Two miracles stories and two women lead us to reflect upon the ministry of Jesus Christ, his mission, and his method. On the surface it looks like one of them is healed and the other brought back to life. That’s what it looks like, but what you see is not always what you get. Consistent with Mark’s style, there is commotion here. He seems to like that. There is always a rush and always a crowd. In the midst of that chaos there always stands one who is calm and peaceful. To get beyond the surface of these two incidents, it is helpful to understand that there is problem with English as this Gospel is translated. … more »
The shadow of old Sarah and Abraham falls over the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah. Almost like bookends two faithful couples begin and end the story of Israel bearing witness to the power of God’s favor, love, and grace. We should not reflect upon what God does with Zechariah and Elizabeth without recalling how God acted with Sarah and Abraham to begin restoring creation to its glory.
There was an expectation among the Jews that the prophet Elijah would return to earth to prepare God’s chosen people for the coming of the Messiah. Reflecting upon the prophetic witness of John, Jesus declare that John was that Elijah person they were expecting. … more »
It was December 1, 1955. A 42-year-old black woman boarded a bus to go home after a long day working and shopping. She found a seat at the start of the black section. At the next stop some white people got on so the driver ordered her to get up and give her seat to a white man. Tired and worn out from cleaning up after white people all day, she simply said, “No.” The driver called the police. She was arrested. Word got around quickly, and a local preacher called a meeting. … more »
Genesis 3, 9-15 + Psalm 130 + 2 Corinthians 4, 13 to 5,1 + Mark 3, 20-35
We see something in these verses today that ought to make us sigh with disappointment and frustration. Disappointment as we realize how long this behavior has been going on, and frustration because it continues and because sometimes we get caught up in it ourselves which is not helping move this world toward peace and justice. This is a kind of behavior that to this day continues to tear apart the fabric of unity that is in the mind of God. It is a behavior that borders on the unforgivable and is a sin against the Holy Spirit. … more »
One of the things I miss most in retirement is being a Pastor in the spring when First Communion comes around. As I learned more and more about being a pastor, I took more and more of a roll in the preparation of the children for this Rite of Initiation. That’s what it is, you know, it is one of the steps in Initiation following Baptism which is why the tradition of wearing white stays with us. That white garment of Baptism gets put on again. When I would visit with the children, I would insist that they not think about Holy Communion as something they come to get lest they begin to think it was prize or a reward. … more »