March 29, 2020
March 29, 2020 | Waiting for something to happen is one of the hardest task we all face. Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for a test result. Waiting is hard. The road to Easter is part of this waiting. As in so many times in life, we struggle before we arrive at our destination.
In the reading this week from John’s Gospel, Mary and Martha grieve the death of their dear brother Lazarus.
With that grieve comes loss, frustrations, questioning and lack of understanding by those closest to him. A delayed arrival to Bethany is not what they had expected from Jesus. If only he had come sooner. If only…
Jesus’ delay though is understandable from a purely defensive, logical stance. A trip through the area would make him vulnerable to his enemies. Yet, Jesus does set out anyway and when he arrives everything changes.
This week, two weeks before Easter, we have a foreshadowing that tells us that the Jesus story is a story of dying and rising. It’s a story of our own dying and our own rising. It’s about the life – our new life – that is possible, even after terrible loss.
March 22, 2020
March 22, 2020 | In the reading this week from John’s gospel, Jesus gives sight to a man blind from birth. He does it with just a little spit, some ordinary dirt, and a few words. It certainly doesn’t seem like something that could really happen. In fact, the religious leaders, the disciples, the community gathered and his parents all have a real problem with the whole scenario. However, the man is bewildered by what has just happened for he was once blind and he can now see for miles.
Jesus is still in the business of miracles. He takes us, ordinary, yet named disciples and equips us to be his people. He takes our humble gifts and multiplies our meagre offerings in ways that can’t be explained rationally.
In the midst of all that is going on in our world right now let’s think about that. How can a small congregation rally together to raise funds creatively to meet the needs of our church? How can a few folks band together to rally around those feeling isolated by our communities need to stay indoors? Such miracles of hopeful grace happen every day when Jesus opens our eyes.
March 15, 2020
March 15, 2020 | In our reading this week from John’s gospel we hear the story of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. It is important, when hearing this scripture, to remember that men would not have tended to speak with unmarried women to whom they were unrelated. It is also important to point out that the Samaritans were people looked down on by all their Jewish neighbours.
Despite the history and context, Jesus offers the Samaritan woman the same salvation he brings to the Jewish people. To the woman, he is the Messiah and he gives her living water. She is overjoyed, tells her neighbours, and becomes one of the many people who spread the gospel in that region.
March 11, 2020
March 8, 2020 | This week in our gospel reading Nicodemus comes
to Jesus as an owner, supervisor and gatekeeper of Israel’s religion. He doesn't own the religious tradition but he’s certainly one of its chief stewards – one of its guarantors, one of its border guards. Israel’s religion is his baby. He comes to Jesus expressing both a genuine interest and at the same time a guarded caution about what Jesus is doing. We think you’re one of us, he tells Jesus. God must clearly be on your side given what’s happening around you in your ministry. Is Nicodemus, speaking on behalf of official Israel? If so, why has he come at night and in secret?
March 2, 2020
March 1, 2020 | Temptation, confession, repentance, and forgiveness—or resisting temptation from the start? As we begin our Lenten journey these are the things that we are asked to think about. In our reading this week from Matthew’s gospel we learn that even the most intense temptations were resisted by Jesus.
In the wilderness, Jesus confronted the voices within. “Use your power for yourself!” the tempter urged. “Change these stones into bread, like Yahweh made manna in the desert!” “Show your power to those big shots in Jerusalem! Then come up the mountain, and I will show you all the kingdoms of the world. They can all be yours... if you worship me.”
Don’t think Jesus didn’t struggle hard against these thoughts. At that very moment, Roman soldiers were occupying his land. What aspiring king, president or politician could have turned down such an offer?
Resisting temptation is hard. When have you repented of a sinful act and found forgiveness? When have you found the support—of friends or family—to resist temptation?