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Sermons on Luke

Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment

Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment

We know this parable that we have just heard read as the parable of the prodigal son. The word prodigal means wastefully or recklessly extravagant. The younger son wastefully spends all his money. The father recklessly and extravagantly forgives his younger son. And the older son? He sits in judgement of them both. So, is God like the prodigal father dispensing grace lavishly or the oldest son who holds onto grudges and judges strictly? I think all of us here would say that God is like the loving father in the parable. As I thought about our cultivating and letting go topic, this spoke to me about our need to let go of judgment and to cultivate grace for one another. In this sermon, Pastor Joan shared (with permission) a version of the parable written by United Church of Canada minister, Rev. Catherine MacDonald, that was told from the perspective of the prodigal son’s mother. Sorry, we do not have a transcript or recording for this sermon. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3,11b-32)

Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste

Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste

Today as I was reflecting on this fig tree parable, what came to mind is our need for haste. I tend to move hastily and quickly onward and just get on with the next thing on the to-do list. Jesus in this parable reminds me that the hasty thing of just cutting down the tree or completing my to-do list might not be best solution. Things that are worthwhile take time. Healing takes time. (Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9)

Cultivating Feelings & Letting Go of Denial

Cultivating Feelings & Letting Go of Denial

Luke described Jesus’ desire to gather us together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings. This is a very feminine way of describing God. God as a mother hen offering us protection. As I thought about this, I began to ponder stereotypical descriptions of women versus men. I thought about how women can express their feelings much more than men. Perhaps this feminine God wants all of us, women and men, to express our full range of humanity including our innermost feelings. (Psalm 27, Luke 13:31-35)

the long view

The Long View

Where are you today in this picture? Are you on that mountain at the far side basking in God’s transfiguring light? Are you standing by the rock on this side of the picture looking at what is to come? Are you down in the valley, wondering if you have the stamina to climb the mountain? (Luke 9:28-36)

now is the moment

Now is the Moment

Simeon has been waiting for a Savoir for a long time, and when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple, and as he holds the baby, he sees something special there. The words Simeon uses to praise God, we know today as the Nunc Dimittis. In the original Greek, the song begins with an emphatic ‘now.’ (Luke 2:21-52)

rise up & follow

Rise Up & Follow

The shepherds were visited by angels, with an amazing and holy message about the good and joyful news of our Savior’s birth and they responded by rising up and going to Bethlehem to see the newborn baby. Clearly something was happening, and the shepherds recognized this and responded. How are we going to respond to Christ this Christmas? Are we going to rise up & follow him? (Luke 2:1-20)

great expectations

Great Expectations

I wonder what it was like for Zechariah to be unable to speak for nine months. What must it have felt like? He has had plenty of time and solitude to contemplate. He has had gestational time. What has God birthed in him? Has his heart mended? Is his faith deeply restored? What renewal has he experienced? (Luke 1:57-80)