Our summer season is underway! Come worship with us!

Services are at 8:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. each Sunday

Mary or Martha?

Mary or Martha?

Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.” Luke 10:42

 The Reverend Luther Zeigler

Pentecost 9C – July 17, 2016

Since we’re in church, it seems like an apt time for me to make a confession. A big part of me has never liked the story of Mary and Martha. I mean, really, here is poor Martha, doing her level best to make her house nice for Jesus’ visit, to cook up a wonderful meal, to ensure that every last detail is taken care of. She is everything we hope our children will be: responsible, hard-working, focused on service, thinking of others rather than herself. Frankly, I find it a bit irritating that Jesus gives her such a hard time, choosing instead to lavish praise on Mary, who, let’s be frank, is just sitting on her duff while Martha does all the work.

There, I said it. I feel better.

But then, as I sit with the story just a little bit longer, and ponder it just a little more deeply, it dawns on me that perhaps I’m not really understanding what Jesus is up to here.

Let’s listen again, starting with the setting: Jesus decides to drop in to visit two sisters in their home in Bethany. While such a visit may seem innocent enough to us, within the context of ancient Jewish culture, the sight of a single man entering the home of two sisters outside the company of another man of the house – typically, a father, brother, uncle, or husband – by itself signals potential scandal. There were certain social norms governing the relationships between men and women, and certain roles each was expected to play. So, merely by entering Martha and Mary’s home alone, Jesus is telling us this is not business as usual.

Read More

The Sin of Indifference

The Sin of Indifference

“Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.” Luke 10:25-37

 The Reverend Luther Zeigler

July 10, 2016 – 8C Pentecost

An engineer, a physicist, and a lawyer all die on the same day, and find themselves in line outside the Pearly Gates. As they approach the entrance to heaven, they are greeted by St. Peter. Peter says to them, “We just have one very simple question for you to gain entrance to heaven.” The question is this: “How much is two plus two?”

The engineer is first in line. She leans over to St. Peter and whispers confidently in his ear, “four.” And, as she does, St. Peter waves her in to Paradise. The physicist then approaches, and gives the same answer. “Please, come on in,” replies St. Peter. The lawyer is last in line, and is asked the same question by Peter. “How much is two plus two?” The lawyer looks over one shoulder, and then the other, and leans forward to whisper into St. Peter’s ear: “How much do you want it to be?”

As a recovering lawyer myself, I feel I have permission to share this laugh at the expense of my former profession. The truth is that lawyer jokes are as old as the Bible itself, as we hear today in the telling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable may well be Jesus’ most famous teaching. What is less well-known is that the parable arises out of a conversation with a lawyer; a lawyer who is eager, as Luke tells us, to stand up and “test Jesus.”

Read More

The Grace in Bearing One Another’s Burdens

The Grace in Bearing One Another’s Burdens

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

 The Reverend Luther Zeigler

July 3, 2016 – 7C Pentecost 2016

One of the highlights every summer for me is a visit from my brother, Hans, and his family. Each August they travel north from their home in Frederick, Maryland, to stay with Pat and me for a short vacation at the Parsonage. One of the happy coincidences of these August visits is that we are able to celebrate the birthday of my nephew, Quinn, who this summer turns 17. Quinn is a lovely young man, who was born with a complex of fairly serious disabilities – some genetic, some the result of trauma during his birth. Quinn has impaired cognitive and motor skills; a very limited command of language; he struggles in regulating his behavior, his attention, and his emotional life; and he can be prone to obsess over things that might seem inconsequential to others. Quinn can also brighten up a room with his laugh, or make you feel instantly loved by unexpectedly planting a kiss on your cheek, or reveal a truth by blurting out in his own special language an insight that everyone else is either too polite or too afraid to speak.

Every time I am around my brother and his family I marvel at the ways in which they have adjusted their lives to make room for Quinn and to accommodate the quirks of his way of being. They practice a patience and gentleness with him that is extraordinary, and Quinn, in turn, often opens their eyes to a wonder in the world that they otherwise might miss. From watching my brother and his wife raise Quinn, I have learned that what he and other disabled children deserve is not pity, so much as an open-hearted willingness to set aside our able-bodied and able-minded norms to see and feel the world as they do.

Read More