This is not a unblemished body rising to heaven. This is Jesus in the flesh, God carrying embodiedness through to the end.
John the Baptist's world and ours
Miracles can be hard work.
About that baptism by fire
As a child, I followed the order of worship in the bulletin, mentally checking off each item. My eyes were on the prize.
Pharaoh trembled at the growing Hebrew population; at the thought that these slaves might realize their oppression and realize their power. He demanded that the Egyptians throw all of the Hebrew baby boys into the Nile River. Herod trembled at the report from the eastern scholars of a child who had been born King of the Jews; at the prospect of Jewish rebellion and an end to his tenuous hold on power.
Less than three years ago I was very excited to move out to the country. But less than a year ago we moved back into town. Honestly, it's a little embarrassing. Moving back to town was a good decision on many levels—the right decision for many reasons. Yet this time of year I do miss my three acres. I’ve been thinking lately about what I could call our “failed experiment” but instead choose to name our “country living adventure.”
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In Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable about a barren fig tree. The tree is planted in a vineyard, which sounds weird, but fig trees were often used as trellises in vineyards. The owner is unhappy because the tree is not bearing fruit. “Cut it down,” he says. But the vintner says, “I’ll dig around it, fertilize it. Let’s give it one more year.” And the vast majority of the commentaries and reflections I’ve read about this story say something to the effect of, “See, God is willing to give us sinners one more chance.”
If all it took was a star to compel a person to Bethlehem, the Magi would arrive to see a multitude.