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.