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Sermons from Main Branch

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How Are Your Table Manners?

How are your table manners? Truth be told, it doesn’t matter a lick. Because everyone is welcome, and everyone is served. Those are the only manners Christ insists upon, and they are more than enough. That’s the way we eat in here, and if we practice it enough, it’s the way we’ll eat — and the way we’ll live — out there, too.

Amen

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We Need Each Other

Let us live like resurrected people. Let us look around and see the people around us—the ones we know and the ones we don’t. See them. Connect with them. Listen to them. Learn from them. The world needs us to live this way. God longs for us to live this way. So, let’s give it our best effort — and let’s do it together.

Amen

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Crucifixion (Good Friday)

Here it is worth pointing out a distinctive feature of MacCulloch’s book. He treats the important spiritual dimension of silence, but he also raises the ugly specter of the silence that has often prevailed in the face of injustice. Think, he bids us, of the church’s great silence for so many years in the face of the horrendous instances of clergy sexual abuse of children and teenagers. There, silence was enforced. Think also of other reprehensible instances of silence – of tolerating racism, of not addressing the systematic violence that pervades too much of our social lives. Think, too, of all the silence that has come about because of shame, of trying to hide something – sexual identity; unpopular views; sin, too. There, silence does not seem so good. There, it seems that words need to be spoken and spoken loudly.    But I would counsel that those words will not change anything, at least not very deeply, until we have learned something about Christ’s silence, for until we have quieted ourselves and learned how to use the silence of listening and the silence of loving obedience to God’s will, we will only contribute to a noisy moral chaos, albeit with noisy voices that would seek righteousness. For one will not ever understand suffering until one has learned silence and to hear the unexpressed hearts of those who have been silenced.

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Here We Are: A Reflection of Judas' Betrayal

When we are accused wrongly, do we follow Jesus’s example of silence? Jesus, to our accusations, has no defense. He simply listens with a head bowed, crowned with thorns. He knows that our words could free him from this agony. Yet, he does not defend himself or put us down. When we say that we are sorry and agree to consequences untold. Even suggesting that the blood of his death will cover us and our children (Matthew 27:25). Jesus remains silent. Except for the fact that his blood—the blood we are guilty of shedding—is the same blood that will wash us clean. It is not the water that washes the stains off our hands, it is not the silver we return, nor is it seeing to it ourselves. It is simply the blood that we forsake that reaches with arms outstretched, in unconditional love, and a head bowed, crowned with thorns. It is this love, a love unforeseen that will save us in order that we may be cleansed.

Amen

Amens

What Does the World Want?

Rejoice in what you have been given and have courage. Follow where your Lord goes this week. Follow where he leads every day. Should you do that, you, too, may become instruments for teaching the world about what it really needs. Maybe, despite everything, the world will listen. It needs to.

Amen

Amens

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