healing

The Spotting Discipline 10/28/18 (Proper 25B, Reformation Sunday)

The Spotting Discipline 10/28/18 (Proper 25B, Reformation Sunday)

Spotting involves staring at a fixed point while the body is turning to prevent dizziness and maintain balance. The dancer finds a focal point and stares at it for as long as possible, keeping the head level and facing that point while the body turns. At the last possible second, the dancer whips her head around to catch up with her body, returning her gaze immediately to the focal point. This gives her body’s visual and vestibular systems a way to know where her body is in space. The discipline of spotting is to find that one steady, immovable spot and keep your eyes fixed on it no matter what.

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Sacrifice and Salvation 10/14/18 (Proper 23B)

Sacrifice and Salvation 10/14/18 (Proper 23B)

I need to start out by saying this: today’s passage from the Gospel of Mark is jam-packed with details and ideas and lessons. There’s no way on earth that I can address them all in the span of one sermon. So I’ve picked out a few ideas to talk about, and in three years when this passage comes up again, maybe I’ll pick out some different ones. Or maybe I’ll return to one of these ideas and explore it more fully…

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Going the Distance 09/09/18 (Proper 18B)

Going the Distance 09/09/18 (Proper 18B)

We might expect Jesus to promptly consent to heal the woman’s daughter. After all, that’s what he’s been doing for the last 6 chapters – taking care of people in need! But no. Maybe he’s tired from that long walk. Or he’s grumpy from not getting enough to eat. Or he’s still worn out from all of the ministry he’d been doing before he got to Tyre and is frustrated that he still hasn’t had a moment of quiet all to himself. Maybe the disciples wouldn’t stop talking or arguing or singing as they walked all those miles and he has a headache. Or maybe he is, like Alexander in the children’s story, just having a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” We don’t know why, we just know what: he says to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

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The Unpardonable Sin? 06/10/18 (Proper 5B)

The Unpardonable Sin? 06/10/18 (Proper 5B)

It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes people suffer and then die from their sicknesses. Even Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. And just as sometimes people die from physical illness, so too do people sometimes die from mental illness. Just as modern medicine can’t always cure physical disease, so too it can’t always cure diseases of the mind and spirit. So once again I remind us: never once does Jesus condemn those who are beyond healing in this life to an eternal life of suffering, of being beyond God’s reach.

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The Lover and the Beloved 03/11/18 (Lent 4)

The Lover and the Beloved 03/11/18 (Lent 4)

Sometimes we manage to enter into that life-sustaining, healing, loving relationship. And sometimes we turn away from that gift of life and love and try to go it alone. Sometimes we live in clarity and truth; sometimes we live in cloudiness and confusion. Sometimes we live in the darkness and sometimes we come to the light. And of course, that is true for people the world over, not just those who claim the name “Christian.” Everyone everywhere has the opportunity to live in truth, light, goodness, and love. Just as Jesus did not condemn the Samaritans who believed differently and did not name him Christ, so he does not condemn the millions of people who do not follow him today. The only question that Jesus asks is, “Do you live in the light? Do you live in love?”

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To Run and Not Be Weary 02/04/18

To Run and Not Be Weary 02/04/18

“Here you go, Mom. Let’s get you all fixed up. OK, that’s all done, great work, Jesus. Now, we’ve had a long and exciting day watching Jesus cast out demons at the synagogue, and we’re really hungry. When’s dinner?”

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What Have You To Do With Us, Jesus of Nazareth? 01/28/18

What Have You To Do With Us, Jesus of Nazareth? 01/28/18

We may be shocked by the demonic and by the exorcism. We may want to debate what that’s all about. But in the New Testament, including the Gospel of Mark, the exorcism stories are more about the story that gets told than about the exorcism itself. In other words, the question is not, “what happened?” but rather, “what does it mean?”

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Women in the Bible: The Canaanite Woman, Easter 7A 5/28/17

Women in the Bible: The Canaanite Woman, Easter 7A 5/28/17

It’s a troubling story. This desperate woman – mother, Gentile, outsider – approaches Jesus for help and, as someone once said, he “gets caught with his compassion down.”

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Women in the Bible: TAMAR, Easter 6A 05/21/17

Women in the Bible: TAMAR, Easter 6A 05/21/17

And here, in our sacred text, we hear of violence against a woman. (Indeed, we hear of all manner of violence in the Bible; it is a bloody book.) We need this story. Those one in four women in the US who are victims of serious physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner need this story, but not just them: we all do. And on some level, the men who wrote and compiled the Bible knew that we need her story, and so they preserved her name. This voice of the victim of incestuous rape is one of only 93 women’s voices we hear in the Bible, and Tamar is one of the mere 49 women who are named! We need her. And she needs us.

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New Sight ~ Lent 4 03/26/17

New Sight ~ Lent 4 03/26/17

But maybe the disciples – those poor, clueless disciples who always seem to miss the point – weren’t completely off in their question. Underneath their question about sin, there is a deeper question, a very human question, a question we all ask when faced with pain, a question that isn’t wrong so much as it is misdirected: Why is there suffering in life? Why must we suffer? Why do some suffer more than others? There must be a reason. Please explain it, Rabbi.

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