Written on the Heart

By Bruce G. Epperly Date Delivered: March 29, 2009 Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:10-12 1 John 12:20-26 Legend has it that before the voyages of Columbus and other European sailors, the far western edges of maps had the words “ne plus ultra,” there is no more, written upon them. Following their journeys to the Americas, these maps…

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Why Was Jesus Killed?

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Mark 14:1b The chief priests and scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth, and kill him. Mark’s most explicit and direct answer to the question, “Why was Jesus killed?” is that the chief priests and scribes wanted him dead. But if we ask the question with any seriousness, that…

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What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

By John B. Cobb, Jr. John 8:31 Luke 4:18-19 The answers to this question are quite diverse. Some say that Christians are all those who place that label on themselves. For statistical surveys that is the best way to go. Many people who are not members of any church call themselves Christians, and that has some…

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What About Rewards and Punishments?

Contributed by John B. Cobb, Jr. Psalm 97 The scripture passages provided in the lectionary for today generally emphasize the idea of God’s justice. This is certainly a central theme for Christians. It was highlighted in the North American “Social Gospel,” which was widely influential in my youth. It has been highlighted again by Latin American…

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Was Paul a Feminist?

Contributed by John B. Cobb, Jr. Romans 16:1-7 Of course, Paul was not a feminist as that term is strictly employed today. Prior to the very recent period, no one was. But in a broader sense, the women who founded Ewha (would not count as feminists by rigorous contemporary standards either. Yet, I do believe that…

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Transforming the Time

By Bruce G. Epperly I Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14 Psalm 111 Ephesians 5:15-20 John 6:51-59 Life is full of special moments – your first day at school, graduation from college, falling in love, your wedding day, the birth of a child, the day that God became more than a word to you. Life is also full of…

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Thinking Highly of Oneself

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Romans 12:3-8 Paul tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we should. That is good counsel. There are many people who exaggerate their own importance and virtue. On the other hand, partly because of Paul’s influence, the problem in the church today may be more a fear of…

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The Gift of a New Perspective

By Bruce G. Epperly Date Delivered: November 4, 2007 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Luke 19:1-10 In one of his songs, Paul Simon portrays the lament of a middle aged, baby boomer: We work our jobs Collect our pay We think we’re gliding down the highway When, in fact, we’re slip-sliding away. Perhaps that’s how Zacchaeus felt…

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Suchocki on John 6

By Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki Date Delivered: August 13, 2006 Location: Claremont United Methodist Church John 6 The gospel of John has not exactly been my favorite gospel. I like parables—there’s not a single parable in John! And I am profoundly moved by Matthew 25, so clearly identifying Jesus with the oppressed…”I was hungry and you fed…

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Spirit–centered Progressives?

By Bruce G. Epperly Pentecost Sunday Acts 2:1-21 Romans 8:22-27 John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 Imagine yourself in those first weeks following the resurrection of Jesus, utterly overwhelmed by the events of Holy Week, the Empty Tomb and the Wounded-Risen Teacher and Savior, and the forty days of companionship with Jesus before he left them to dwell in…

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