Posts Tagged ‘Henderson High School’

Sermon 04-09-17: “Your King Is Coming to You”

April 26, 2017

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry, he was sending the world a message: “I am the world’s true king.” This sermon challenges us to consider the meaning of Christ’s kingship over our lives and world. Are there ways in which we resist his kingship? How is Christ calling us to change?

Sermon Text: Matthew 21:1-11

Last week, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria ordered a chemical attack against rebel-held area in his country, which killed at least 86 civilians, including 28 children. The attack injured another 550. The chemical he used contained Sarin nerve gas: which closes its victims’ windpipes so they can’t breathe; it causes a stabbing pain in their eyes; it makes them feel as if their bodies are on fire; and it makes their heads feel as if they’re going to explode. It is a ghastly way to die—which is why it’s banned as a weapon of conventional warfare.

So it was within this context that the United States fired 59 tomahawk cruise missiles at the air force base that launched the chemical attacks.

I hope it’s effective. Whether it proves to be or not, it’s easy to imagine that Assad’s victims—and/or the families of his victims—felt at least a small measure of vindication when they heard about the U.S. strike. Not that the U.S. attack begins to make right what Assad did, but at least it’s something. Can you imagine how strongly the victims and their families desire that justice be done? Can you imagine how strongly they desire that the perpetrators of this evil be punished?

If you can imagine it, then you can get a sense of what the crowds in today’s scripture must have been feeling as they cheered Jesus on—hailing him as their Messiah and king—the one who would finally balance the scales of justice and punish the wrongdoers. After all, the people in the crowd knew all about the President Assads of the world—whether his name was Herod, or Pontius Pilate, or Caesar. Many of them had witnessed firsthand atrocities that were the first-century equivalent of sarin gas attacks on their loved ones—just as their ancestors had witnessed atrocities against their loved ones for hundreds of years. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Friday Sermon 2017: “Jesus, Remember Me”

April 15, 2017

left: “Scary Lucy”; right: the new improved Lucy statue

I preached the following sermon last night, April 14, 2017, at Hampton United Methodist Church’s Good Friday service.

Sermon Text: Luke 23:32-56

Last August, the mayor of Celeron, New York, unveiled a bronze statue to honor hometown hero Lucille Ball on the occasion of her 105th birthday. Which sounds great. What town wouldn’t be proud to honor an actress and comedian as funny and accomplished as Lucy herself with a statue in the town square? And it’s a lovely statue. Looks just like the Lucy I remember from reruns of I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show.

But…

Unfortunately, this was not the town’s first attempt at honoring the local legend. Several years earlier, the town unveiled a statue that came to be known as “Scary Lucy.” And this statue looked nothing like her, as you can see from this photo. Can you imagine? After all she had accomplished… Few Hollywood entertainers, whether men or women, accomplished more in their careers than Lucille Ball—and this is what she has to show for it? This is how she’ll be remembered? I’m sure Lucy herself would say, “Thanks, but no thanks!”

Well… At least the town of Celeron, New York, finally made it right.

Yet we want to be remembered… I remember Kim, a beautiful young woman who was a classmate of mine at Henderson High School. I won’t dare say her last name for fear of embarrassing her. But I remember an evening in May of 1988—the night of the “Miss Henderson” Pageant. Kim was a contestant in the pageant. And during the question-and-answer portion of the program, she was asked the following question: “What do you hope your legacy will be?” What do you hope your legacy will be? Great question. And poor Kim, her face froze. She had the proverbial “deer in the headlights” look, as it became clear that she had no idea what the word “legacy” meant! Read the rest of this entry »