In his series of books The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis had his Christ figure tell characters, “We are never told anyone’s story but our own.” The Chronicles of Narnia are allegories. About the time that Lewis was writing, his close friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien was writing his own allegorical tales, The Lord of the Rings. Allegories use concrete ideas to stand for symbols of deeper and more layered meanings. In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan the Lion is a representative of Jesus. And in that form, Aslan tells us, “We are never told anyone’s story but our own.” In other words, love. Be courageous. Be in your own story, and from that place, be in loving relationship with others.Continue Reading
The readings for today invite us into God’s amazing loving kindness and mercy through several distinct, connected places in humanity’s long journey with God.
In the book of Numbers, (21:4-9), the narrative gives us God introducing venomous snakes into the group, causing many in the group to get bitten and die. What does this mean? It means that God did this to get to the next action, in which Moses constructs an idol of a bronze serpent on a stick, reminiscent of the golden calf the people made and worshiped in Exodus. Those who looked on the bronze serpent, lifted up on a pole, though they were bitten by a venomous serpent, still lived.
This is not a subtle allegory.
Today’s Old Testament reading (Exodus 20:1-17) is probably one of the best-known passages in the Scriptures, and also one of the most misunderstood. The psalm (19) appointed for the day is a prayer of praise for God’s covenant with Abram in Genesis, for which the Exodus was intended as an acting out of that covenant promise. The Epistle lesson from First Corinthians (1:18-25) is a reminder that salvation is a process and not a one-and-done action. And the Gospel reading is intended as an inaugural address for the portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of John that was written decades after Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection .
Where does that leave us, on this third Sunday in Lent?Continue Reading
These are hard words. This is tough love. If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.Continue Reading
The covenant was a practice in use in everyday life for many centuries before it became a model for the relationship between God and God’s people. There are differences between covenants and contracts, which is a whole other sermon. But the covenant was a familiar model to those who would tell, and those who would hear, the story of God and us down through the ages.
We are all possessed.
We all have demons.
We just don’t call them demons anymore. Where the authors of the gospels, in first-century Palestine, would apply the description of “demons” to someone with an illness they didn’t understand, we might say that someone has epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis.Continue Reading
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve not always been an American. I grew up in western Canada and came to the USA when I went to seminary at Moravian Seminary in 1995. So I lived the first 22 years of my life in Canada and have lived the second 22 years of my life in the USA. I only became an American citizen about 4 years ago. Continue Reading
How do you open a Christmas present?
Do you slit the tape neatly and lift the wrapping paper away in one complete piece, so undamaged that if you wanted to you could re-use it? Or do you rip into it, tearing the paper apart? You know who opens presents like that? Kids.Continue Reading
One of the first things I see in the morning when I wake up is one of my favorite things. It hangs on the wall in my husband’s and my bedroom. It’s a print of a painting that a good friend painted and I bought it before we left the metro Atlanta area. The print has a simple phrase: “I am a child of God”. I love that reminder that we are children of God. I believe that I know quite a lot about being a child of God. For one, I am a child of God. Some days that’s an easier concept to grasp than others. Yet the reality is, I am a child of God and so are you.Continue Reading
From the Gospel of John 1:14 The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Christmas Eve – no matter what time of day it is observed, is a time for singing, hearing the word of God and considering what great gift God has given us. Because of how God came to us as a child, we can all relate to that event. Whether or not we had or raised children, each of us entered this world crying, being hungry, and sleeping. We cuddled up to our parents or parent figures and felt their warmth and love as Christ would have felt the warmth and love of Mary, his mother. We can all identify with the baby Jesus.Continue Reading