"Get behind me, Satan!" Jesus to his friend, Peter

Jesus speaks openly about his journey to the cross. He addresses his disciples as one adult telling other adults about what he sees ahead. Then Peter responds, “You can’t do that!” Peter is using his parental voice in reprimanding Jesus.

For: 
February 23, 2021
Mark 8:31-38
Lent 2
The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. - Mark 1:12

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. Note that the verb drove does not mean that the gentle and mild spirit pulled up in an RV and waved Jesus into the air-conditioned cabin before heading off to an oasis with a pool and free Wi-Fi. No, the spirit drove him like a mighty wind away from everything familiar. Covid-19 has driven us into a similar wilderness. Life is, as Scott Peck reminds us, painful. We don’t become mature by avoiding pain. We become all that God calls us to be by allowing the spirit to drive us into the wilderness with Jesus.

For: 
February 21, 2021
Mark 1:9-15
Lent 1
Ash Wednesday
Jesus was transfigured before them... - Mark 9:2

Jesus has been doing things with his disciples. We read about his miracles. We try to make sense of what he taught. But Jesus knows what lies ahead. He is really at the mid-point of his mission. And at mid-points, it is good to pause, take stock, and reconnect with what matters for the journey. We tend to think that religion is about what we do; the songs that we sing, the offerings that we bring, and the words that the preacher says. Religion is really about the doorway, the emptiness, the wilderness, and the lonely mountaintop. 

For: 
February 14, 2021
Mark 9:2-9
Epiphany 8
Tranfiguration Sunday
And Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases... Mark 1:34

Jesus charged nothing. We tend to say, “You get what you pay for.” That saying is nowhere in the Bible. It is a luxury to be able to pay more for something. Many people live on the edge of subsistence. We should be mindful of them as we line up for our vaccine or drive by the local food bank.

For: 
February 7, 2021
Mark 1:29-39
Epiphany 5
"They were amazed by Jesus, because he taught with authority"

Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to those he left behind so that they might have his authority to go into this hurting world and be compassionate. Anyone who knows Jesus can be “an authority” by simply choosing to love the people around them without compromise.

For: 
January 31, 2021
Mark 1:21-28
Matthew 5:21-32
Epiphany 4
"Follow me and I will make you fish for people" - Jesus

“Follow me and I will teach you all the great truths of the universe.” Jesus didn’t say that. Why have we made the church so much about teaching doctrine and so little about love?

For: 
January 24, 2021
Mark 1:14-20
Epiphany 3
If only you, God, would slay the wicked! - Psalm 139:19

Note that Psalm 139 speaks about the pseudo-religiosity of our enemies. They speak of God with evil intent. (verse 20) When the Devil goes out to recruit fools for his army, he always visits our churches. Conservative Christianity needs to renounce Trumpism.

For: 
January 17, 2021
Psalm 139
Epiphany 2
[The people] were baptized by John in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. - Mark 1:5

Jesus comes to be baptized by John in the Jordan. His baptism, like ours, is halfway between a bath and a drowning. 

For: 
January 10, 2021
Mark 1:4-11
Epiphany 1
In the beginning was the Word

John challenges our faith: Do you believe that Jesus is God? Has he become the light of your life? Does he live with you in your everyday life?

For: 
January 3, 2021
John 1:1-14
Christmas 2
"This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many"- Simeon

God has intruded into our cycle of birth - innocence - rebellion - maturity - midlife - old age - and death. He has given us something eternal. What we see is not a generational division, but a timeless unity.

For: 
December 27, 2020
Luke 2:22-40
Christmas 1
Sunday between Christmas & New Year's

The holiday season is filled with teachable moments. As a WASP child, growing up in a white suburb, Tennessee Ernie Ford’s recording of "Some Children See Him was a teachable moment.

God has sent the rich away empty - Mary the mother of Jesus

Mary makes a spiritual leap that I think we all should make this Christmas season, especially in the midst of our fears and the growing social unrest of 2020. She says that the Messiah will be born on the wrong side of the tracks.

For: 
December 20, 2020
Luke 1:46-55
Advent 4
...the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

At Christmas and the holidays, paradoxes abound. Peace on Earth, is promised. Then Herod slays the innocents. Paradoxes prepare us for God’s built-in ambiguity.

For: 
December 13, 2020
John 1:5
Advent 3
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low... - the Prophet Isaiah

As we look through the Bible, most of Jesus’ words were comforting words. He went around healing people – not just their bodies, but also their hearts. When we have been broken by life, Jesus is not there to tells us what we did wrong. He comes to bring us comfort.

For: 
December 6, 2020
Isaiah 40:1-11
Advent 2
"But in those days, after that suffering..." - Jesus talking about the apocalypse

For now, you are the second coming of Christ. If this is the apocalypse, how much more important is it that you be loving, kind, and future-oriented? 

For: 
November 29, 2020
Mark 13:24-37
Advent 1

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