Showing posts from December, 2012

Exit Ramps

So, I know Robert Frost's poem about 'taking the path less traveled' is pretty ubiquitous to the point of being overused, but I still like the poem and the sentiment.  And it actually describes where I am at right now.  I started in December fully intent on doing a running commentary on the gospel of Luke.  I am preaching on Luke in worship the first half of 2013 and I like that kind of consistency.
However, starting Sunday January 6th, I am also going to be running a morning bible study at church before worship on the prophet Isaiah.  This has produced a bit of a pull within me.  I love Luke's concern for the poor and that Jesus is so down to earth in Luke and had wanted to share that with you.  But the more I read Isaiah, I also wanted to share my thoughts on that somewhere, somehow with others
And so, I feel a bit like the person in Frost's poem - two roads.  One leads to Luke, the path I promised a month ago.  One leads to Isaiah, a change of plans from what I…

What does fear have to do with Christmas?

Click here to read Luke 1:26-45
Mary's response to Gabriel's greeting in the above passage is to be "troubled" or "fear".  So often during Christmas, the word "fear" doesn't always sink in.  We get too wrapped up thinking this season is all about being silent and holy, and we don't think there is room in either of those two words for 'fear'...or at least we don't know how to make the those words fit together.  Or we think Christmas is about holly and jolly...again not words we associate with fear.
Yet, Mary is not the only one to fear.  Zechariah earlier in chapter one is unsure about what to make of Gabriel saying Zechariah and Elizabeth are going to have a son who will prepare the way for Jesus.  And of course the shepherds quake and are 'sore afraid'.  Not to mention what Joseph or Mary must have felt on the night when Jesus was born two thousand years ago.
My earliest fear as a child was of the dark, which is natura…
Click here to read Luke 1:5-25
After an introduction of inviting all the readers to be 'Theophilus" or a lover of God, Luke turns to two less than well known characters in scripture, Zechariah and Elizabeth, aka John the Baptizer's parents.  While many know John, and we will hear more from him in chapter 3, Luke is the only Gospel to record anything about John's lineage and that he did not just drop from the sky into the wilderness (Although it may feel that way when we hear more about John in Luke 3)
From this passage we know a few things: Zechariah is a priest, both he and Elizabeth are getting up there in age, and they have not had a child, specifically a son. In Jesus' time, this was a bit of a scandal.  To not have a child was considered by some a sign of God's displeasure with you.  There was tension here with Zechariah being a priest and yet not having a child.  So, Luke's set up already has some literary conflict intertwined. 
As the narrative deep…

Luke 1

Click Here to Read Luke 1:1-4
Luke begins his Gospel with the goal to write an orderly account of the life of Jesus. Of course, one person's order is another person's chaos.  What makes sense to one person is completely random to another person. Over the next few months, we are going to walk through the Gospel of Luke to see if we can sense an order to the way he tells the Good News of Jesus Christ.  
In the brief passage above, Luke has two very interesting comments.  First he acknowledges there are other accounts of Jesus' life.  There are three others in the New Testament: Mark, Matthew, and John.  Of course there are other gospels and accounts of the good news...but that is for another post.
Mark, scholars think, is the earliest is also the shortest.  Mark is often said to have been most interested in Jesus' death and resurrection (or what is called the "Passion").  And so the first part of Mark's Gospel moves like the bus in the movie, Sp…

The Search for Meaning

The other morning as I was about to pour myself a bowl of Cheerios when the side of the box caught my eye.  It seems Cheerios has set up a Facebook page where you can share with the world what Cheerios means to you.  Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bowl of Cheerios as much as the next person.  But to be honest, what Cheerios really means to me is breakfast and sometimes lunch...and that is about it.  
Now, I know there has been a shift in advertising over the last several years.  Gone are the days of dancing cereal boxes on t.v.  Gone are the days when my laundry detergent would get my clothes 50% whiter and brighter...although I doubt anyone ever compared.  Gone are the days when we would get 50% more free...there is still a bottom line after all.  Today, commercials want us to buy something because it is meaningful to us or offers us a sense of identity.  I am not just buying Cheerios in the end...I can be part of the 850,820 people who "liked" Cheerios.  
Now, don…