In today's message we consider a portion of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, where he address divisions that had taken root in that community of believers. Are we prone to the same? What is the impact? What can we do to strive for unity in Christ's Church?
Today we find Paul sharing the gospel in Thessalonica. Many come to faith but others do not respond very kindly. We are reminded in our passage today that the gospel is by nature a troublesome thing. It challenges systems of power and the status quo. It challenges us as well, to reexamine the living of our lives.
Today we consider the two fold healing of a man whom Peter had found begging outside the temple. The first aspect of his healing was physical. The other aspect was the healing that comes with reconciliation to the community. This later healing is something all Christians can and should freely offer to the world.
Just before his ascension, Jesus tells the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. Jesus also tells them that after the Spirit has come, they will be his witnesses. After his ascension the disciples then devoted themselves to prayer. In this way, they waited for, welcomed, and even sought the promised Spirit. During this time of isolation we would be well served by doing the same. We ought to be inviting a fresh encounter of God's Holy Spirit that we might be guided and equipped to serve him in a changing world.
The gospel of Mark offers a unique look at the Resurrection. It is one that leads us to the mystery of an empty tomb and then leaves us with a promise. The promise is that he who is risen goes before us, that we may very well meet him along life's way. That promise can be both comforting and disconcerting. If Jesus lives, that alone changes everything. That alone ought to be enough to disrupt and forever change the way we live our lives. If Jesus were to show up and make himself know, that surely, would take our lives in directions we never imagined.
This message was offered for Palm Sunday while our in-person services remain suspended. It reflects on Jesus' unique ascension to the throne. He is king, yet he comes to his place of authority by way of a cross and a tomb. He is not the sort of king we may have expected, but he is the exactly the sort of king we needed. He is one that not only rules, but saves.
The coming of God's Kingdom is always accompanied by some level of disruption. When God's rule comes to bear in ways and places it had not been brought to bear before, the status quo will be overturned. At this present moment we are already experienced a rather large amount of disruption. There is no question that what had been the status quo has been overturned. While this is distressing and stressful, it is also an opportunity to invite the Kingdom to draw nearer still. During this period of chaos, why not invite God to reorder our lives further still, that even when this crisis is ended we might more fully live as citizens of God's kingdom.
This message comes from our first week of our worshiping apart due to the coronavirus outbreak and suspension of services. It was delivered to the congregation via Youtube. The message is a reflection on the great commandment and the second which is like it. Specifically, Jesus commands us to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Even during this season of isolation and quarantine the commandment remains, and we would do well to consider how our love is made manifest in our lives. The scripture readings are pulled from video recorded by members and friends of the congregation for inclusion in the Youtube podcast.
Jesus has a way of making us see the heart of the matter, even when doing so is uncomfortable. In today's lesson a man's asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. After Jesus first response, the man is rather sure of himself but Jesus pushes further and deeper. By the end of this exchange the man is filled with grief. Jesus had exposed his need for grace. When we take them seriously, Jesus' words and life do the same for us. We cannot escape the truth that the love meant for God and neighbor is often misplaced and misguided. We all need grace. Thankfully, God offers it freely and in abundance.
This message is from Transfiguration Sunday on which we remember the experience of Peter, James, and John. On a mountaintop they witness a foretaste of the risen and glorified Christ. Peter, at least, would have liked to linger there but it was not yet time for that. Work remained and that worked was down in the valley. Likewise our lives are not meant to be a succession of mountain top experiences. Our lives include them, but the work which is our as disciples takes place in the valley of life, among the hurting and the suffering. A day will come for us to linger in the presence of the risen and glorified Christ, but that day has not yet come. First we must follow Christ through the valley and to the cross.