February 25, 2020

It is easy to become indifferent to others’ sorrows and sufferings when we live in relative comfort surrounded by modern-day conveniences. It is also easy to discount and become indifferent to our own sorrows when a prosperity gospel culture of celebration and happiness surround us. On Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, we should lament the loss of lament in the American church today. Soong-Chan Rah writes, The American church avoids lament. The power of lament is minimized and the underlying… Read more

February 23, 2020

The Feast of the Transfiguration occurs on August 6. Still, today we join with others across the globe in highlighting the Transfiguration as the culmination and close of Epiphanytide and transition to Lent. All three Synoptic Gospels highlight the Transfiguration. We will focus on its appearance in Matthew chapter 17. As a precursor, Matthew 16 includes Jesus’ confession of Jesus as the Christ, Jesus’ rebuke of Peter for resisting Jesus’ claim that the Lord must suffer and be killed by… Read more

February 22, 2020

One of the most striking features of Jesus’ ministry is his extraordinary patience with ordinary people like you and me. Ordinary Time in which we find ourselves presently in the Church Calendar is when the mystery of Christ penetrates every area of our lives so that we grow into Christ’s fullness. For those of us who think we have already attained fullness and graduated in Jesus’ leadership school, we should ask ourselves how patient we are with those we lead…. Read more

February 15, 2020

One of the striking, paradoxical, extraordinary features of Jesus’ way and teaching is that those who do not resist his commandment, but submit to it, find rest. Just the opposite occurs for those who resist Jesus’ commandment. When Jesus’ yoke of discipleship rests on us, we rest. When we throw it off, we experience heaviness of soul. Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus as saying: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon… Read more

February 9, 2020

Those who would live authoritatively as Christians must learn to live under authority, as in the case of Jesus, whose dedication to do God’s will should lead the way. Anything else is either authoritarian or anemic. As Jesus’ dedication as a baby reveals, Jesus was born of a woman under the Law in the fullness of time (Luke 2:22; Galatians 4:4). Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered during his entire life here on earth (Hebrews 5:7-8; cf. Luke 22:42-44)…. Read more

February 8, 2020

Those who are an authoritarian law to themselves do not live authoritatively. Nor do those who champion anarchy against all rule. Authoritative living requires living under God’s authority with those on history’s underside, namely the disinherited and oppressed. We will develop this theme in what follows. One of the most striking features of Jesus’ authoritative life involves how he lives under authority. We find this dynamic in play in Luke 2, where Jesus’ parents dedicate him as a baby in… Read more

February 5, 2020

Jared Kushner made guest appearances on TV news shows to promote and defend the Trump Administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. Many observers welcome Kushner’s stated desire for peace and stability for Israel and the Palestinians, along with his aspiration for economic viability and eventual statehood for the Palestinians alongside Israel as a sovereign state. Commentators have also been impressed with Kushner’s ability to articulate the Trump Administration’s peace plan. Still, his disparaging remarks about the Palestinians suggest… Read more

February 2, 2020

Usually, a baby dedication is sweet, uneventful, and yet memorable for the family and close friends. The worst thing that can happen at a baby dedication or baptism is that the infant may start to cry. Based on what occurs at Jesus’ dedication in the Temple recorded in Luke 2, memorable is correct, but certainly not uneventful or sweet. This event recorded in Luke 2 stands at a crossroad in the church calendar, as it marks the first recorded instance… Read more

January 31, 2020

It is so easy to get caught up in the moment as Jesus works his glorious wonders in our midst and we fail to see his hour of glory. Take for example Jesus’ miraculous turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana in Galilee discussed in the last entry. Even though his hour has not yet come (John 2:4), Jesus is the life of the party as he saves the wedding day, and possibly the marriage. As great… Read more

January 26, 2020

One of the main events in Jesus’ life that the church celebrates during Epiphany-tide is the miraculous sign of water being turned into wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee. The event is recorded in John 2:1-11. It is the first of the recorded signs in this gospel. The story goes that a major mishap occurs at a wedding that Jesus, his family, and disciples attend. They have run out of wine! For some of us, that may be… Read more

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