Steve Pankey is the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He blogs at Draughting Theology, part of the CCblogs network.
I received word of the Marshall County High School shooting while reading a 900-year-old prayer for peace.
One of the key stops on the Romans Road to salvation is Romans 3:23. Stop me if you’ve heard it from an evangelical friend of yours—“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Or, perhaps you haven’t walked that path before; maybe you’ve spent your whole life in mainline Protestantism. If that’s the case, then you are likely familiar with the idea of corporate confession.
There are very few idiomatic tropes that carry meaning across generations, let alone thousands of years. Mental Floss generates thousands of clicks by giving readers insights into how words and phrases have changed over the years. There are, however, a few images that carry weight over centuries, one of which we hear from the lips of Legion in the Gospel lesson for Sunday. Keenly aware of the power of Jesus, the demons “begged him not to order them to go back to the abyss,” Luke tells us. While this fear is from the demons in this story, there seems to be something universal about their fear.
John’s Gospel message can be summed up in several different ways. For many, the heart of the Johannine message is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that any who believe in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” That’s a good one, and so is the very next one, “God did not send his son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” There are also the seven “I am” statements in which Jesus not-so-subtly declares himself by the unspeakable name of God.
One of the clichés I found myself saying more than once during our children’s sermon program this Easter is that Jesus being resurrected from the dead changed everything. As I said it, I imagined a child asking me a classic children question, “How did Jesus coming back to life change things?” How, indeed.
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