Luke 9.51 (NRSV)
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
We are heading into the final days of Lent. And in one week we go from high to low. Beginning with the enthusiastic entrance into Jerusalem, we will find ourselves at the table with Jesus as he talks about love. We will witness Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. We will find ourselves outside the tomb dumbfounded by all of it even as we know the final outcome.
Jesus’ death is a hard one to get our heads around. For some the death of Jesus is about paying some ultimate price. For others it is simply because Jesus was seen as a threat, and to get rid of a threat you have to kill it.
So what are we to do in order for us to live faithfully believing that Jesus brings us into a right relationship with God, or atonement, for us all? We listen to the scriptures that remind us that God pursues us. It is God who makes God’s self known to us so much so that God came to be with us in Jesus saving us all. We remember the experiences that we have of God’s activity in our own lives like in baptisms and the welcome to the Lord’s Table. We recall our traditions and the voices of those who have helped shape our faith and held the faith until we can. And we use our God given minds to reason and know that God is love as lived in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. By using all of these: scripture, experience, tradition, and reason, we strengthen the part of us that has faith in the God who is love.
Sunday we are going with Jesus in word, deed and song and we will hear again the final days of Jesus life knowing that through God’s power, resurrection and right relationship happens again and again!
Excerpt from Psalm 19 (RSV)
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
I really don't read a lot of poetry. Most of the time it is because I find that I have a hard time understanding just what is said, but then there are times a poem gets to me. As T.S. Eliot said “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” There is something about poetry that has the tendency to capture our attention and have us thinking differently.
I am thankful that our Biblical canon is replete with usage of poetry. Why? Because poetry helps us wrestle and grasp at the indescribable about ourselves and God. Using figurative language or word play, poems help us name lament, thanksgiving, joy, and so much more by bypassing the head and heading straight to the heart.
Faith might be more like poetry than I initially thought because it too moves me beyond my usual way of engaging the world. Instead of reason and plain explanation, faith moves me to listen deeply to the world breathe in and out the poetry of sunsets and faithful actions.
Sunday we will be looking at how we engage the world and so I will invite us to "Feast on Eternal Truth" that brings a life that abides both heart and soul together with God and one another.
Grace and peace,
Excerpt from John 2.13-25 (CEB)
He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency.
The image of Jesus “taking-names” has always been a troubling image for me. When Jesus comes into the Temple and turns over tables, grabs cords to make a whip, and generally makes a mess of the place is not something I readily get my head around.
What if, though, Jesus was showing humanity that there are good things that can get turned upside down in our lives? By looking carefully at ourselves we might discover the ways that unintentionally that we have turned our reverence into triviality, our devotion into monotony, or our joy into dullness.
Now I’m not saying that we start dumping the proverbial tables and coins just yet, I think it might be helpful for us to look at ourselves through the eyes of Christ whether that is the church gathered or our lives individually. This Christian life we confess will have us looking outward and living differently in this world. Motivated by love of God and love of neighbor means that we know what love looks like and are willing to share it with all.
By looking and living differently, we become the sign and hope of God’s kingdom coming nearer and nearer every day. You and me, as we reorient ourselves to God, learning to see with God eyes will begin in little ways to be part of God’s transforming presence.
Sunday, we will be “Feasting on Compassion” and how God has shown it to us. See you then…
Grace and peace,
John 10.10 (RSV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
I was struck this week when author Sara Miles defined abundant life as more life. Couple that with my thought that abundancy has little to do with enough to share and more to do with the willingness to share what you’ve got. So the combination of more life and the willingness to share it comes with its own peculiar set of challenges.
Sara goes on with a caution that with more life comes more risk. With more life comes more sorrow as well as more joy. Unreservedly, we are invited to share and avail ourselves to one another. It means that we take the life of Jesus genuinely into our lives as we willingly share it with one another allowing for both joy and pain. We are in essence trusting that God is doing a good work within us, through us, and with one another.
As we open ourselves to what God is doing, we open ourselves to the possibility that we might be changed in the process. The compelling love of God, who always pursues us, just might have us living more Christ-like, more kingdom-of-God-like in different and surprising ways. It takes some doing, but this faith is an adventure that I am grateful we share together!
Sunday our theme is “Feasting on Promises.” What promises of our abundant life of faith inspire you? I can’t wait to hear about them…
Grace and peace,
*To learn more about Sara Miles and her work please visit per website: http://saramiles.net/
Husband, father, minister, child of God, follower of Jesus Christ writing in the context of La Porte Community Church