Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Water in the Desert

Hello friends,
One scripture passage I didn't get to in this Sunday's sermon was the one from Exodus, about Moses finding water in the desert for the thirsty People of Israel. It's a very thought-provoking story, though, and I think that's in part because we have so much in common with those thirsty complaining folks who gave Moses such a hard time. We worry. We're anxious. We think what we need is not going to be there for us. 

Moses stops at a place in the desert where there is no water. This is unusual -- desert nomads (like Moses's wife Zipporah, who was with them) usually traveled from oasis to oasis. It makes us wonder, why the unscheduled stop? Did they overextend themselves, or not go far enough? Did they run out of water because they didn't conserve it? Whatever the case, they got off track. 

And don't we get off track in similar ways? Unlike most of the world we have plentiful clean water, but we can sometimes pay insufficient attention to our own basic needs and resources. We over-extend or over-consume. Here it's water, but what about  time, energy, sleep, silence, play? Do we plan like nomads and move carefully from oasis to oasis, from sabbath to sabbath, or do we get stuck in the middle with nothing to drink, burnt out and exhausted, like these guys?

This Lent, make sure you plan plenty of time and replenishment at the oasis that you need.

P.S. If such refreshment moves you to share with others, you might take a peak here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Atonement Theology Unpacked.. a little bit

Dear friends,

Yesterday in my sermon I brought up the topic of atonement theology (i.e. how Jesus's death saves us) because I think it's something very important for practicing Christians to have a grasp of. In today's pluralistic society, it's more and more common that a friend might ask about what we believe, or have a mis-understanding of Christianity based on TV evangelists. Or maybe we ourselves have questions about how God could possibly need Jesus to die. I only just touched on the topic in my sermon, giving the highlights of three of the dozens of ways theologians explain atonement.

So here is some unpacking, and to keep you reading I've put my own favorite theory at the very end....

Sermon for Third Sunday in Lent

Hello friends,

Here is my sermon from yesterday. You can find the scripture readings here. I realize I opened a bit of a can of worms with all those atonement theologies (it was very hard to summarize!) so I'll post another blog post unpacking that a little more for those who are interested.

Sermon for March 27 2011 by the Rev. Kate Ekrem
If you’ve been reading the Redeemer blog, you know that last Sunday I got to have dinner with the youth group and we played “stump the priest.” And they did! Well, at least it’s easier than Crainium, but they asked some tough questions. But the one question I think I really did not give a good answer to was, what does it mean that Jesus saves us? We say he died for our sins, but how did his dying fix the problem of human sin?