Teaching

Ready to Hear?

Sometimes we are sent out into the wilderness to learn things. It wasn’t until the people under Moses in the Exodus reached the middle of the Sinai dessert that God taught them the ten commandments. Jesus went out into the wilderness to prepare for the active portion of his ministry. He also sought out mountain retreats and desolate spaces on a regular basis, so that he might be ready to learn, to pray, and to  renew his commitment to God’s will. The crowds that Jesus would teach, had to first go into the wilderness and there, be taught by John the Baptist. We, yes each of us, are sent out into the wilderness to learn things.

There’s a bit of new age (popular) philosophy that runs, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” The biblical version of this is, “When you get yourself to the wilderness and have nothing, then God will send someone to teach you.” Sometimes we are sent to the wilderness by trauma, loss, or grief. Sometimes we intentionally have to choose time away, just as Jesus often did. We are too busy to be taught. We don’t have time for spiritual things. When a disruption comes, an accident, an illness, a loss of the ability to go-go-go; then we stamp our feet and pray “Lord, get me out of this wilderness.” If God answers our prayer, it is our loss. We will never learn.

If you are in the wilderness, take hope. If you are in the busy place, be ready.

see also wilderness voice
 

Sunday, December 10, 2017
Advent 2

The Authority of Scripture

Jesus is teaching scripture. Why? Jesus knew something that we have forgotten, that scripture can be life changing. He read the same words that had been heard in that location, every year for many years, but people heard them afresh. Geezers moved up front to hear Jesus better. Teenagers sat up. Suddenly, one of the trustees was on the floor, rolling, spitting, and shouting out, “We know who you are!” There is power in these dusty, old Torah rolls when Jesus handles them.

 

Melvin the Scribe returns from vacation the next week asking how the sub did. Week after week, Melvin carefully prepares his little homily at the Capernaum Synagogue so that it includes three cute stories; one about kittens, one about football, and one a rambling remembrance of his days at seminary. He hopes that these stories will make the lesson relevant, though they only bear passing resemblance to the week’s scriptures. They are like muppets pretending to be men. Then he gives a brief moral, like, treat people better, or, consider raising your weekly offering a few shekels. The real problem, however, is that Melvin no longer finds scripture to be relevant to his own life.

 

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Epiphany 4
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