Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Oct. 24, 2018. When a prostitute crashes the dinner party of a well-respected member in the community, Jesus responds with a story: “Once upon a time….” In the story that Jesus tells, one person has a large debt, the other a smaller one—the point being that some people’s lives are messier than others, some people have bigger debts to pay. And yet, at the end of the day, even the one with the smaller debt cannot pay the banker back; he cannot make good on his loan; both debtors are bankrupt in the end. Graciously, debt forgiveness is offered to all. However, only those who recognize their need will receive it. What about you? What will you do?
Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Oct. 17, 2018. “Praying in” begins, “Give us this day our daily bread”—i.e., give me what I need to survive today, both physically and spiritually. God’s extraordinary care comes to us through very ordinary means—spiritually, through the ordinary means of grace (Word, sacrament, and prayer) and physically, through people like you and me “sharing their lunch.” When we pray this prayer, we will see God’s provision and presence in our lives more and more, grow in gratitude and generosity, be less tempted to fill ourselves with things that won’t satisfy, etc.
Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Oct. 10, 2018. Jesus crossed all sorts of lines in order to invite others into fellowship with God and others; to make strangers, family; and to convert enemies into friends. Praying “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” means we (his followers) will do the same.
Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on October 3, 2019. In addition to a biblically informed imagination, praying for “God’s kingdom to come” requires global and civic engagement. “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world,” Jesus says. Salt must leave the salt-shaker. Let your light shine. Break from your “holy huddle, engage the world, and give people a glimpse—a foretaste—of heaven here on earth.
Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Sep. 26, 2018. The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer in three parts: up, out, and in. Looking out, what we see is a beautiful-but-broken world. Looking out, what we say is: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s kingdom is everything wrong with this world made right; everything broken, fixed; everything hurt, healed. Simply put, his kingdom is “the way things are supposed to be.” This, Jesus says, is what we are to “seek first.” This should be our ambition. But what does seeking/praying this require of us? It requires first of all a biblically informed imagination.
Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Sep. 19, 2018. When we pray “hallowed be your name”—the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer—we’re asking God to impress upon us his goodness, greatness, and love. God answers this prayer by revealing himself through his creation, through his provision, and through the salvation he has won for us in Jesus Christ. Don’t just look at these things—look through them and behold your Father in heaven.
Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Sep. 12, 2018. In order to pray, we need to know that God is good, loving, accessible—that he is our Father. But we also need to know that He is both powerful and present—that he is our Father in heaven (or, if you like, our Father over all the skies—the skies over Burlington, Burundi, Burma, Bangladesh…all over). He is powerful. He is present.