In Luke’s Gospel, many of Jesus’ encounters with people are described in terms of whether or not they have faith. Yet this week’s story of the widow of Nain stands in contrast: the person in need never asks for help.
Matt talks to Jennifer Morrow, pastor of Rowayton United Methodist Church in Rowayton, Connecticut, and Timothy Ross, pastor of Hopwood Christian Church in Johnson City, Tennessee, about their weekly sermon collaboration, editing each other’s work, and listening for God’s movement in each other’s congregation.
Lutherans are trained to hear the scriptures as proclaiming either law or gospel. By "law" they mean not passages from the Old Testament but all of the Bible's bad news: the sins we commit, the misery we experience, the sorrows we inflict on one another, the death we anticipate, the distance from God that diminishes our lives. By "gospel" they mean not the final reading on Sunday morning but the good news of the mercy given by a loving God, wherever in the Bible it is proclaimed.
Although Jesus is called teacher in the Gospel of Mark, that Gospel includes little of the teachings of Jesus. His parables confound his listeners rather than leading to greater understanding. Jesus’ teaching in Mark is performative, says Brian Blount; Jesus taught by the way he lived. He doesn’t teach love as a concept, he acts it out by touching lepers and allowing diseased people to touch him, engaging women as equals, associating with the marginalized, and breaking laws that don’t promote human well-being. If we want to teach the reign of God as Jesus taught it, then we need to craft a curriculum that does more than inform (Interpretation, April).