Afterthoughts

Afterthoughts

Check out Fr. Brad’s insights on his Sunday sermons:

  • The Continually Unexpected
    Usually, the After Thoughts are about Sunday’s sermon. I feel like this week it is important to remember the entirety of Holy Week. In case you missed it, Unexpected was the general theme. Palm Sunday’s unexpected juxtaposition of the Triumphal Entry and the Crucifixion. Maundy Thursday’s unexpected hospitality from Jesus, the foot washer. Good Friday’s unexpected betrayal by Peter and Judas of their friend, Jesus. Holy Saturday’s unexpected new friends, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. The Vigil’s unexpected fear by […]
  • Be the Unexpected
    I want to dig deeper into something I said on Sunday during the sermon. If you recall, I spoke about the unexpected nature of the Gospel readings. On the one hand, we hear of the Triumphal Entry. On the other hand, we hear of the Crucifixion. This is unexpected. But, as I mentioned, it really isn’t for either Jesus or the Gospel. First Jesus. What about Jesus is expected? What about His birth is expected? He was born to a […]
  • Unless a Grain of Wheat
    John 12 The collect from Sunday has been the framework for my prayers for us this week. Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with […]
  • What You See is What You Get
    We worship what we know. And see. It is comforting. It is easy. But is God easy? Is worship easy? Is faith easy? From the readings this past Sunday, God tells Moses to build a pole with a serpent on it to deal with the effects of the snakebites impacting the Israelites. So he does. And the people are healed from their snake-induced infirmities. And as I brought up on Sunday, this makes me wonder why God would, essentially, command […]
  • Who Do You Say I Am?
    These words of Jesus resonate with me. They cut to the quick. They are unworried about other’s opinions. They are uncaring of the culture’s perspective. They are pointed and intentional. And they require an answer. An honest answer. Who do you say I am? And while many may have a perspective on this, This is what I believe. Jesus is Messiah He is the Promised One of long ago. A bearer of the love of God. The Holy One of […]
  • Better Off Dead
    Walking in faith is difficult. It requires, well, faith. Trust. Not in ourselves. Or the process. Or in others. But in God. Who could be working through others. Or us. Or the process. And, like I shared on Sunday, Walking in faith guarantees we will make mistakes. It happens. When God’s people step out in faith, Occasionally mistakes happen. Because we don’t understand, Or are confused. Or are arrogant in thinking we know, Or ignorant in not knowing that we […]
  • Preparing for Change
    Change is constant. In everyone. And in everything.
  • Change
    I had the joy of being with my good friend and colleague, the Reverend Matt Warren, for his installation at St. Stephen’s Orinda. Matt has a history at St. Stephen’s.
  • Born Again
    On Sunday, I talked of the importance of knowing those with whom we share community. Paul shared two things that are key to doing this.
  • I Don’t Know
    As I said on Sunday, knowledge is important. It is important to know things about the things in our lives. How things operate. What things are dangerous. What things can help save our lives. What steps to take when in certain situations. What things are helpful in our relationships. What things are damaging to a healthy community.
  • Living Like There is No Tomorrow
    What would you do if you knew that today was the last day of your life? How about the last day before the end of the world? Would your priorities change? Would the things that are important to you now be as important?
  • Listen, See, Obey
    These three words can be difficult to understand and difficult to follow. (Especially the obey part). But they are essential to the life of faith. Ears to hear. Eyes to see. A heart that’s willing to obey.
  • Immersed in Community
    On Sunday, we celebrated the baptism of Jesus. For Jesus, this was launching point of His walk to the cross and the discipleship of those who He called to follow Him. Baptism is confusing to a lot of people. What is it? What is it not?
  • Power
    On Sunday, the readings and Collect for the day spoke about power. “Stir up your power” the Collect pleads to God.
  • Ambassadors for Christ
    Mise en place. A good cook knows what this is and what this means. Everything in its place. So much of good cooking is about the preparation.
  • We Are Better Together
    Pick any story of struggle and you will find that the best way out is through community.
