Sermon: The Power of Hair Color

Matthew 5:21-42

In Jesus’ neighborhood, most people had very dark hair until it turned grey or white, usually due to old age.  There were no barber shops or beauty salons to get your hair colored any one of a myriad of colors—blond, red, auburn, brown, black, gray, white, much less purple or blue or green!  There was no sense in wishing your hair were black if it was white or white if it was black because there simply was no human ability to change the color of hair.  Jesus uses this one little human limitation as an illustration of how little power we really do have, and points out that we really have no business making oaths in our names, as if we could guarantee that we will or will not do something.  We are fooling ourselves, we who can not even change our hair color.  Continue reading

Sermon: Pleasing God

Matthew 3:1-17

So what was it that attracted Jesus to this wild looking man screaming at crowds of people in the desert alongside the Jordan River?  Come to think of it, what was it that attracted anyone?  Jesus was clearly not the only one interested in finding out what John was doing.  There were people of Jerusalem, people from all over Judea and people from up and down the Jordan River valley who flocked to hear this man calling for change.  Fishermen, shepherds, farmers, children, grandparents, soldiers, Jewish leaders, men, women.  Maybe they came because they knew something had to change.  Maybe they didn’t even need to be told that their lives needed an overhaul.  Maybe they were just looking for how.  Continue reading