The Jews have a ritual called Yahrzeit. This is a Yiddish word that means “anniversary,”
and it refers to the one-year anniversary of someone’s death. On the Yahrzeit, a Jew who has been in grief marks the official end of the period of mourning by saying a special prayer for mourners
What a big baby King Herod was to be afraid of a little baby! But what else should we expect from a tyrant? Herod was a tyrant. A tyrant is a political leader who puts his own personal concerns above truth and justice.
It’s that time again, that time of year, Christmas Eve. But what time is that exactly? Do we really know what time it is? Or are we just following a calendar that tells us it’s December 24th again? Are we here tonight because there is something missing in our lives that we can find only in church?
Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation in 1517 when he protested against the Catholic Church for fleecing the poor and gullible. His protest later turned into a more sustained theological critique of the Catholic Church for failing to preach the gospel correctly according to the New Testament.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that my uncle was John the Baptist. Well, he was. It’s just that he was a different John the Baptist from the one Jesus knew. You see, I had an uncle named John who was a Baptist.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent is the beginning of the Christian year. During Advent we anticipate the celebration of Christmas. At Christmas, of course, we remember the birth of Jesus. This is a form of looking back, looking back to a time when we believe something very special happened that we don’t want to forget.
Today we celebrate “All Saints Day.” This is the day we remember those in this congregation who have died or those close to this congregation who have died. We acknowledge their lives and mourn their passing, and we give thanks for their influence on our lives and the example they gave us by the way they lived their lives.
Have you ever been lost? Maybe you were driving someplace and lost the way; even with a GPS device in your car, it is still possible to get lost as I have discovered many times, since that device isn’t always accurate.
Many years ago, I worked as a chaplain in a large hospital. Being a hospital chaplain is not an easy task: the sadness and tragedy that one encounters in a hospital can be overwhelming. Trying to be a minister of the gospel in that context is especially challenging.
The word “gospel” means “good news.” It refers to the Christian message that God has done something wonderful for humanity in and through Jesus. It was the gospel that first called the church into being. And it is the gospel that gives the church its reason for being.
Today we celebrate communion. It is one of the two central rituals of the Christian church, the other being baptism. Communion means “fellowship” and in the ritual of communion we celebrate our fellowship with Christ and with one another.