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Showing posts from January, 2012

Expansive

Mark 6:14-44

These two stories usually are not linked together. Usually we deal with Herod's misuse of power as separate from Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. After all, what do they really have to do with each other?
On the surface this first part of the passage has political overtones that remind us of stories we hear today. Here you have Herod throwing his birthday party. In comes his own daughter who dances for him and delights him so much he will give her whatever she wants: a corvette, her own music video, even half of his own power! To be sure, Dr. Spock would not approve of this parenting style. To be sure, I find it a bit disturbing. Herod never comes across great. In Matthew's gospel, Herod is so threatened by Jesus' birth, the Jesus' family has to flee down to Egypt, a la Joseph, because Herod said he would kill all the first born sons, a la Moses right before the Passover.
But lest we think Herod is a one dimensional character, it should be not…

Calm in the midst of a (snow) storm

Mark 4:35-41

After going most of December without snow and even enjoying 50 degree weather the first week of January, Wisconsin has once again realized it is not Florida. Over the past couple of weeks snow has caused me to cancel meetings, nurse sore muscles that I had not used since shoveling last winter, and remember that some drivers treat snow fall like a sort of invincibility shield thinking that the two inches of space is plenty of room to pull into on-coming traffic.

And so when I read about Jesus resting at the back of the boat, I must confess I am a bit jealous. In the midst of life with kids activities, school events, work, cleaning, and did I mention about trying to keep the driveway clean of snow? It is difficult to find rest, especially in the midst of a storm.

The waves crashed in on the boat, the disciples were yelling, there was loud commotion, and Jesus was snoozing in the back of the boat. It is such an odd scene, I can't help but laugh. Either Jesus was really tire…

Seeds

Mark 4:1-20

Quick review of Mark so far...

There is a proclamation of good news... the Heavens are ripped open, Jesus is tempted, and John is arrested. This makes our news today seem down right chipper. But, God is on the loose in our world in such a way that life cannot go back to usual just because the Christmas tree is down and we got our credit card bill in the mail.

Mark continues with stories of healing. Jesus does not begin his ministry with a sermon, but with reaching out in relationships. Something good for me to remember. While it would be a whole different way of being and doing church, I wonder how powerful it would be to gather in people's homes for several Sundays in a row to talk, worship, sing, pray and most importantly nurture relationships with each other? That might challenge our faith in a new, good way.

In chapter 4, we encounter one of the first parables in Mark, that of the worst seed planter in history. The person either does not know what he is doing o…

Healing

Click to read Mark 1:21-45

Mark begins his Gospel, which means Good News, by telling us that the heavens are ripped open, Jesus is tempted in the wilderness and John the Baptizer is arrested. Really? That is suppose to be good news? Yet, as Don Juel points out, when the Heavens are ripped open is because God is on the loose in the world.
After calling Simon, Andrew, James and John to follow him, Jesus begins to heal people. Healing and the church have a strange history. To be sure some of the first hospitals were founded and run by churches, priests were some of the first physicians, but there is also that pesky Exorcist film as well as televangelists claiming to heal people instantly on stage that has driven a wedge of skepticism in people's minds when it comes to religion and healing.
I recently toured a new hospital opening in the city where I live in. I had never seen a surgical room before, but as I glanced in there were computers and pinpoint precision lasers and lots o…