn’t exactly happen that way for Jesus. Continue reading

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