Much is made in our time of creativity, imagination, and vision. Some lament that we have lost these qualities as a civilization; others search and find pockets of each like a light in the dark night.
Monday lectionary email, archived here on Friday.
The invitation follow me is a common refrain in the ministry of Jesus. In our Gospel text for this week, the call to follow is intensified. Jesus has now “set his face toward Jerusalem,” and his response to someone who wants to follow him is an extreme one.
Transformation often has a price. There is a cost to freedom, even freedom from demons.
Growing up it was in the kitchen every Sunday where I would witness the most frenetic, clamorous work of our church community.
This election season, we've seen a lot of hatred and inhospitality directed toward Muslims and toward migrants. There is talk of building walls instead of bridges, a focus on fueling the politics of fear instead of concern for human need. In 1 Kings 8 we see an alternative.
The Gospel of John addresses a community facing trouble because of its faith in Jesus. Its original readers needed to hear a message of affirmation. No wonder Jesus says "I will not leave you orphaned" and promises the disciples peace.
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.
It is striking that the psalm appointed as the response to the reading from Acts 16 is appointed also for the morning of Christmas Day. One of the gifts of the lectionary is that a biblical text wears different vestments depending on when it is shows up for Christian worship. Thus those preparing to preach need to attend not only to biblical commentaries but also to liturgical unfolding of scripture and theology in the assembly.
Go to Google Images and look at some depictions of the ascension. This makes clear how difficult a festival this is for contemporary believers to celebrate.