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The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 15:1-10
15 mins 21 secs
Views: 2
This week, our readings are all about forgiveness and mercy, something that God specializes in. In Exodus 32:7-14, Moses begs God to forgive His people and God relents. In the Psalm 51:1-11, David begs for forgiveness after he has been confronted by Nathan over his sin with Bathsheba. Our gospel reading from Luke chapter 15:1-10, which we could probably name the lost and found chapter, begins with the parable of the lost sheep, goes to the lost coin and ends with the lost or “Prodigal Son.” At the beginning of the chapter, we see Jesus' old nemeses the Pharisees and the teachers of the law are again muttering against him. It seems that Jesus’ penchant for hanging out with sinners and, heaven forbid; eating with them is a problem for them. Jesus responds to the Pharisees in His usual manner with a few stories to get them to see the error of their ways. In the first parable, Jesus appeals to their pocket books. He poses the question, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and looses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Jesus goes on to describe the rejoicing over the found sheep and ends by comparing this joy to the joy in heaven over those who repent. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Just in case our Pharisees and teachers of the law didn’t get the point, Jesus continues with another story. Again Jesus starts with a question. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” Do you see the pattern here? Jesus poses a question, then He gives the answer in the form of a parable, finally He explains the parable. Jesus’ comparison here is almost the same as the first one, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” What is our theme so far? Heaven rejoices over the one sinner who repents, more than over all the others who do not need to repent. The good news for us in that God’s love embraces all sinners. Jesus story shows the contrast between the self-centered exclusiveness of the Pharisees, who failed to understand God’s love, and the concern and joy of God at the repentance of sinners. Remember that God loves each one of us as though there were only one of us. "How much more rejoicing is there in heaven over one sinner who repents?
In last week’s gospel, we were reminded to store up our treasures in heaven, because where our treasure is our heart will follow. We were told to always keep watching or be on the look out for the day of the Lord’s return. This week our lessons are all about the judgment that will take place when the Lord does return. Jeremiah compares God's Word to a fire and a hammer that smashes the rock to pieces. Jesus reminds us that he did not come to bring peace, or prosperity, but rather as the reading from Luke 12:49-56 says, " I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Clearly the coming of the Lord will not be a fun time for those who have chosen to reject Him. Too late they will realize the error they have made. But these readings also remind us that since we have chosen Him as Lord and Savior, our sin is covered over with His shed blood, and God sees us as His precious children. Because of Jesus we never have to fear the coming of “that Day” again. We will be judged, but only on the basis of what we have done or not done for Jesus. Jesus tells us, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city..... I, Jesus have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Rev.22:12-14 … “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Luke 12:32, 40
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 10:25-37
14 mins 22 secs
Views: 11
This Sunday, we will read again the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus encounters a lawyer on the road who stood up to Him to put Him to the test: "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replies, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The Lawyer answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus replies, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." But the lawyer, feeling the need to justify himself, asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Aah, can you imagine the look on Jesus' face as he launches into the parable describing this incident on the infamously dangerous road to Jericho? When Jesus finishes telling the story about how the priest and the Levite crossed the road to avoid helping a traveler who had been robbed and beaten half to death, but a Samaritan bound his wounds and paid for his care, He asks, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise." I wonder what the lawyer was thinking as he returned home that night? Perhaps he went home unchanged, muttering “Go and do likewise. Who does He think he is? How can I possibly do that? Everyone knows that the Samaritans are half-breeds and not part of God’s chosen people. The priest and the Levite were just obeying the law. That doesn’t make them bad neighbors. There’s no way that I can do this.” But, what if the lawyer went home totally convicted about his heart attitude? Maybe he got it that God is more than the law; God is love. Perhaps he began to show up at the places where Jesus was teaching to find out more. Possibly he and his family came to know that Jesus is the Son of God and their Savior. Jesus said to him --and to all, "You go, and do likewise." Blessings, Deacon Carole
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 8:26-39
13 mins 11 secs
Views: 49
Ever have one of those days when everyone around you seems to turn their back on you, ignore you or even worse, act like you don't exist? Well, in our readings for Sunday, God seems to be having one of those days with Israel. God responds to Isaiah's prayer asking for divine deliverance by saying, "I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig's flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you." In other words, where were you Israel when I was ready and waiting for you? But what comes next is very scary for Israel, because God now lets them know how angry he is with them. " These (things that you did) are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. Behold, it is written before me: “I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their lap both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together, says the Lord; because they made offerings on the mountains and insulted me on the hills, I will measure into their lap payment for their former deeds.” So Israel, be prepared because judgment is coming. But, and this is a big but, God also acknowledges that there will be a righteous remnant left that is worth saving. Thus He declares, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there." This will be a long time coming, but in Jesus we are restored as Abraham's offspring, and heirs according the promise. In Galatians, Paul reminds us, "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus and heirs through hope of His everlasting covenant." Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
The Rev. Carole Anderson
John 13:31-35
12 mins 28 secs
Views: 33
13:31-35), Jesus says to His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus calls all of us to love one another, not just with the love that we can give, but the with the love that only Jesus can give. Think about that for a moment, how many of us are willing to sacrifice our lives for people we don’t even know? In 1st John 3:16 John tells us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” John continues on in vs. 19, “if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Our actions show others how much we love God. In fact, I think, we cannot truly love one another without God. Even when we have God, it is difficult for us. We are too self-centered most of the time. John admonishes us in vs. 18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” God knows everything!
