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.
February 26, 2018
February 25, 2018 | Lent is here and the spiritual tasks of this season are clear. It is the season of reflection, repentance and facing the truth within. Most important spiritual journeys begin with a question and a search for an answer. Our reading from Mark’s gospel hits us with a profound question from Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” This is a peak moment in Mark’s narrative about Jesus.
February 19, 2018
February 18, 2017 | For our first Sunday of Lent we once again face the wilderness. Wilderness, in the Bible, is a vast, empty space where life is harsh if not impossible. We may think of wilderness where Lewis and Clark trekked, across forest, river and mountains of space with little human contact. But the Sinai is more empty, bleak, with almost no visual changes to draw the eye. In this environment, with no other people, or faces, social contacts, law, or status, you have nothing but your “self” (whatever that is) and soon your demons come forth in this solitary place. This is why spiritual seekers go out to empty wilderness. It is to find out what is within. What temptations lurk in the shadows. The quiet voices in the daily background, unconscious yet powerful, become conscious and exposed. Wilderness brings us to a choice.
February 11, 2018
February 11, 2018 | This week our scriptures invite us to sail into the mystic. All the great religions of the world emerged out of encounters with God, that radically changed the lives of those who encountered the Holy. They were transfigured, and their experiences gave birth to the faith traditions we celebrate today. Transfiguration can come in many ways, both gradual and dramatic, which begs the question, “What is a transfigured life?"
February 4, 2018
February 4, 2018 | In our reading from Mark’s gospel we find Jesus after a long day of preaching in the synagogue, healing a man who had been possessed by an unclean spirit and who knows what else. As the day comes to a close Jesus, with the disciples, head over to Simon Peter’s house for a warm meal and some time of rest. When they arrive Jesus is quickly directed to Simon’s mother-in-law who is deathly ill with a fever. We read that Jesus, “came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her and she began to serve.”
He lifted her up. Who do we lift up?
Or to look at it another way, when do we need lifting up?