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Showing posts from March, 2015

Maundy Thursday SERVICE?

This year at The Falls Church Episcopal, for Maundy Thursday (April 2), we're trying something different.  
The custom I've nearly always done, and is still done in many churches – one I don’t like, for reasons I explain a bit below -- is a ritual foot-washing, where clergy wash each other’s feet, then the feet of others, then others are invited to wash each other’s feet. 
The symbolism is fine – in a scene found only in the Gospel of John (Matthew, Mark, or Luke do not record it), after the Last Supper, Jesus stood up, wrapped a towel around his waist, and washed his disciple’s feet. 
So that first "Maundy Thursday," Jesus did what only a servant would do -- and the lowest-ranked servant at that: he modeled service. 
He told his followers that following him meant loving him, and loving him meant loving and serving others.   
But here's the thing: 


About Everything you need to know about the Ten Commandments in about Ten Minutes

Because the Old Testament lesson appointed for this Sunday is the passage which gives us the Ten Commandments, and because we recite the Ten Commandments at the start of our worship service during the season of Lent, today is as good a time as any to take another look at the Ten Commandments.
And so the title of this sermon is “About everything you need to know about the Ten Commandments in about ten minutes.”
The first thing we need to know is -- as I said in my e-news article,
The first and most important thing to remember is that the first commandment begins NOT with a commandment at all, but with a reminder:
“I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

John 3:16

In the gospel appointed for this Sunday, we hear the conclusion of the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, an encounter that gives us the famous line "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."

That line has become famous (infamous?) largely because well-intentioned knuckleheads like to hold up signs at sporting events saying "JOHN 3:16."

About Everything you need to know about The Ten Commandments in about Ten Minutes

A sermon preached the Third Sunday in Lent (March 8, 2015) The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector, The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church, Virginia

Because the Old Testament lesson appointed for this Sunday is the passage which gives us the Ten Commandments, and because we recite the Ten Commandments at the start of our worship service during the season of Lent, today is as good a time as any to take another look at the Ten Commandments.
And so the title of this sermon is “About everything you need to know about the Ten Commandments in about ten minutes.”
The first thing we need to know is -- as I said in my e-news article,
The first and most important thing to remember is that the first commandment begins NOT with a commandment at all, but with a reminder:
“I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

"I am the Lord Your God Who...."?

They say most preachers only have one or two sermons in them, and all the rest are just variations or a running commentary on those one or two sermon themes.

Not very flattering. But guilty as charged.

I think I have two sermons: the first is,

"There's a God-shaped hole inside each of us that only God can fill, and 99% of human misery comes from our trying to fill our God-shaped hole with someone or something other than God -- or failing that, from trying to numb or busy ourselves away from the discomfort caused by not being filled with God."

My "other sermon" is one you'll hear a variation on again this Sunday, because it comes from the Old Testament lesson that's appointed for Sunday.

And that's this: "If we can follow the First Commandment, the other nine come easily -- and the first commandment starts out not with a prohibition, but a reminder: that the Lord God is a god of freedom.