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March 2013 Archives

Sermon delivered to Christ Church Lutheran
March 29, 2013 - Good Friday

"The Empty Cross?" - Text from John 18:1-19:42 

 You should listen to the delivered sermon. The text is provided below for convenience, but as with any delivered sermon, I go off the text as the spirit leads me. 

Just this morning I got onto the BART train on the way here and listened to an altercation between a man in a wheelchair and another man who was carrying his backpack on his back, completely unaware that it was in the face of the other man. I have to admit, it annoys me as well when trains get crowded and people fail to realize that carrying their backpacks creates more of a sense of crowdedness. Although the backpacked man moved an the other wouldn't let it go, persisting in commentary about how rude others are. He was in the place of a disabled person in a world of able privilege, and ready to challenge anyone who would get in the way of his entitlement. Of his victimhood.

"Passion" - Sermon for Palm Sunday 2013

Sermon text: Luke 22:14-23:56

Click for link to audio version

Passion Sunday Childrens Sermon.JPG

Today is the day we remember the Passion of Christ And what does this word, passion mean to any of us, though? Many people of a certain age will see the word "Passion" and think of a Rod Stewart song from the 1980s or a perfume in a black bottle hawked by Elizabeth Taylor. Both the song and the perfume evoke a sense of the word passion that is much more in use and familiar to English speaking people in the world, that involves a desire centered around love and physical contact between two people. But this use of the word to which we've become accustomed bespeaks only a portion of the meaning of the word in English.

The English word passion is usually defined as any great, strong, powerful emotion, frequently romantic love or hate. While we think about passion for another human being, but we can also talk about a passion for a sport, like baseball. A passion for music, a passion for coin collecting, or birdwatching, or skiing. A passion for preaching or a passion for etymological meaning of English words. What's important to understand in this sense is that it involves an intensity of emotion, a feeling so strong that it can impact the long-term well-being of the person who is feeling it, maybe even change their lives for the better or worse.

"The Lamentful and Diligent Son" - Sermon for the 4th Sunday in Lent 2013

Sermon text: Luke 15:1-3,11-32

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Today is the 4th Sunday in Lent, and today's Gospel reading has often been considered to be one of the most well loved parables in the gospels. This is a parable that I'm sure nearly everyone here is familiar with, a parable that is generally referred to as "The Prodigal Son."

Here, Jesus is telling everyone who has come near to him, the tax collectors, the scribes, the Pharisees, all those who are listening about a son who asked for his inheritance from his father, then takes off and squanders all of it, goes and leads a life of disrepute, winds up destitute, then finally comes to his senses and he remembers that even the people who work for his father have it much better than he does. And surely, even if his father doesn't forgive him, he will most certainly employ him. So the son comes back to beg for his father's forgiveness, and lo and behold, to his surprise, his father not only takes him back with open arms, he decides to throw celebration in honor of his return.

Now, we could stop there when we recount this parable--after all, it's commonly referred to as "the Prodigal Son" and if we do stop there we can certainly use the parable as an exemplar that the father represents God and that God forgives us of anything without hesitation, no matter what. We admit our wrongdoing, accept his forgiveness, and join in the celebration. There you have it.

But titling this parable, "The Prodigal Son" doesn't do complete justice, in fact it relegates the father in a more passive role. I've even heard it referred to as the "Prodigal Father", which can certainly give us a greater emphasis on the one who is in the central place in the parable. But there's more than that even than just a lost son returning home and a loving father giving him forgiveness.

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I *am* Cary Bass-Deschenes
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