Laying Down Our Lives…for Love

a sermon for the 4th Sunday of Easter

In 1993, a young man was murdered in Minneapolis.* His killer was a 16 year old gang member named Oshea Israel. A few years ago, he was released and now lives in the same neighborhood he grew up in, right next door to Mary Johnson, the mother of the man he killed. 

How a convicted murderer ended up living right next door to his victim’s mother is what today’s Epistle reading from the 1st Letter of John is all about:

* Note: The idea for this sermon illustration came from the Rev. Shari Rates on  You can read her sermon here.  The CBS News reported the story of Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel on June 7, 2011.  You can read that news article here

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Three Disciples Walk Into a Tomb…

a sermon for Easter Sunday

Today’s Gospel reading is from St. John, who tells a version of the resurrection story filled with sibling rivalry and mistaken identity.  But it is what happens when the disciples come out of the tomb that makes the difference.

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Shock and Awe in Jerusalem

a sermon for the Easter Vigil

Very early one Sunday morning, three Jewish women woke up in their homes and got out of bed.  They probably did the normal things we all do when we wake up – they washed their faces, they put on their clothes, maybe they had a little breakfast.  Then the three of them met and began walking out of town.  The women had one more job to do for their friend – one more task of faithful service for their teacher and master.  Women have always had to do the hardest labor.  “A man’s work is sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.”  That’s just the way life is.  That’s the way of the world.

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