The Rev. Carole Anderson
John 20:19-31
12 mins 15 secs
Views: 34
In our gospel for Sunday, John 20:19-31, the women have returned from their trip to the tomb on Sunday filled with excitement at seeing the Lord. Peter and John have also returned home from their trip to the empty tomb. All the disciples, except Thomas, are gathered together in a room with the doors locked, afraid that they are about to become the next victims of the angry Jews. All of a sudden, Jesus is standing there among them. They are expecting to be rebuked or censured because of their behavior on the previous Friday, but Jesus calms them saying, “Peace be with you.” Then, so they do not mistake Him for a ghost, he shows them his hands and side. Jesus was clearly identifying himself to them so that there would be no mistake. Can you imagine the scene? They probably all gathered around Jesus hugging him, touching him, wanting to be close to the Master they have loved and thought they had lost. The disciples are overjoyed at the sight of their Lord. What joy indeed! Again Jesus says, “peace be with you”, which is the normal Hebrew greeting, this time he adds, “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Then Jesus breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit." Then He commissions them with these words, "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do no forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Now they are prepared for the rest of the story which will begin in 50 days at Pentecost. The Lord is Risen!
The Rev. Carole Anderson
John 12:1-8:0
13 mins 4 secs
Views: 24
This week, our Gospel (John 12:1-8) continues with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. It is now six days before the Passover and Jesus and his disciples have come to Bethany to spend time with friends before they reach their final destination. Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus had earlier raised from the dead host a dinner for them in their home. What is interesting here is what we learn about each of these people and how they react to Jesus. Mary is moved out of her devotion and probably thankfulness because of the restoration of her brother to life. She takes a pound of expensive ointment and anoints Jesus' feet and wipes them with her hair. Mary's act of devotion was costly and unusual. Costly because the ointment was very expensive, unusual because respectable women did not unbind their hair in public. Further it showed her humility in that it was a servant's work to attend to the feet of the guests. Clearly Mary is devoted to The Lord. Then we have Judas Iscariot, who we know is about to betray Jesus, His reaction to what Mary has done says volumes about his character. He is angry that they did not take the ointment and sell it so they would have money to give to the poor. But, in reality, it seems that he is not interested in the poor at all. Judas, it seems, is in charge of the moneybag and has been helping himself to what is put in it. So he has only his self interest at heart. There are some commentaries that suggest that this may have been the last straw for Judas. It is here that he makes the decision to betray Jesus for the 30 pieces of silver. Jesus every mindful of what is ahead for all of them says, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 13:31-35:0
13 mins 34 secs
Views: 16
This week, we skip ahead several chapters to arrive at our Gospel reading in Luke 13:31-35. So much has happened since Jesus began His journey. He has returned to Galilee, met skepticism in His hometown, healed many on the way to Capernaum, called His first disciples, gathered crowds with His profound teaching, made powerful enemies of the Pharisees, comforted and encouraged his cousin John the Baptist who was about to be executed, sent out his 12 disciples on their first solo mission, fed the 5000, and was transfigured on the mountain where he spoke with Moses and Elijah. It may be that Jesus is responding to the Pharisees’ false warning. Jesus already knows what the plan is and He knows who is in charge. Nevertheless, Jesus is filled with compassion for what He knows is coming upon Jerusalem. So He replies, Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.' O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ' Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 6:27-38
14 mins 40 secs
Views: 49
Last week in the Gospel of Luke, just after choosing the 12 disciples, Jesus began to teach them how to be apostles. In the Gospel for this Sunday we continue on to the second part of this teaching in Luke chapter 6:27-38. Our reading is part of what is called "Luke's sermon on the Plain", which parallels Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Remember that the Beatitudes go deeper than material poverty and physical hunger, Jesus is telling them --and us-- that we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness and be poor in spirit. The verses following the Beatitudes are a point-by-point negative counterpart to the blessings described. But now Jesus' teaching takes a more personal turn as He describes how they --and we-- must love our enemies and not judge others. Here is a sample of what we will hear on Sunday: "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Love your enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return." How can we ever measure up to Jesus' standards? Well the answer is we cannot do it without the Holy Spirit. But thanks be to God! He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Matthew 2:1-12
14 mins 59 secs
Views: 10
This Sunday, we celebrate the epiphany of our Lord. The visit of the magi begins the revelation of the Lord to the gentiles. God shows himself to the gentiles by the revelation of his son to the Magi. Join us as we take a deeper look at the characters of this reading from Matthew 2:1-12. Joseph, Mary's husband whose faith allowed him to act on the messages sent to him in dreams by God, and protected Mary, and the baby Jesus from harm. The Magi, who believed that the star announced the birth of a great ruler, and who upon finding Jesus, are overjoyed and bow in worship. Finally, Herod the Great, who only wants to destroy any competition to his throne, and tries to trick the Magi into revealing the whereabouts of the Baby Jesus. Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.