We live in a time of profound disillusionment and despair. For instance, can we just mention North Korea, schools and shopping centers under attack, suicide bombers in the Mideast, refugees flooding in Europe. Every newspaper screams the political chaos in our beloved country. Continue Reading
Sometimes I imagine being in the pulpit of any of the congregations I served either full-time or part time. I remember their Sunday clothes and their Sunday faces. I also remember seeing behind their faces, seeing their burdens, their troubles. In one particular congregation there were so many personal tragedies that I called them “walking wounded.” They had relatives in prison or headed there, family members who were alcoholics but would not try sobriety; some had been hurt, torn, damaged beyond repair — but they would not despair. Continue Reading
The Spirit has been in the world, and with us, long before the Day of Pentecost. Our Gospel reading is from a conversation most likely in the Upper Room during the week before Jesus was crucified.
Jesus was looking to the time when disciples in every age would wonder about his presence. Continue Reading
We go once again to the upper room in Jerusalem where Jesus is with his disciples on the evening of his betrayal and trial. Whatever he has to say to them, he must say quickly. He expects them to continue what he has started, living out his mission and message. Jesus knows that his time is short. He looks ahead to the time when he will no longer be bodily present, the time when the completion of his mission will depend on the disciples. He prays for their unity, that the world may “know that you have sent me.” That’s a big expectation.Continue Reading
Some of the stories in the New Testament make me wonder about the disciples. Were they any more religious or spiritual than we are? I mean, these were handpicked people who spent three years with Jesus. But I wonder about them.Continue Reading
In his last week in Jerusalem, Jesus knew he did not have long. His path had become irreversible. Judas had already arranged betrayal. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem’s street of tears, the way of the cross. In these last hours, he wanted to be sure the disciples understood that his whole life and teaching came down to one commandment. Love one another.Continue Reading
On Easter day, we renewed our faith in the resurrection, and we praised God’s presence in the world in Christ Jesus. By now we have most likely put the day away for another year. In the meantime, the resurrection of Jesus seems to have little connection with the situations of daily life. That is, if God is so in charge that he overcame death in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, why do we still have undeserved, unpredicted, and unfathomable tragedy.Continue Reading
If we had to answer why we are here, we would likely say that worship is important. While there is no guarantee that worship will bring us close to God, it is ahead of whatever is in second place. We are here because we expect to make contact with God in scripture, sermon, praying, singing, in the fellowship of like-minded fellow Christians, affirming our baptism, breaking bread together.Continue Reading
They watched the crucifixion and fled. Jesus was buried. They agonized through another day of utter despair. Now it was the evening of the third day and the disciples were again in the upper room where they had celebrated Passover with Jesus. They didn’t understand when he gave them his body, first in the bread, then, on the cross. They had been changed, not only as individuals, but also as a group. Continue Reading
“Christ is Risen!” He is Risen indeed!”
Mary Magdalene was totally unprepared for his body to be missing. Some disciples came and looked. They did not understand, and simply went home. Mary did not recognize him immediately.
Can we put ourselves in the scene?Continue Reading