Year A Easter 3 1 Peter 2011
Loving Deeply (Mother's Day)
1 Peter 1:17-23

Since today is Mother's Day, I thought I would begin with a list someone has made which they have called "Murphy's Laws of Parenting." See if you can identify with any of these:

  1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
  2. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
  3. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.
  4. A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
  5. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
  6. Toys multiply to fill any space available.
  7. Yours is always the only child who doesn't behave.
  8. If the shoe fits . . . it's expensive.
  9. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.
Do any of these strike home?

It isn't easy being a Mom. I chuckled when I read a story by a Mom named Mary Jane Kurtz. Mary Jane says that when she was a young, single mom with four children, it was difficult to get them all ready for church on Sunday. One particular Sunday morning as the children started to complain and squabble, Mary Jane stomped from one room to the other, saying out loud why it was important they go to church as a family and have a good attitude. Suddenly, she noticed all four children huddled together and laughing.
"What's so funny?" Mary Jane asked.
"Mom," they said, "every time you slam down your foot, smoke comes out. It must be the wrath of God!"

In reality, it was the powder Mary Jane had sprinkled in her shoes. But it worked. She says they made it to church on time that morning and practically every Sunday thereafter.

I'm not suggesting that any of you busy Moms sprinkle powder in your shoes. I'm just reporting on Mary Jane's experience.

What we don't want to do on this Mother's Day, 2011 is take our Moms for granted. I've cited it before, but the best example I know of that is the Mother's Day card that reads like this: "Forget the housework, Mom. It's your day. Besides, you can always do double duty and catch up on Monday!"

I suspect some of you Moms can relate to that. Since this is Mother's Day, I want to draw your attention to our lesson from the Epistle, particularly the twenty-second verse, where we read these words, "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." What a perfect text for a day when we honor our Moms. "Love one another deeply, from the heart."...

Will You Dance the Metanoia with Me?
Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Every generation has a signature dance. You might even say that every generation must live with its own "dorky dance" stigma. Anyone remember the "Twist?" The "Conga?" The "Hokey Pokey?" The "Funky Chicken?" About fifteen years ago you could not go anywhere — a party, a wedding reception, a baseball game — without being bullied to "Do the Macarena with Me."

The Macarena might have been a good ice-breaker at youth camps, or a way to get your blood moving again during the Seventh Inning Stretch. But is was definitely a ‘dorky dance.' Hence its popularity: it was easy, repetitive, and anybody could do it. Except, famously, Al Gore. When "doing the Macarena" livened up the Democratic National Convention in 1996, Al, it seems, revealed his terminally "Baptist feet." He "did the Macarena" without any sign of actually moving.

But although there is not much "dancing" involved in "doing the Macarena," it does require repeated metanoia — changing direction. At the end of each set of hand motions the dancer jumps a quarter turn, and then — facing in a new direction — starts the dance all over again. Unlike the dance, however, if you really "do a metanoia," when you turn around and take a new direction, you should most definitely NOT just begin to do the same things all over again---take the same actions, make the same choices, think the same thoughts. In the "metanoia" dance, you turn away from one direction in order to turn your life towards a new reality.

In this morning's text, Peter confronts his audience with their own complicity in Jesus' crucifixion ("this Jesus whom you crucified"). Peter's address stabs their hearts with guilt and regret. In pain and panic the crowd implores Peter, "What should we do?" Peter's answer is direct: "So the Metanoia With Me."

In other words, "repent," turn your life around, reverse your orientation, embrace "the name of Jesus Christ." You don't need to be counted among those in the "corrupt" or "twisted" generation that had rejected and crucified the "Lord and Messiah." Peter implores the people to turn away from the path of faithlessness and selfishness, and instead to set their face towards the risen and regnant Jesus the Christ.

It was quite a sermon. And Peter's sermon is as needed today in the 21st century as it was back in the 1st century.

Anyone want to argue the fact that we have a world of woes out there? Take your choice of what is the worst: too much debt, not enough jobs, no political harmony, climate change, natural disasters, wars and rumors of more wars, the lack of love, the collapse of compassion. There is one thing everyone can agree upon: we are headed in a wrong direction. Somehow we are have gotten on the wrong track. What no one can agree upon is what the right track is.

As people of faith we ask this question: How do we get "turned around?" How can we get our lives on track with what God desires for us?

Jesus offered himself as a three-step "dance" to take us in that right direction. Jesus offered himself as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." When we 180 our lives around in the act of "metanoia," when we genuinely repent and do an about-face, turning towards Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we discover that Jesus changes our way of:

  1. Belonging (the Way)
  2. Believing (the Truth)
  3. Behaving (the Life). presents Leonard Sweet