October 17, 2021
I had a friend who worked really hard at appearing humble. In public, he was always putting himself down, always declining praise when he’d done something good. But in private, it was a different story.
One time he told me of a particularly generous thing he’d done for someone we both knew. And then he said, “But of course, I don’t want anyone to know it was me. Jesus says to give alms in secret.” And I thought, “but you just told me.” Continue reading
May 22, 2016 Trinity C
We viewed this clip from The Hunger Games to introduce the sermon.
Just to be clear, even though he may look sweet snipping roses, President Snow of The Hunger Games is a bad guy. He is evil personified. And while his reasoning may be based on false assumptions about what hope actually is, he does make a good point when he says, “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.” And a lot of hope – that’s a dangerous thing. President Snow likes his hope in small doses. He uses hope to get people to do exactly what he wants them to do. But he doesn’t really understand what hope is.
At least a dozen times in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, we find him talking about a particular kind of hope, and today’s passage gives us one of them.
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. – Romans 5:1-5
The thing about Romans is that you have to hold the entire thesis in your head in order to examine a small chunk of it so it makes sense. This passage is a perfect example. Paul starts off with the word, “Therefore,” and that’s a sure sign we’d better go back and read chapter four, so we’ll know what he’s referring to. Continue reading