  • King of Kings and Lord of Lords
    This past Sunday, we celebrated the end of the liturgical year. Christ the King Sunday. It seems fitting that the end of the year be about the Lordship of Christ. It starts with the prophecy of His coming. Advent Then to His birth. Christmas His being revealed to the world. Epiphany His obedient journey to the cross to be The Sacrifice. Lent His death, resurrection, and ascension. Easter His promised gift of the Advocate; the Holy Spirit. Pentecost But it ends with Christ as the King
  • Cornucopia
    If you didn’t notice the floral arrangement behind the altar this past Sunday, you missed a thing of beauty. Unlike most Sundays when there are flowers placed to decorate the chancel space, this Sunday we had a cornucopia. It was something that the altar guild had talked about in years past. And put into practice this year (thank you Cheryl Tadman). The cornucopia is a symbol of abundance. It is a reminder of the blessings of life.
  • Recalibrating
    I have shared with you all before that Pepsi and I love sitting outside in the evening to look at the stars, satellites, the Star link launches, meteors and whatever else is in the sky (like the international flights to Europe).  As many of you know, we have been out of the rectory since December 27th of last year due to a tree coming through the roof.
  • Knit Together
    So much about this past weekend was about community. The community that gathers here. The community that we find ourselves in. The community we desire to build.
  • Making Sense of the Mess
    Sometimes the readings from the lectionary are straightforward. Sometimes they are not.
  • Discerning the Necessary Things
    In the sermon on Sunday, I focused on the reading from Exodus. In it, Moses is asking God to be present with them (the Children of Israel).
  • Out of Ourselves, Into Christ
    In my sermon on Sunday, I spoke of peace:  peace in the middle of suffering, doubt, anger, injustice and turmoil.  We have all been in these places and will continue to be.
  • Old Ways – New Ways
    On Sunday, I shared from the Exodus reading and the giving of the 10 commandments. Much has been said about the Ten Commandments. They have been used in many different ways.
  • Asking God
    Asking for things is hard.
  • Settling Accounts
    Entitlement is something that has gained attention in our culture these days. It is usually brought up when a conversation is being had about the younger generations. They are accused of being entitled. What does it mean to be entitled?
  • A Matter of Opinion
    Opinions are like bellybuttons. Everybody’s got one.
  • A Radical Commitment to Harmony
    On Sunday, I spoke about resolving conflict in community. This is not easy. When you have a conflict with someone, it creates tension. We would rather have things just be easy. Not ruffle anyone’s feathers. Not rock the boat. Or poke the bear. But if there is conflict, it must be dealt with. It can’t be left to fester. Which is what unresolved conflict does. It festers and then grows and then it creates barriers. Barriers to relationship. Barriers to […]
  • A Rock and a Hard Place
    I spoke a little about Peter on Sunday morning,saying he went from “Hero to Zero.” In the Gospel reading from the previous week,Jesus is asking about who they think He is,and Peter’s response was perfect, But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father […]
  • The Worshipful Life
    The Good Old Days are never as good as we imagined. As time goes on, we embellish the narrative to focus more intently on the blessings, forgetting that there is struggle that came with that blessing. The children of Israel did this. In our reading from this past Sunday, we see that they are under the leadership of a new regime. Gone is the memory of Joseph and the favored status for the Children of Israel. Now they would experience […]
  • Say Again
    In April of 2015, Salahuddin Jitmoud was making one of his last deliveries for the night as a Pizza Hut delivery driver when he was stabbed to death and robbed at an apartment complex in Lexington, Kentucky. His body was later found lying in the breezeway of the complex. Eventually, a suspect, Trey Relford, was caught, tried and convicted for the crime of killing Salahuddin. Trey Relford was then sentenced to 31 years for his crime.  The father of Salahuddin, […]
  • The Flesh and the Spirit
    What we believe and what we do should match up. If I say I love my wife, believing it in my heart, Then this belief should be seen and known. By her. By others. Honestly, it should be seen by total strangers. They should know we are married by watching us. If I say it and believe it. My behavior should match. This is a truth in our journey of faith too. What we believe, what we have faith in, […]
  • Seeing God
