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In the words of the hymn we just sang, words which, by the way, are considered by many to be one of the most beautiful hymn texts in the English language, “sorrow and love flow mingled down” from Jesus’ head, hands and feet.  Standing back in wonder, the text asks, “Did ever such love and sorrow meet?”

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Today’s Gospel is about a resurrection.  It is a sad story – even Jesus weeps in it — but it has a very happy ending:  Lazarus walks out of the tomb and is reunited with his sisters.  But we are not going to talk about resurrection today or the miracle that Jesus performed or the happy ending to this story.

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Part of the ritual of English coronation is the anointing with oil. This reflects a belief that the new king or queen has been set apart by God himself to sit on the throne.  In 1953, at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, the first one ever broadcast on TV, the cameras cut away from the live footage right at the moment when Elizabeth is anointed with the holy oil.  It was considered too sacred an act to display publicly.  However, if you watch The Crown on Netflix, you get to see what it would have looked like.

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Have you ever felt like someone is avoiding you?

Not returning your texts or phone calls?

Not really making eye contact when you see them in person?

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Today’s Gospel contains the very familiar . . . perhaps the MOST familiar . . . verse in the Bible.  John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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Our Gospel today takes place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry which may seem a bit out of place today this far into the church year.  Our Epiphany season began with Jesus’ baptism — his first public appearance as an adult.  The past couple months we have focused on events during Jesus’ ministry in Galilee as recorded in the Gospels.  So it may seem like a step backwards in the chronology to hear about Jesus’ 40 days in the desert.  This event actually took place immediately after Jesus’ baptism—right at the outset — but Epiphany skipped over this event and brought us a Jesus who was revealed as God’s beloved Son – shining with the presence of God’s glory. Continue Reading »

There is so much pressure to be perfect!  Perfect job, perfect body, perfect family . . . It can be a lot to handle for imperfect people like us.

 

  • Sometimes parents give that idea to their kids – that they have to be perfect. We may not say it as overtly, but kids get that message somehow.  “Don’t screw up.  You have to be perfect.”

 

  • Coaches and employers have that implied message too . . . be perfect! There is no tolerance for error or any slip up.  You usually get one chance.  Don’t blow it.  Be perfect all the time.

 

  • And then there’s that inner voice inside of us that loves to torment us with unrealistic expectations every day. “Be perfect” we repeat to ourselves.

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