June 7, 2017 @ 11:38 pm by Daniel Kessel

The people of God this is Jacqui, with a thought for you as you are thinking of Pentecost and the  sermon this Sunday. Or if you are thinking about a way to devote yourself in this beautiful season of spirit. 

It is so interesting that on June 12, there are many converging historical dates. It is the 50th anniversary of the decision by the Supreme Court, to make interracial marriage legal, all the way around the country. In a case called Loving vs. Virginia. 

It's also the anniversary of the death of Medgar Evers. 

It is quite sadly, also the anniversary of the Pulse shooting. Where all of those young people, dancing in a place that felt for them to be a sanctuary, were murdered.  Just for being who they are.  

So I am holding all of that. 

And also thinking about London and Manchester, and the bombings in the Middle East, as I write my sermon. 

What are you thinking about? 

So the text today draws us into this place were Jesus has died, has promised the disciples he is not finished living, if you will. Has asked them to go ahead to Jerusalem and he'd meet them there. And he does. 

His love, his passion, and his fierce commitment to God defies death. And he meets them and he gives them instructions. He tells them to go and make disciples of all the nations.  Baptizing them in the name of God, whom Jesus knows as Father and in the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

Now, if you do the exegesis on that you know that Jesus didn't have a baptism formula already, right?

Because he was fresh from the resurrection.  

But the church has been really inspired by this text to think about our commission.  Our great commission. To go and teach other people to know what we know, about God's love. 

So I'm calling my sermon "Discipline".

What does it mean for us to have learning, lessons, teachings  from this Holy one whom some of us think of as Christ and Messiah and some of us think of as Rabbi. Some of us just think of as the most enlightened Buddhist that we know. 

What are the lessons to be learned?

And in the particular time as this, when the world is on fire with anger… What  does it mean for us to have discipline, to have teachings (because that's what the word discipline means…teachings), inspired by the rabbi Jesus, in times like these. 

I'm going to be looking at his life, on Sunday. 

What does Jesus do any encounters a stranger? Well, he speaks to them and makes the stranger the star of his story of what it means to love. 
What does he do when people are sick? He heals them. 
What does he do when people are hungry? He feeds them. 
What does he do when he is encountering women who are on the margins? He puts them in the center. 
Children? He puts them in the center. 

In my discipline right now, I'm trying to learn to be more like my Rabbi.

And I'm hoping you'll tuning on Sunday at 11:15 at the church. come in person or come online. 

As you reflect on this. Read the text, but then go back to the Gospel of 

Matthew and look at Jesus' life. 

What are the lessons for you and me from the way he lived. 

Let's think about it.

To hear more from this text join us this Sunday in the East Village or online at www.MiddleChurch.org every Sunday at 11:15 AM. 

You can subscribe to this show on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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June 2, 2017 @ 03:52 pm by Daniel Kessel

It’s Pentecost this Sunday, June 4.


The disciples have a sense that God is present everywhere. They preach and those gathered hear the good news of God's love and power in their own language. In their own language.

What if the church today felt it was her job to preach the good news of God’s love in the language that people need in order to hear it and receive it?  


If we were speaking in the language that people need to know it, we’d be speaking so that Muslims are having conversations with Christians, and Christians are having conversations with Jews, and Jews are having conversations with Buddhist. And none of us would act like we have God in our own pocket and that we know all about what God desires. I am talking about a translation miracle.  


In these hot mess times, we need to do Gospel. We need to do good news, by any means necessary. Good news in it for the poor, for the marginalized, for gay, trans, and lesbian people, good news for people who have been hurt, wounded, disrespected, and dispossessed by the church.  And if it's not good news for them, then it is not gospel.  


This Pentecost, think about the people on the margins who need to hear God's love, in a way they can take it in. 


About This Blog

That'll Preach, a podcast with Jacqui Lewis: part sermon-prep, part devotional.

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