J. Hugh Magers

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February 1, 2005

February 2005 Imagine my surprise— my own church’s bulletin describes the United Thank Offering as a “worldwide outreach program”! The United Thank Offering is not a stewardship campaign or a fundraiser or an...

December 25, 2000

Think about it. A pregnant unwed teenage girl is going with her boyfriend to a strange town. The baby is born while they are there. They couldn't find a proper place to stay, so they made do with a space in a stable. The girl believed...

April 23, 2000

The Easter text from St. Mark's Gospel is remarkable for several reasons. First, some scholars do no think that it was originally part of St. Mark's Gospel at all. They think that it was a "free floating" Resurrection story, not...

January 30, 2000

Many scholars think that St. Mark's Gospel was set down somewhere between 60 and 65 AD. The presumed primary audience is the Jewish Christian community, not in Judea, but perhaps in Rome. If these scholarly theories are true, then the...

January 16, 2000

The text from the St John Gospel is a quintessential evangelism and mission text. First, Jesus said to Philip, "Follow me," and he did! This is remarkable. It is just backwards from the way we are inclined to gather people into the...

January 9, 2000

Today's Gospel is a feast of improbable and colorful images. There is a certified and certifiable wildman named John the Baptist. This John is perhaps the most colorful personality in all of Holy Scripture. Then there is a truly strange...

October 17, 1999

The bad boys were trying to trap Jesus. Actually, in the eyes of the society, they were supposed to be the good guys. They were the brightest and best. The Pharisees were people who observed all of the traditional standards and rituals...

September 19, 1999

This Gospel lesson is hard for those of us who are concerned about fairness. It seems to tell us that God is not fair. The story is simple: Jesus describes a hiring process. Some workers are hired early, some at mid-day, some in the...

September 12, 1999

And in anger the Lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do it to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart. This is not good news...

August 29, 1999

We live in a time when there is a most peculiar notion generally present in our culture. It is the self-help notion. There are books by the crate-full, videotapes, audiotapes, and hundreds of devices and processes designed to assist us...

August 22, 1999

This text ends with a puzzle. Peter has named Jesus as God's own anointed one. The language used here is "Messiah." It means the anointed one. But then Jesus tells his disciples not to tell anyone that he is the Messiah. Why? There are...

November 14, 1998

The Gospel appointed to be read this Lord's day is harsh, strikingly harsh. One of the theories as to why it is harsh is related to the probable date of Luke's Gospel. Luke's Gospel was assembled probably around 75 AD. This is roughly 40...

October 18, 1998

This parable of Jesus is commonly called the story of the unjust judge and the widow. It is a troubling parable. It ends with the promise that "justice will come quickly." If you are satisfied that justice has come then you are excused...

July 12, 1998

This is a remarkable story. Jesus turns every thing upside down. The man who asked him the critical question was not satisfied with Jesus’ very simple, very clear, and very traditional answer. “ Love God and love your neighbor” is...

July 5, 1998

The intent of the gospel appointed for this Sunday is very, very clear. Jesus is God. We know this because a young man is brought back to life. This is the first time in Luke's Gospel where Jesus is given the name "Lord." We know from...

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