Friday, May 28, 2010

3 in 1

This Sunday (May 30)is Trinity Sunday. The only day of the church when we take time to reflect more on a teaching of the church than on the teaching of Jesus. This doesn't make it less valuable though since the concept of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not the result of some isolated ivory tower dwelling scholars, but resulted from the people of God grappling with their experiences with God and reconciling those experiences to the words of Christ and to God himself. The concept of the Trinity...One God in Three persons as Father, Son and Holy Spirit...helps us realize just how much we don't know about God and that's a great deal.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Get your ears on...

How is it that we each hear them...??? Acts 2:8

Is the miracle of Pentecost the gift of speaking in tongues or is it also the gift of hearing?

So often when we read the Pentecost story all we see is the miracle of tongues, the opening of the disciples of Jesus to speak the Gospel in the many languages that make up human communication. A reversal of the problem that resulted from the Tower of Babel. But I think another miracle took place that day, that of hearing. The many people gathered in Jerusalem for this festival had their ears opened to hear this good news being preached by the followers of Christ. Such was the power of that news that at the end of the day over 3000 were baptized into Christ Jesus.

Jesus came and gave the dumb the ability to speak and the deaf the ability to hear. The Holy Spirit duplicated these miracles that first Pentecost.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"I pray that they may all be one." John 17:21

It is nice to see that Jesus' prayers weren't answered all the time either. When you look around at the church today there doesn't appear to be much in the way of 'oneness'. But then is Jesus talking about 'oneness' in the sense of unity? There seems to be pretty common agreement among Biblical scholars that Jesus is not talking about organizational unity. There are some who are pretty sure that he is not talking about doctrinal or theological unity either. But then if it is not about being part of one big church or resolving all those sticky doctrinal differences, then what is this oneness that Jesus is praying for and does it have any chance to exist at all???

Verses 23 and 26 mention that divine love, 'grace'. This love is witness to the world about God and his work in the world. This love is witness to the church that God is at work among us and in us. So the question is...Is love the oneness that Jesus is praying for? Is he asking that God fill us with his grace in such way that we are gracious people? For grace can cross all boundaries and break down every dividing wall.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Do you really want this????

"Do you want to get well?" (John 5:6) One would think it an odd question for Jesus to ask someone who has spent the whole of their life to this point laying paralyzed and totally dependent on the charity of others. But it is a valid question nonetheless. Maybe this individual didn't really want the healing of Jesus. Maybe they were quite comfortable being a victim. It happens all the time. Every day it seems you meet individuals who are perpetual victims. They know their life could be better, but they can't be bothered to make the changes the necessary so they moan and complain about how bad or sad their life is. Or even easier is that for the most part we all dig ourselves into certain ruts in life. Routines or habits that annoy us about ourselves, but we decide it is too hard to change and so we resign ourselves to staying where we are and the way we are.

Jesus brings change. Jesus calls for change. Jesus is change. If Jesus is in your life then it cannot remain the same and neither can you without denying the reality of God's power and God's grace and God's Spirit at work in you and in your life. Hence the question...Do you want to get well??? Do you really want to change???

Jesus is reminding us that we can't blame other people, circumstances, luck, fate or anything else for what is happening in our life or, more importantly, for our attitudes. We are the ones who decide how much or how little we make use of the both the opportunities and the resources that God has put at our disposal.

And yes...change costs. It takes discipline and commitment and hard work...hmmmm...those all sound like characteristics of being a disciple of Jesus, too.