    What would you do if you had an encounter with God? Like Moses, Peter, James or John from the readings this week? Like I mentioned yesterday,  I would be terrified. To be in the presence of the Divine. To experience pure Holiness. Not sure I would hold up very well. And I feel like I am in good company. When I read through the Old Testament  and see the reactions of the different people in these stories,  I can’t believe […]
  • Kingdom Living
    For the last three Sundays, the Gospel reading has Jesus, through parables, explaining what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.  On Sunday, I tried to put all of this together to help us understand and see what Jesus has been talking about. Through the different parables, Jesus tells us a little about the Kingdom of Heaven. Note, Jesus was not intending to be exhaustive in his description of the Kingdom of Heaven, just to speak about some of the important pieces. […]
  • Living With the Weeds
    This week’s Gospel reading brings us face to face with an uncomfortable reminder:  Good and Evil dwell together in this world.  And this will continue to be true until God reconciles and redeems all things. Sunday, I shared about the things in our journey that are difficult for us. Things like disease, murder, aging, divorce and mental illness. Things that make us wonder why God doesn’t step in. Or why these things happen. Or why they exist. The parable from […]
  • The Rocky Places
    If you were present on Sunday morning  (or had an opportunity to watch the service via YouTube),  then you got to receive the gift of thoughtful sermon from Summer.  The Gospel reading was the ubiquitous Parable of the Sower.  Many times, the focus of sermons and teaching about this parable focus on being productive.  Jesus gives some examples of seeds and what they do depending on the soil they find themselves in. If they were dropped on the Path- Birds […]
  • The Yoke is on Us
    In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes. And, I would add, wearing a yoke. If you missed out on being present for our Sunday morning services, then you did not hear me share about wearing a yoke (and if you tried to stream and could not because our computer was down, I am so sorry…it was us and not you). Life can feel a little shaky, and the contemporary culture is no help in […]
  • The Gift of Service
    Last Sunday, I shared from the Gospel reading about the blessing of service.  In the reading, Jesus is talking to His disciples and reminding them that their life of service will be a blessing to those they serve and to them as well.  Why?  Because service is a gift that keeps on giving. To illustrate this, I shared from my Fallen Leaf Lake experience.   As you may or may not remember, Pepsi and I, when we are at the lake, commit to being […]
  • What Are We Waiting For?
    Last Sunday’s sermon was about waiting.  Waiting is hard. It can also be confusing. What kind of waiting are we talking about? There are stories of whole Christian communities going out into the wilderness in Utah to wait for the return of Jesus; simply staying put and disengaging from society and leaving behind their lives in the communities they come from.  Is this the waiting we are talking about? No. Waiting is not about disengaging. It seems weekly, I find myself in […]
  • Children of God
    This past weekend,I watched a documentary called Sons of Mezcal.It is about the mezcal (a tequila-like spirit) industry in Oaxaca, Mexico with a focus on the importance of the generations that participate in its successful production. For many, Oaxaca is the center of the Mexican culture and mezcal is at the center of Oaxaca’s. The documentary depicted the land where the agave plants are grown, how they are cared for, when harvest occurs and how they go from plant to […]
  • Here’s the Deal
    As I said last Sunday,understanding the Gospel is a foundational part of our faith.We use the word Gospel in many waysand to refer to many things.We talk about the four Gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).When we believe something to be really true,we might say it is the Gospel Truth. But, understanding what it is at its core is important.Because from this corecomes the whole of life as it was meant to be lived. The reading from Luke 18:9-14 this weekhas […]
  • Dreaming of Heaven
    For as long as I can remember,  heaven has had an enchanted image in my mind. Not the “streets of gold” image of Revelation,  just a wonder about a place that was utterly differently  than the orb we currently occupy. And I have long wondered why,  given the choice to live in heaven versus any other locale,  why someone would write it off. Turns out, this is a common experience. The writing off part. The reading from Hebrews on Sunday […]
  • God Will
    As I said last Sunday,being a person of faith can be difficult,especially when we misunderstand what that means. In our culture of “get what you want when you want to get it,”engaging faith can be confusing. Tag to that a propensity for our minds to think that the theology of the “God wants you to be wealthy” crowd has something to itor that, for some reason, thinking we deserve this or that,and we can set ourselves up for problems. Faith […]
