The parable of the Good Samaritan certainly challenges any attempt to put boundaries on who our neighbors are. While the story is about an emergency response, it also notes that long-term care is critical. It challenges the church to be like the inn and the innkeeper, caring for people over the long haul, and trusting Christ to provide the resources to do that.
Whether we are being faithful to Jesus by serving, or by sitting at his feet, the heart of what we do is love. Both are expressions of love of God and love of neighbor. The most needful thing of all is love.
Jesus sees a great harvest of people to be drawn into the Reign of God. He calls his followers out into the field.
Holy Communion is a sign of God’s great grace and generosity. It is a thankful celebration of God’s abundant gifts to us, and most especially the gift of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ life overflows with love for us like cups overflowing with wine, and baskets overflowing with bread.
Jesus stands against the forces of chaos in a storm at sea and in a legion of unclean spirits oppressing a man in the country of the Gerasenes. That is where he can be found today: standing against the forces of chaos in our personal storms, and in the storms of our world. We are called to put our faith in this One, and to stand with him.
When the Holy Spirit of God gets into people, they start dreaming God’s dreams.
When Jesus saw the grieving widow, he was touched to the core with compassion.
While many would have seen the face of the enemy in the Roman centurion, Jesus was amazed and appreciative of the faith and the fruits of faith that he saw in him. What if we saw through the eyes of Jesus and marveled at the gifts and goodness in people from whom we’ve been conditioned not to expect it? What if we recognized God already at work in unexpected places through unexpected people?
So that the good news of Jesus could move unhindered towards the ends of the earth, his followers needed to give up “us vs. them” thinking. God showed Peter that there are no clean or unclean people. God led Peter to a new understanding of the sacred tradition, and made it clear that God was also working among Gentiles like Cornelius and his household. What might we need to re-examine, and what practices might we ... Read more
Being willing to ask questions can take us into deeper faith. In fact, they are necessary.
Jesus was raised from the dead while it was still night. God’s work of resurrection gets underway in the darkness. Even now the risen Christ is making his way towards us in the gloom, and we will hear his loving voice calling our name.
At the last supper Jesus noted that the hand of his betrayer was on the table. The hands of many who betrayed Jesus were on the table that night, and on his table now. Yet also on the table are his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. We all need to eat and drink it.
Mary of Bethany’s anointing of Jesus is a prophetic act, both comforting Jesus and pointing to the offering of his life. With thanksgiving our lives can become a fragrant offering.
Jesus’parable is a cliffhanger. How will the older brother respond? Will he join his father at the celebration and claim the younger brother as family, or will he boycott? Will he accept the situation and act on his father’s terms, or will he stand alone outside? God’s party is underway. We who have long been in God’s house must also RSVP to the invitation. Will we practice hospitality, loving in Jesus... Read more
Jesus invites his hearers to turn our attention to something we can do something about: our own lives. Instead of speculating about what wrongs others may or may not have done, we are called to examine our own lives.
For the people of God there are no shortcuts to the Promised Land. Even Jesus had to discern his way forward. He rejected the tempter’s be-successful-quickly schemes and chose the narrow way that took him to the cross on the way to the resurrection. He calls his disciples to follow him as we feel our way forward.
What is repentance? Consider the case of Ebenezer Scrooge. While no Christmas ghosts may confront us to call us to repent, the Holy Spirit certainly does through the voices of the prophets Malachi and John the Baptist. This is the way to prepare to welcome Christ more fully.
When we see what is happening in the world around us, Jesus calls us to stand up. Now is the time to stand up for Jesus and with Jesus. Now is the time to stand up for what Jesus stands for, and for the people Jesus stands for.
True religion is not a matter of how pious we appear on the outside. It is what is in the heart. It is known in what comes out of the heart, and especially in compassion for the most vulnerable.
Although crowds of people followed Jesus at first, almost everyone left him. They didn’t understand him, and they were disappointed that he did not do what they wanted him to do. When he asked the remaining twelve, “Do you want to go away, too?” Peter answered, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” They chose to stay. In times of pain and uncertainty, when we are dismayed and disappointed with the... Read more