Feb 3 - Jesus goes to his hometown, speaks out, and almost gets himself killed

Yet another example of Jesus' shaking up the status quo wherever he goes. ("No prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown.")

Jesus has been wandering the region, and eventually makes it back to Nazareth. (This is the little town where he grew up and, one would assume, is well known.) He gives a little talk at the synagogue that absolutely enrages the hometown crowd. In the words of the new testament: "They get up, drive him out of the town, and lead him to the brow of the hill, so that they might hurl him off the cliff!" Welcome home, Jesus!

November 11 - Today's gospel is the Widow's mite. It must be pledge time again...

Basically, Jesus is having a bad day. He comes to the temple and completely loses it. He grabs a whip and drives the moneylenders and the people selling blessings out of the temple. Then he condemns the temple leaders as pompous fools. Then he reverses everybody's smug assumptions about giving to the church. Then he completely dismisses the works of man as temporary and foolish

October 28 - Jesus heals the blind beggar, but remains surrounded by "The Blind"

The blind man's name is Bartimaeus. This name may be a sly reference to an essay by Plato in which he posits that, of all the senses, sight is the most important.

And not because having good vision makes living so much easier. It's because seeing allows us to appreciate the wonder of creation "the absolute unerring causes of God" in our lives; that simply observing this incredible universe should be enough to turn us to lives of wisdom and compassion.

How's that going for you, my friend? Can looking at the night sky drop you to your knees? Does simply catching a glimpse of Mount Baker on a clear day send a little chill up your spine?

October 21 - A darkly humorous gospel.

James and John corner Jesus to lobby for the prized position — seated at Jesus' right hand — once they join him in heaven. These guys have no idea what's going to happen to them.

Once they set out on their paths most of them will end up being killed (in very gruesome ways) rather than denounce their faith in Jesus. They will suffer higher highs and lower lows than anyone can imagine. They just don't get it yet.

September 30 - What Christians do for each other

Father Jonathan shares a moving story of Christian love and caring that changed the life of a young woman.

He reminds us of our sacred Baptismal vows:

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

You can, we all can ... with God's help.

 Listen to Father Jonathan's sermon here.

September 23 - Wisdom, Part II - The disciples get it completely wrong. Again.

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is like the difference between a lightning bug and a lightning bolt. (Thank you, Mark Twain.) Jesus keeps trying to explain this to the disciples and to us. We struggle to understand. He who would be first must be last, and servant of all.

Father Jonathan explains the two symbols of true holy wisdom in the scriptures for today. First a child, dependent, innocent, needing our protection.

Secondly, the capable wife who speaks with wisdom and teaches of kindness. She holds the good of her household, unity, strength, and harmony as the highest accomplishments. She transcends vanity and beauty.

August 12 Sermon - Radically different views, Evil and Violence - following the massacre at a Sikh Temple in Michigan

As mentioned in Jonathan's sermon, at least a dozen of us from St. Paul's did stop by the Sikh temple in Lynden after the service. They opened their holy books, explained their services, allowed us to approach the altar, and were most welcoming. We met gentle, devout, kind people reaching out with sadness in their hearts, but with a firm resolve not to give in to fear and despair. They are Children of God. Keep them in your prayers.