  • Who We Are
    Different.That’s who we are.At least, that’s who we are supposed to be. Different.Other.Unique.Peculiar.Holy.Righteous. But, different than what?The world. What does the Bible mean by the world?The things opposed to God’s justice and peace.The things that keep us focused on us and not the other. In Sunday’s sermon, I tried to show and communicate that we have an opportunity to invest in the things that will last. The readings from this week encouraged us both to see what is true about […]
  • Out of the Blue
    Last Sunday, I shared an encouragement from Luke 10.We are to focus on the “being” part of lifeas opposed to the “doing” part.This thought is taken from the Gospel reading from Luke 10:38-42. It is the story of Martha fulfilling her hostess duties(which were always done by the women)and Mary, her sister, neglecting to help Marthaby sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His teaching. In that story, Jesus praises Mary for having “chosen the better part.”This act of […]
  • Come to the Table
    Greetings friends! Sunday our lectionary readings focused on seeking and pursuing—both God seeking us and our seeking of God. We learned that he seeks and invites us into a relationship with him “just as we are” in all of our goodness, weirdness, and not despite of, but because of, our weaknesses. He invites us to be his children, and to be a part of his very own kingdom. For some of us, that offer is hard to imagine. We focus […]
  • What We’re Due
    What is really ours in this life?What do we really earn for ourselves?And can we really take credit for much of anything? We,together,are largely where we are because of others that have come before us. Yes.Our efforts help and put is in the right places,but without the help of others, we would not be where we are. The image from Scripture is, Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,let us run the race before us with perseverance.” […]
  • Invitations
    Invitations We get them all the time. Birthday parties.Weddings.Holidays.Baby showers.Bridal showers.House warming gatherings. And when we get them,we have to decide whether or not we want to receive the invitationand involve ourselves in what is being offered. We can decline an invitation.And whether we do or not isn’t the point.The point is that with an invitation comes a decision. Yes or no.In or out.Leaning in or leaning out. On Sunday,I shared that the disciples had received an invitation from Jesus.“As […]
  • Preparing for the Inevitable
    Last Sunday, I talked about death.Maybe too much for some of you. Death can make us uncomfortable.It should make everyone stand up and take notice.Death is the great equalizer.No one escapes. Not to worry.God provided the “anti-death-sting” solution.Jesus.Paul writes of it, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory?Where, O death, is your […]
  • Mystify Me
    As I mentioned on Sunday,much of our society is built around dualistic thinking. Good – EvilRighteous – WickedHot – ColdIn – OutSaved – CondemnedRight – Wrong It is natural for us to talk and think in this way.It is normal to understand things in light of their opposites.We are beings who are constantly evaluating the world that we live in.We are curious.We like to define who we are and where we are.And much of the time,this is in direct contrast […]
  • Not Forgetting Where We Have Been
    Remembering is the key to life.From the time we are infants and all throughout the rest of our lives, being able to remember is the key to successfully navigating life. When we are toddlers, we learn to walk.We have to remember this throughout our life. When we are toddlers, we learn to speak.We have to remember this throughout our life. When we are a young child,we learn how to do math, read, spell and develop social skills.We have to remember […]
  • The Sincerest Form of Flattery
    When my oldest was about 3, he was my buddy.By buddy, I mean that he went everywhere that I went…I had to be careful I didn’t run him over if I was in a hurry in the house. If I was working in the yard, he was working in the yard.If I was working in the house, he was working in the house.If I liked broccoli, he liked broccoli.My buddy. Like the child’s doll jingle from the mid-eighties: “My buddy, […]
  • The Unexpected Life
    On Sunday,I spoke about how God works in unexpected ways. This was illustrated through the story of Joseph.· Sold by his brothers into slavery.· Sold into Potiphar’s house.· Falsely accused and sent to jail.· Languished in jail after helping his cell mates out.· Second in command to Pharaoh.· In the power position when his brothers are in need. And to this, Joseph proclaims to his brothers,“What you meant for harm, God meant for good.” That’s unexpected.Both in Joseph’s response (the […]