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We're anxious about a lot of things these days. Lately, anxiety about the election takes precedence over a longer lasting, more deeply ingrained anxiety: that of our own deaths. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

November 6, 2016 - All Saints Day   

"Anxiety".  Text is from Luke 20:27-38 

Happy All Saints Day to you, brothers and sisters, children of God, people of LCC and beloved guests, sinners and saints. 

Now those of you who have been walking with me this summer and fall, will know that I talk about Luke during this season while uplifting the journey that Jesus is making from Galilee to Bethlehem. This long, meandering journey that never seems to end. And we can imagine the journey taking place over six months to be real, as there was a lot for Jesus to do in such a short distance. But what we don't get the benefit of is Jesus arrival into Jerusalem, no, that reading takes place during Holy Week. Instead today we have Jesus already in Jerusalem, taking a trap by some Sadducees, the elite, aristocratic and priestly class of people an opportunity to educate some Sadducees about the nature of the resurrection.  

These Sadducees have so much anxiety around the end of life. They are not really interested in what Jesus has to say about their little game. They're interested in trapping him. The Sadducees, as we know don't believe in a resurrection, but why is this. Even as far back as our first reading in Job we are reading about how the writers understood that a physical death would still be followed by standing before the Lord. There is hope for the resurrection in Jewish literature of old, but we are always very clear in the gospels that the Sadducees had no concept of it. They only accept the Pentateuch, the first five books of the bible. They're much more interested in trapping the newly arrived Jesus than seeking actual answers. 

Worried about the final destination of your friends and relatives? The grace of God reminds us that we don't have to worry. All of us have the potential to be sinners and saints.  In remembrance of those who have moved on in the last year, including those people killed by police. 

 Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The text is included for your convenience, but it is not entirely like the delivered version, which includes nuances that can't be read.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

November 1, 2015  - All Saints Sunday

"Freedom to Sin".  Text is from Revelation 21:1-6 and  John 11:32-44

Good morning my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, children of God.

I find the story of Lazarus being raised out of his tomb a curiously maudlin one for All Saints Sunday, mainly because its content is about the restoration of an old life rather than the resurrection of a new life, and also more about Jesus's love and the power of Christ. Very simply, what we have is a man who Jesus loved like few others, and whose loss Jesus was so distraught by, that he called on God to bring him back again. And this was done at a time of great tension between Jesus, his followers and the Judaens, who are yet looking for a Messiah to lead their people from bonds of their Roman overlords. Jesus as much as says it. The tomb is engulfed of the stench of Lazarus's body, 4 days dead. Jesus speaks, not so much that God will act but that the people watching will see his power and believe. And Lazarus is risen once more.  

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