13 November 2011

For those with rambunctious children in church, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

My earliest memories of church revolve around two things.  I was four when the Lutheran Book of Worship was published, so I remember the old, worn red Service Book and Hymnal giving way to the new green book.  I think I learned to read going to worship with my family.  I know I learned to sing in church.  I remember standing and singing, first on the pew, then at my parents' side, holding the book and saying the creeds, the Lord's Prayer, the wonderful hymns.  Earth and All Stars!, Children of the Heavenly Father; Love Divine; All Loves Excelling; these are some of my happiest early memories.  That's the one thing I remember.  The other?  Being regularly dragged out of church by my parents for misbehaving.  Dreading Sunday mornings and getting dressed up, knowing at some point I would be in trouble.  Not wanting to go to church at all.
See this?  This is not my child.  Not even a little bit.

Sermon for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost - "Having Nothing and Having Everything"

I have to make a confession: I really, really don’t like this parable. This story of the three slaves and their master raises as many questions as it answers. The profit-seekers walk away righteous and the one who plays it safe is cast out of his master’s house. There is nowhere to hide in this parable: the master is as harsh as he seems, the prudent slave is punished, and the rich get richer. But perhaps this is a chance for us to think about what we have and what we do not, and how our fears, prejudices and trust can shape the life we live. Let us pray: Heavenly Father, the life you’ve given us is one of uncertainty. We don’t know if we’ve been given seventy more years or seven. We can’t see to the end of the day, much less the end of time itself. But we know that you have blessed us with gifts beyond believing, and we ask you to help us number our days in wisdom and trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.