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Sermon Luke 7:36-50

How many have experienced the sting of shame?  Where did it come from?  Many of us have had experiences that have produced shame--maybe in our families, or among our peers or in school, or as a result of verbal, physical, spiritual or sexual abuse.  Many of us can point to a specific moment when shame flooded our consciousness.
But before that... where did it come from?

     In Genesis chapters one and two we read about how God created the first people.  He had given them a task--to govern, tend and fill the earth.  They were created in his image and charged to be God’s agents in the earth.  They were called to image his love, his character, his heart.  Having faced God, they were called to be his face to others in their daily lives.  They were to create families, who would create cities, who would create nations--in union with God and one another.

     After creating the man and the woman, Moses,the author of Genesis, comments, “and they were naked and unashamed.”  There was no sha…

Prayer for a good humane immigration reform. Psalm 87

Psalm 87

On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord.
He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel.
O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!

I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me--also
Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia.
They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!

Regarding Jerusalem it will be said,
"everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there."
And the Most High will personally bless this city.

When the Lord registers the nations, he will say,
"they have all become citizens of Jerusalem."

The people will play flutes and sing,
"the source of my life springs from Jerusalem."


I think this poem found in the book of Psalms tells it best.  Jerusalem is an image for the kingdom of God.  Revealed here is a picture of the kingdom in which outsiders are welcome and everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship.  It is a picture of how God will bless this city... and make it flourish.  It i…

The mind of faith... no punn intended 2

This morning I've been reading and thinking about atonement and the mind of faith.  There could be more but I think these atonement (at-one-ment) images apply.

When shame attacks the mind it's helpful to remember that Jesus made a grace-filled environment bridging the gap between ourselves and God.  I remember the Covenant God made with his people.  He took an animal and cut it apart sealing his Covenant in blood.  That's a little dark isn't it.  Primitive.  But there is meaning.  God made a Covenant with Abraham in which there were parts that God would keep and parts that we would keep.  God would bless his people and help them to flourish in the land.  The people of God would image God and live justly in the land remembering to keep all of God's commandments.  And if one side did not keep the Covenant, then it would be done to them what had been done to the animal in the Covenant ceremony.  God kept his side of the Covenant faithfully.  The people of God on the o…

The mind of faith... no punn intended.

What holds us back from stepping out into our purpose in life?  Often it is one's own mind and the negative voices that tell us who we are and what we are good for.  Many struggle with such voices.  I have been thinking a lot about these voices and how one can best combat them.   (And don't get me wrong... there are real obstacles in life... injustice is real).

For me the voices come from three basic sources and fuel anxiety.  They are to use Biblical words, the world, the flesh and the devil.  Those messages are mostly shame messages about worth and competency.

The World: The voices of the world define worth in terms of status, wealth, beauty and success.  If we do not meet these standards, the nasty note of shame kicks in revealing our defects as human beings.  We hear these messages in the voices of our culture, media, politics.

The Flesh: I think the flesh in scripture is about what drives us inside.  It can include the internalized voices of our family of origin and in…