Answer to his question: A new birth that reclaims Jesus John 3:1-17 1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you […]
Mary: A model of trust in God A song often sung at Christmas is called, “Mary, Did You Know?” The words are address to Mary, wondering, as she looks at her newborn son, whether she knew what his life would be like, what miracles he would perform, what suffering he would endure, and what he […]
God asks, What sacrifice will it take? Martin Luther, the man whose name is the root of our denominational identity, summed up the mysterious dilemma of our relationship to our creator by declaring that human beings are both “sinner” and “saint.” Not that we bounce back and forth between the two, but that we are […]
Thermostats set the temperature Today’s reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans goes like this: 1I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (reasonable service) 2Do not be conformed to this […]
Who gets God’s mercy? Not them! Jesus certainly seems to have a knack for upsetting the orthodox, religiously impeccable Jewish authorities. Their carefully defined practices for maintaining ritual purity have been debated by the wisest of rabbis over time and serve as their assurance that they will be received into the presence of the Most […]
Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Text: Matthew 27:62-66; 28: 1-10 In one of the parishes I served back in Pennsylvania, one of the most faithful members of the congregation was a woman whose husband almost never came to church with her. He told me once that something had happened in his past that had […]
Maundy Thursday: April 13, 2017 – Love one another… It sounds simple; but then Jesus says…”as I have loved you.” Sitting around that table, I can imagine the disciples, like you and me, nodding their heads. Of course! Show compassion, be nice to one another, forgive one another. Sure…we can do that! But wait… just […]
One of the biggest and most frequent mistakes we make when we read scripture, is to assign too much meaning to a single passage. While individual passages are often wonderful treasures of precious truth, it’s a mistake to ever believe that a single passage reveals the whole truth about God; in fact even our entire set of biblical books barely begins to reveal the nature and reality of God. We human beings are limited in our ability to comprehend God, so when we begin to believe we have God figured out, it’s time for a reality check.
What I read here is this: in their vulnerability and weakness, these people have no claim on Jesus except their brokenness. Their brokenness makes them vulnerable. Their brokenness makes them needy. But they do not run from that brokenness. They claim it. They embrace it. They confess it. They let it become a motive for going to Jesus. In Jesus’ presence they let their pain and despair be heard and in their groaning open up their life stories to Jesus. It is their openness that becomes the faith that brings them healing. While those with no “faith” are willing to remain enmeshed it their patterns of always seeking to control their own lives.
Lent 5: Church is where one goes, not something one is. The cares of the world and the mission of the church is left at the door — sometimes going in AND going out.