May 15, 2018
May 13, 2018 | We live in a world filled with dangers everyday. We see the pictures on the internet and the daily news. Some of us have experienced first hand the dangers of life. The many different operating systems that have become accepted as normal including social, cultural, political and economic structures.
In our reading this week from John’s Gospel Jesus knows that the human ordering of life is often contrary and even opposed to God’s ordering of life. That concern is the subject of his prayer in our reading. It is the evening of the last supper. Feet have been washed. Supper has ended. The darkness has descended.
Jesus does not run from the dangers of the world. Instead he offers love and that his joy may be made complete in us. This happens when we live, act and work with God in answering his prayer. We are actively participating in Jesus’ prayer by shaping our lives to be like his.
May 9, 2018
May 6, 2018 | Much of our lives are characterized by the experience of waiting and transition. It might be waiting for the bus, for an appointment, for a visitor or for a holiday. Most of these waiting experiences are likely to be fulfilled in this life, we hope. But it is also true that the whole of life for every one of us is one long period of waiting and transition.
This week we hear about the Ascension, one of the major events in the history of Jesus, an event that is situated during a period of transition and waiting for disciples of Jesus. It occurs 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and 10 days before Pentecost.
What were the disciples doing during this waiting time? I am sure normal life went on – eating, sleeping, meeting each other and maybe going to work. During out times of transition we too carry on with normal life as far as we can. But other things were also happening and these all related to the person of Jesus. And it was far from being a passive or unproductive time.
April 30, 2018
April 29, 2018 | Our reading this week from the gospel of John is an image of a vine and its branches. This is an image to challenge that early community and ours today, to claim our close relationship with Jesus. In Jesus' time people would have been familiar with the vine metaphor because it is one that appears several times in the Hebrew Scriptures to describe Israel. But even if contemporary Christians have never tended a vineyard most of us have seen a grapevine at one time or another. Looking closely we see the many entwined branches winding their way around one another in intricate patterns of tight curls that make it impossible to tell where one branch starts or another one ends. This is not just intricate; it's intimate, and the vine shares with its branches the nutrients that sustain it, the life force of the whole plant. This vine is one with the branches.
Our value is in being a part of the vine that is the body of Christ. Be honest. We all long for a sense of belonging, a place. To be a part of the church becomes the place where we can be rooted, where we can feel a part. Joined together by our shared love for him, challenged together to bear fruit for that love in the world, we are connected together in and through him.
April 22, 2018
April 22, 2018 | Following Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus gives instructions to his disciples, telling them to go out into the world and spread the good news of salvation.
In the scripture preceding this week’s reading (Acts 3:12-19), we find Peter and John visiting a temple where they meet a lame man at the entrance begging for money. Peter who didn’t have any silver or gold to share with the man, gave him the gift of knowing Jesus. He showed the man the power of God by giving him the ability to walk.
While the crowd around them was amazed, Peter rebukes them for thinking they were in fact the ones capable of this miracle when in fact it was the lame man who “put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong.”
The name Jesus means, “Savior”. Jesus heals and saves. Those that come to him in repentance will be forgiven; will be saved.
God gave us the gift of Jesus Christ – through his life, his death and resurrection Jesus lives in us, works through us. It is a gift worth sharing.
April 9, 2018
April 8, 2018 | Have you ever had a happy surprise so unexpected and overwhelming that you could hardly believe it? Have you ever had your hopes and expectations crushed only to discover with immense joy that what you THOUGHT was lost or destroyed was restored to you, and in a way that you would never have dreamed?
Imagine then, the disciples of Jesus. They had hoped that their Lord was going to set up His Kingdom and free them from the oppression that they were experiencing under Roman rule. But all of their anticipations and aspirations were shattered when the "Christ of Victory" on Palm Sunday, became the "Christ of Agony", on the "Cross of Shame and Death" just a few days later.
This brings us to the hours and days immediately following the Resurrection of our Lord, and to our meditation this morning. Grief and despair, sorrow and disbelief are changed, (sometimes in an instant), to joy and hopefulness, gladness and faith when disciples and followers come face to face with the RISEN Lord
April 2, 2018
April 1, 2018 | Jesus is risen. The tomb where he lay is empty. On that first Easter morning Mary comes to the tomb while it is still dark. She sees that the stone has been rolled away and she draws the conclusion that Jesus has been taken. Running to Peter and that beloved disciple, she shares her concern.
Upon her return to the tomb Jesus appears to Mary as a gardener and will later appear to the disciples. She does not yet believe who she is standing with.
Things go no more smoothly for the others either. The risen Christ appearance is no simple thing. As we will hear this morning, the gospel story judges none of these people. For in their own time each will come to faith and believe in the risen Christ.
March 26, 2018
March 25, 2018 | As Jesus approached Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, Luke tells us that the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen. John’s gospel specifically notes that many of the Jews who had witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus had followed Jesus to Jerusalem and were telling everyone what had happened. News had already arrived ahead of them, and so many in Jerusalem came out to meet Him because they had heard about Lazarus. Why are these people rejoicing? Because the raising of Lazarus has given them hope. Hope imagines a better world, a better outcome, a different future.
Was Jesus full of joy as he rode into Jerusalem? Hebrews says that he was. He rode into Jerusalem knowing full well what he was riding into Jerusalem for, and he did it for the joy that was set before him.
March 18, 2018
March 18, 2018 | During the Jewish feast of Passover, some Greeks arrive in town and approach Philip. They come with a request that the disciples must have fielded many times during Jesus's ministry. Had they traveled all the way to Jerusalem just to ask their question?
"Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
Philip shares their request with Andrew, and together they tell Jesus. But their query fizzles out and the story then takes a new turn. We never learn if they actually get to see Jesus, the one they have heard so much about. Were these Greeks genuine seekers or mere gawkers? What did they hope to see or want to hear from Jesus?
March 12, 2018
March 11, 2018 |
Of all the virtues that have been passed on to us
through the ages, from the great poets to the saints and scholars, throughout history and literature,
love is the one virtue that we as a society cannot live without.
The ability to love well and to love wisely is the most important trait that parents can pass on to their children.
As children grow, the longing to share this love as well as receive it will remain strong throughout their lives.
An old Welsh proverb says.....
Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.
March 5, 2018
March 4, 2018 | The Jerusalem Temple was hardly one sacred site among many for those who worshiped there early in the first century. Here was the place, they believed, where God was most present. The Temple served as the focus of identity — religious, national, social, you name it — for many (but certainly not all) Jews of Jesus’ time, especially those influenced by the elite members of Jerusalem society. For some, it stood as the architectural and symbolic centrepiece of their most important city, a city that played a key role in their most cherished memories, and a location that would figure in a hoped-for future when God’s promises would be fully realized.
In our reading this week from John’s gospel Jesus arrives to the temple as the outer courtyard is bustling with merchants selling animals for sacrifice and moneychangers are changing money into authorized temple currency. Thousands of people would have been gathered for the Passover.