As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
You can live 2019 with the peace of Christ in your heart. Always be compassionate. Always try to understand as much as you can. Never let the ends justify the means, that is, don't forsake your principles or good behavior to get your own way.
Jesus came at Christmastime to a world where religion no longer served the people. Mary sang her hope of a different order. What about today? We live in a time of social upheaval and political polarization of equal magnitude to that of the first century.
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.
How is Jesus like a refiner's fire or the fuller's wash-tub? In my own life Jesus appears as the refiner's fire when my problems and misdeeds have become too great for me to ignore. It is like what they say at AA, "I've come to believe that it will take a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity." That's when Malachi's Jesus becomes good news.
Jesus says about his kingdom, "For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth."
Jesus' Kingdom of God is real. 1) God has chosen a process that involves our participation. For now, we have to choose Jesus to be the king of our lives. Where Jesus is loved, he is king. 2) Transparency and truthfulness are core values in the Christian gospel. 3) The justice of God's kingdom involves embracing even those who believe differently, are of a different ethnicity or national origin, or choose their life-partners differently than we do.
I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." (Psalm 16:1)
Each change of the seasons brings tasks that can ground our humility. We root ourselves in simple thankfulness. It wearisome to rake and rake, and to hear the wind wail at night, knowing it is replenishing the yard with leaves from the neighbor's trees. But, my soul is grateful to be living in this time and place. I say to the creator God, who designed my neighbor's maple trees to be so prodigious, "you are my God."
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
We all think it is important to do important things. Most of us can remember some big thing in our lives that took all of our attention and made us anxious for night after night. I have the first half of Psalm 127 memorized (Unless the Lord builds the house...). It dogs me in those periods of my life when I have such great plans that I bulldozer things to the edge of hubris.
The people were gathered for a child's naming ceremony at the Tree of Life. The Torah lessons for the season spoke of Abraham and Sarah's immigration into a new land, and on the responsibility thrust upon them by the children born to them in their old age. In this segment of our shared tradition, Christians, Moslems, and Jews are reminded of our collective responsibility to teach, listen, and learn. For the sake of the child, and our own salvation, we vow together to engage in lifelong learning, religious reflection, and the development of our emotional intelligence. Good religious leaders encourage dialogue and the cultivation of emotional intelligence. Saints are people with empathy.
Pittsburghers are prone to think that Jesus borrowed the words, "Love your neighbor as yourself," from Mr. Rogers. Actually, "Love your neighbor" can be found in every one of the world's great religions.
Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside
Important people often suffer from a disease. The important ends that they are engaged in, steals the meaningfulness of the moments along the way. They write a check to a charity. They don't stop to meet the people they are helping.
I am offering at cost, two Lenten plays for use in your church. One is a full-length Passion Play "I Believe" and the other is a short chancel drama suitable for worship or Holy Thursday, titled: "Judas Returns to the Upper Room."
[James and John] said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."
We expect Jesus’ business to be organized the same as our businesses here on earth. Our organizations are structured to be pyramids, you have one person at the top (call them king, or president, or Jesus), then you have the two below them (call them princes, Ivanka and Jared, or James and John). The pyramid then spreads out and so how high an ambitious person goes depends upon how willing they are to shove the rest of us down a few levels. So, when the other disciples complain about James and John, we know just how they feel.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Psalm 90 is both good and bad news. The good news is that God is in this human redemption business for the long haul. All of human existence is but a moment to him. Like Martin Luther King, God knows where the arc of moral history is going. It is not a long arc to him. God knows that it bends toward justice. But it will take forever in human terms. And yes, the bad news is that God knows that your life, and mine, on this planet will be over in a blink. We won't live to see what we hope for become a reality.