The Disciple who poured out love: A Sermon for Lent 5C, 2019

A few days ago, I had one of those uncomfortable encounters I have from time to time in Madison. I had stopped into Barrique’s for a cup of coffee, and sat down at a table to read through the latest Isthmus edition. There were two well-dressed men at the next table having a conversation. One of them saw me and began to ask me about the shelter. What followed was a fifteen minute rant about the evils of homelessness and the need to construct a shelter somewhere else than downtown. Their brilliant idea was to put it down by the Alliant Center, far away from their places of business and residence downtown, far enough away that they wouldn’t be bothered by homeless people, or presumably by panhandlers because they could not get downtown anymore. Continue reading

Extravagant Discipleship: A Sermon for Lent 5, Year C


Over the years,  I’ve encouraged you to pay attention to the way the gospel writers tell their stories. Each gospel writer had his own understanding of who Jesus was and what important message the gospel needed to convey and he shaped his story to conform to those overarching concerns. In a way this attention to difference among the gospels goes against human nature. It’s not just that we want to create a consistent and coherent narrative, it’s also that we combine details from different stories. Thus our nativity scenes bring together shepherds and wise men, and there’s a tradition of the “Seven Last Words of Christ” that put together Jesus’ final words from all four gospels. Continue reading

An Anointing of Abundance: A Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2013

I’m tired of winter. I’m particularly tired of the weather we’ve been having the past few days or weeks—a little snow, rain, freezing rain, gray days. Gray. The snow piles that remain on the side of the streets and sidewalks are grimy. Where the snow has melted, we see all of the trash that’s accumulated over the last months, and the mud, and the dead vegetation. To make matters worse, did you know that the high temperature in Madison on March 17, 2012 was 80 degrees? It’s all very depressing. Continue reading