Deliver us from evil

Sermon preached 2/11-12/2012 at Burke UMC
Text: Matthew 4:1-11

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I was talking about my sermon topic with my five-year old son Matthew earlier this week. Matthew said, “I like temptation.” I tried to stay calm, and I asked him why. “Because temptation is chocolate,” he said. And I couldn’t argue with him, since that’s usually the word that they use for the most ridiculously decadent dessert on the restaurant menu. Not just chocolate, but chocolate fudge with chocolate chips and chocolate mousse and chocolate ice cream. I generally succumb to temptation quite easily in those circumstances. Continue reading

Sharing the gift of God’s forgiveness

Sermon preached at Burke United Methodist Church 2/4-5/2012
Text: Matthew 18:21-35

Is everyone familiar with the term straw man? It’s a word you learn when you get into a lot of arguments like I do. A straw man is like the opposite of an imaginary friend; he serves as your imaginary opponent in an argument that you can always win because there is nothing right about what the straw man believes. Well my whole life is an argument against a particular kind of straw man. Continue reading

The Bread that makes us one

Sermon preached at Burke UMC LifeSign service 1/28/2012
Text: Exodus 16

I’ve got a daily bread problem. 35 pounds of it to be precise. So I’m not sure I have any business asking God for more daily bread. When I was in college and had much higher metabolism, I used to go picnicking in the Virginia mountains with a loaf of round sourdough bread, a block of cheese, and a block of salami. That was daily bread. But now that I’m trying to reduce, I feel like I should be asking God for my daily Healthy Choice 200 calorie microwavable entrée instead. Continue reading

The Name that Shakes the Earth

Sermon preached 1/14/2012 at Burke UMC LifeSign
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8

Do you have a place that’s sacred to you? My sacred place is a lake outside of Charlottesville called Sugar Hollow. I went there every weekend when I was in college at UVA. It’s surrounded on three sides by mountains. There’s a black sand beach on which I’ve taken many naps. Whenever I go back to my favorite lake, I get a feeling in my heart as I drive up the steep hill next to the dam before the lake opens out in front of me. It always makes my jaw drop when I see the lake again, because it’s the most beautiful place in my world. Continue reading

The Father who isn’t fair

Sermon preached at Burke UMC LifeSign service 1/8/2012
Part 1 of Lord’s Prayer series “On Earth As It Is In Heaven”
Text: Luke 15:11-32 (The Prodigal Son)

My first political protest took place in my 11th grade English class. We had a very strict teacher named Mrs. Shields. One day we were reading an amazingly boring essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and almost our entire class had fallen asleep. So the next day, Mrs. Shields gave us a pop test. Not a pop quiz. A pop test! The highest grade anyone got on the test was about a 30. In other words, nobody was going to get an A in her class if the test counted. And that was not fair! Continue reading