This Sunday is Palm Sunday---the beginning of Holy Week.
It's also one of those Sundays when you can't ignore the church calendar and just preach whatever you want. I am sure that some people do just that, but they probably aren't Presbyterian, and I am sure that the liturgical rhythm of the Church is not first and foremost in their mind.
And they probably have had no trouble at all working on their sermon this week.
I'm not one to blindly follow tradition, but there are some things that you just don't do---and you can't just ignore the story of Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
But this leads to a bit of a quandary... In the short time I have been doing this whole preaching thing I have gone through the Palm Sunday story a few times. After a while you sort of wonder if your congregation has heard your Palm Sunday riff a few too many times.
That sermon needs to get preached, though. While we celebrate the cheers and palm waving …
I was reading an online news story today about a disgraced and dismissed seminary president from one of the largest Christian denominations in America.
A lifetime of boorish and chauvinistic behavior toward women finally caught up with him, and he'd finally done something that even the male-dominated establishment of his tribe couldn't ignore and he was asked to "retire."
And then I made the mistake of reading the reader's comments below the article.
Along with the scores straight up messages of support for this leader, there were also more than a few accusations that the whole thing was a web of conspiracies against him because of his commitment to the "truth."
I had to wonder how people who aren't Christians read those kinds of responses, and the wondering made me feel kind of weary.
I'm tired of apologizing for a church I don't belong to.
I bet there are a lot of Jesus-followers out there who are feeling the same way.
This week I am launching a new sermon series, "Family Values: Rediscovering What's Really Important." The idea is pretty simple...
Our culture has become marked by anxiety. There is no way to escape the deluge of bad news that just seems to permeate the air around us. Some blame it on the recent 24-hour news cycle that was once a phenomenon, and is now just the status quo. Others blame it on the immediacy of information from cable TV, the internet, smart phones and social media.
There is the passage of Scripture from Psalm 85 where the psalmist extols the virtues of those who are walking in pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem with the blessings of God all around them. "They move from strength to strength," he writes. Strength to strength... that sounds beautiful doesn't it?
Unfortunately, I think that most of the people in our culture move from fear to fear. We move from being anxious about terrorism to being anxious about war. We were fearful…