A Million Routes Home – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith NelsonMatthew 11:20-24

Sometimes the message we most need to hear is the one we least want to receive. When such a message arrives, the urge can be quite strong to either fight with – or flee from – the messenger.

Maybe the messenger was your brilliant, beloved professor. Rather than offer your work the praise and affirmation you did not need, she articulated a challenging and pointed critique that she knew you could handle. In the end, this forced you to see things from a fresh perspective and inspired a more mature artistic vision. But in the moment, you thought, “Excuse me?”

Maybe it was the time your best friend sat you down and said some things that left your heart and your ego badly bruised. In the days, weeks, or years that followed, that conversation proved to be medicine for your soul and a catalyst for new self-awareness. But in the moment, you thought, “Excuse me?”

Maybe it was a spiritual director who gently pushed you when you were stuck in some existential swamp by persistently asking hard questions. With time, the Holy Spirit used those questions, unearthing insights that ushered in a new era in your relationship with God. But in the moment you thought, “Excuse me?” Read More

Woe to you – Br. David Vryhof

Br. David VryhofMatthew 11:20-24

“Woe to you, Chorazin!  Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

I doubt there are many preachers who would clamor to preach on the gospel text we have just heard.  We preachers tend to avoid the difficult sayings of Jesus and look for more comfortable and pleasing words.  This straight-talking, hard-hitting, no-holds-barred Jesus disturbs us.  And yet this may be one of the blessings of having texts chosen for us by a daily lectionary, which compels us forego, at least occasionally, the more agreeable stories and sayings of Jesus.  In texts like these, we are forced to confront the message of Jesus in all its forms.

So here are a few things we might note about tonight’s gospel lesson: Read More