Archive for April, 2011

Holy Week

April 18, 2011

How shall we follow Jesus?  Where does Jesus go? Where shall we follow Jesus?

Holy Week begins today.  In Matthew’s telling of the story of Jesus, Jesus is journeying toward Jerusalem.  Jesus arrives and the fateful events that form the center of our faith will play themselves out. The story is filled with human elements.  Triumph is followed by betrayal, desertion, denial, injustice, cruelty, and finally death.  As Matthew tells it, Jesus’ only word from the cross is the cry that God has abandoned him in his great hour of need.

In Jerusalem Jesus experiences what we all experience.  We all know betrayal, desertion, denial, injustice, cruelty.  We may avoid a cross, but death’s prospect confronts us all. So Jesus journeys into all of this.  Wishes he didn’t  have to.  (We know that feeling.)  But he chooses to experience all of human life.

As we follow Jesus, we’ll know all of that as well.  We spend this week focusing our spiritual journey on identifying where all of this happens in our lives.  We do so, so that we can know that Jesus journeys there too.  Even when we come to life’s ending where it may seem to us that God abandons us, Jesus is there, God is there though unseen.  All of this comes of some necessity before the power of God is shown as God gives new life.

May God bless this week and our journey with Jesus.

Come out!

April 11, 2011

Nice weekend with family.

Just thinking about John 10  this weekend.  An intern once gave a great sermon on this story.  She asked where we find ourselves in the story (the raising of Lazarus from the dead.)   Who do we identify with?

We all can identify with Lazarus’ sisters.  We know grief and loss.  We know heartache.  We know how the loss of a loved one makes us wonder why God didn’t do something to keep that person from death.  We know Mary and Martha.

If not Mary and Martha, perhaps we are the crowd.  We stand with those who grieve.  We hover over them in their loss.  We empathize and sympathize, cluck our tongues and try to imagine what they are feeling.

Or perhaps we see ourselves as Jesus.  Not with the same powers, but the same intents.  We weep when a friend dies.  We delay, at times, acknowledging the loss.  But we also want to help.  We want to offer hope, to encourage trust in God, to show what God is up to in the world.

At different times, we may be each of these characters from the story.  But every day we are the one in the tomb.  We are Lazarus.  And every day Jesus calls “Come out. ”  ” Come out.”  We need God’s raising from this life of death, hope in the face of life’s dead ends.  Come out–from the darkness, not of doubt but unbelief.  Come out–from the grave of self-centeredness, greed, and envy.  Come out from the tomb of despair and discouragement.  We can’t raise ourselves, but God speaks into the darkness, into the grave, into the tomb, into the face of death.  “Come out.”

Where do we see Jesus?

April 3, 2011

Four year old and four month old and Papa and Nana in a motel room.  Mom and Dad are off to a concert.  Fun evening for everyone.  Girls asleep when Mom and Dad get back.  Yesssss!  We succeeded. 🙂  Grand-parenting is good!!!!!

GOSPEL–Gospel of John 9–Jesus encounters a man born blind and gives him sight.  Jesus saw (noticed) the blind man.  This is where the story starts–with Jesus noticing, i.e. paying attention.  Did you ever think that Jesus has noticed you?  Jesus sees your blindness.  Do you know what ways you are blind though you have 20/20 vision?  Where are the blind spots in your life, maybe even from birth?  Know this, Jesus touches your life and opens your eyes.  What do you see?  Jesus, I hope.

This is also a story about growth in understanding of who Jesus is.  That growth happens not immediately, but through conflict in which the man is forced to give testimony about his understanding of who Jesus is.  First, for him, Jesus is just a human being.  Then, “a prophet’ –speaks for God.  Then “from God.”  And finally , “Lord.”

When has someone challenged your faith?  Where are you and I in our understanding of  God, of Jesus?  What would our testimony be?