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Showing posts from March, 2015

Maundy Thursday

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While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
On Thursday evening, Christians will gather with Christ at the Last Supper table.  We gather not only as individual congregations, we come as a world-wild community; connected through Jesus even though we are divided by language and even understandings.  There is a holy mystery to communion.  A mystery that even though we are many, we are one; even though we are different in important ways, there is a spirit that connects us.  One of the basic ideas that connect us across denominational and national boundaries i…

Note

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Over the last few months we have journeyed through the beginning of Matthew's gospel.  I find Matthew to be a fascinating gospel.  I appreciate his intensity and his insistence that our choices matter.  I appreciate he is passionate about following Jesus and that makes a claim upon our lives.

However, Matthew can take energy to read and process and reflect upon...especially in a blog format where there is little give and take.  So, I am going to take a break from Matthew for awhile.  I am sure I will pick him up again sometime in the future.  But after Easter, I am going to switch to reflecting a bit on Paul's letter to First Corinthians and also the book, Love Wins by Rob Bell.  In June, I am going to think and write about the blessings of an imperfect life.  And then this fall, the church I serve will embark on Genesis and the beginning of all that is seen and unseen.

I hope these weekly comments on Matthew have been helpful, especially for those in the church I serve when…

Worry

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“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,  Matthew 6:25-28
Remember the above guy?  He was from a series of children's books called, Mr. Men   In the book, he worries about his roof leaking if it rains...and his flowers dying if it doesn't rain...and when someone takes his worry away...he worries that there is nothing to worry about.  We live in a world where there is a constant undercurrent of worry...or fear...and constant anxiety.  So, just having someone, even Jesus say, "Don't…

Looking Deep Within

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Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21
This is another one of those passages that is so much more than good advice.  I think about the things I treasure:  my family, my health, watching a good movie with my family, a bowl of ice cream, my job...and truly those are things that warm the cockles of my heart.  Are any of those things necessarily bad?  I don't think so.  I don't think Jesus is trying to suggest that we need to pray and read the Bible while volunteering to feed the hungry twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  We have sometimes made those activities synonymous with God.  Or perhaps more to the point, we compartmentalize.  Those are the things we do to connect with God...what we do…

What to do Part Three

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And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:16-21
There are moments when reading the beatitudes that it is easy to nod our heads and think, "This just sounds like good advice."  But there is a difference between good advice and good news.  Advice can be "taken into consideration," which usually for me means, I am going…

Entering a new decade

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Last week I turned 40.  I know in the grand scheme of life, this is still fairly young.  In fact, some of you may have items in your house that are 40 years old...I am looking at you polyester leisure suit and lime green blender.  You gotta admit they have withstood the test of time...okay maybe not the leisure suit.
Birthdays are moments for looking back.  I am nearing the halfway point in life.  That does not frighten me.  There are a few moments I wish I had a rewind button.  But for the most part, I am grateful that the experiences - good and bad - have made me who I am.  It is okay to be where you are in life, regardless of what others say.

Not to mention 40 is a biblical number.  Noah was in the ark for forty days.  Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days.  The People of God in Exodus wandered around for forty years.  All of this tells me...it is going to be a rainy, hungry, and wandering year.  No wait!  It tells me there are possibilities for connect with God in real ways…

What to do Part Two

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And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  Matthew 6:5-8
This is one of the teachings that comes a little too close for comfort.  I pray aloud...in public...all the time.  Do I love to pray?  Sure.  There is a peacefulness, joy, and power that I sense when I try to give voice to what is in my heart and what I think is in the hearts of those listening.  Are my prayers too long?  Perhaps.  Prayer can become like a checklist in my mind and make sure I …