November 25, 2018 | This week’s reading from John’s gospel invites us to think about the competing kingdoms and power with which we live as Christians in today’s world. Worldly kingdoms represent institutional authority. God’s kingdom is one where authority is recognizable not by force but by its fundamental values of love, compassion and inclusion. It is this kind of authority that we witness in the passage this week as Jesus slowly dismantles his interrogator’s argument. Pilate might still have political power but he loses the spiritual battle. Jesus is not advocating a change of regime but the coming of an entirely different way of being in relationship with God and one another. It is through acknowledging God’s ultimate authority and living the values personified in Jesus that we begin to glimpse the kingdom here on earth.
November 18, 2018 | Jesus’ conversation found in the beginning of today’s text from Mark’s Gospel was difficult to hear and hard to understand for the disciples who sat with Jesus so long ago. In many ways it is also difficult for us to understand and hear these words two thousand years later: Jesus is describing the life that is to come for the disciples and for those who will follow. His intention is not to scare the disciples but to prepare them and help them understand that there are certain things that are important as he prepares to leave.
As Jesus prepares the disciples for the trials and persecutions that are to come there are several things that Jesus obviously thinks are important to pass on. Perhaps it is the holiness of the moment as they sit together or perhaps it is clarification about what God will do. Jesus tells of the destruction that will come and the trouble that will face the people of this earth, but he also gives his friends some words of advice. Jesus tells the disciples to be aware and to watch out for those who will try to take the name of Christ and lead the disciples astray. Jesus knows that the disciples have been dependent upon him and he worries about their future path. Out of this care and concern Jesus tells them to keep the teachings and the path that he has set for them and that no matter what destruction or persecution may come to remain faithful to his guidance.
November 11, 2018 | This Sunday we take time to remember all those who were called up for service. They may not have had a precise idea of what lay before them, but responded to the call to leave behind the security they knew to go and serve their country. For some there may have been a sense of anticipation of what lay before them, for others a strong sense of duty to be undertaken for their country and yet others perhaps a sense of anger. Whatever the reason they went. They gave their all.
Quite appropriate then that one of our readings for this Sunday ends with the words: “…she gave her all.”
In our reading this week from the Gospel of Mark, it's the nameless widow who's the extravagant benefactor. At the temple Jesus observed "many rich people" making large donations. In stark contrast, a poor widow's gift amounted to "only a fraction of a penny." But whereas the rich give out of the convenience of their surplus, said Jesus, "this poor widow has given more than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”
How do we give in comparison to this? How much do we sacrifice for the work of bringing health and hope and peace to the world? Now is the time to remember.
November 4, 2018 | This week we hear a part of the letter that one of the early teachers in the church, Paul, wrote to Jesus’ people in a city called Corinth. Here’s part of what he told them:
We all know who makes the seeds for the people who plant them, yes? It’s God. So, God makes the seeds and the grains grow and from the grains we can eat. In exactly the same way God makes the beginnings of everything that grows in you, of everything that you make. In that way, God helps you to have more than enough so you can share it. When you share with generosity, when thanksgiving grows through you, you aren’t just supporting God’s people, you’re helping everyone else’s thanksgiving to grow—until it overflows!
When you share what you have, serving Christ’s ministry, you are living Christ’s call—and your generosity will invite others’ generosity. Prayers will flow for you in celebration of God’s grace and love in your life.
So we thank God for this amazing gift!