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Showing posts from March, 2011

Not Easy. But Quite Simple

A few thoughts about Lent, and Lenten resolutions: If you haven’t made any Lenten resolutions yet, it’s not too late. Counting Sundays, and beginning with this Sunday, there are still 35 days left before Easter, plenty of time to confront our old, unhealthy habits and establish new, wholesome ones. So if you haven’t given up sweets, alcohol, excessive caffeine, nicotine, shopping-as-hobby and snacking/overeating, then those are great places to start. And if you, like me, have given up one of those petty vices but find yourself taking comfort in another one of them, then pay careful attention to what you’re doing: merely substituting one addiction for another. And give that up, too, for the remainder of Lent. G. Jeffrey MacDonald, writing for The Boston Globe here asks a good question: “How did [Lent], Christianity’s most serious season become a joke in this supposedly religious country? We let desire become our master, and desire has no use for sacrifice. “For centuries, Christ

Rules, Relationship

On the last Sunday before Lent, it’s the custom of the church to hear the Gospel story of the Transfiguration, the story of Jesus taking Peter and James and John up a high mountain where they received a stunning glimpse of Jesus’ divine and eternal glory. There are many parallels in the Transfiguration story to the Old Testament story we’ll also hear this Sunday, which is Moses ascending the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. What I find fascinating, and hope to explore more fully in my sermon this and next Sunday, is that when Moses came down the mountain, he had a set of rules for the community, a civic code, as well as a list of precise instructions for worship. When Jesus and his disciples came down the mountain, they had not a code, but a person--and not instructions on how to worship, but a person TO worship: Jesus. God’s message in Exodus was, “Love me by obeying these commandments.” God’s message in the Transfiguration was, “This is my Son, whom I love: listen to