Fare thee well! Now bear with me on this. I’m not going anywhere other than to a point, to a literary one that is, a journey of a discussion about today’s gospel selection in Matthew 28: 16-20. In this brief selection of verses we have Jesus saying “good-bye” along with a crucial instruction. Some of the eleven disciples didn’t believe that it was Jesus who was speaking. Apparently, they couldn’t get over the ongoing, miraculous appearance of their leader whom they thought was dead and buried. Incredulity notwithstanding, those eleven disciples witnessed either the last or near the last time Jesus would speak on earthRead More →

Today, the proverbial rubber meets the road. We’re talkin’ spirit. The Spirit. The Holy Spirit. This is a crucial topic because God is spirit; each of us created in God’s image means that we also have a spirit and as such we are extensions of God’s presence. Jesus promised that, after he left, he would send the energetic, marvelous Spirit of God. Why is the Holy Spirit sent to us? Perhaps it is because Jesus didn’t want us to be left alone. Jesus also didn’t want us to be without power insofar as we are agents of God’s transforming presence. God accomplishes worldly tasks throughRead More →

God’s promises are great. As an example, read this biblical promise from the book of 1Peter that will be the focus of today’s message:   “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10). This aforementioned verse is deeply reassuring in that it reminds us of God’s love, mercy and grace. We can offer a succinct interpretation like this: When things go really, really bad, we can count on God’s Iron-clad promises. Now mind you, we sometimes do notRead More →

The Apostle Paul was a neat guy. Aside from his saintly spiritual status, the man did some bold things that can continue inspiring us today. Case in point is today’s episode from Acts 17:22-31 wherein Paul goes to the heart of ancient intellectualism and makes a clever appeal. The dominant religion in the Roman areas was what is often referred to pejoratively as polytheistic paganism. This ingrained worldview had been dominant for millennia prior to Paul. Significant indeed was Paul’s challenge of the Greco-Roman statues, icons, and the complex mythical universe within which people lived and breathed. And to top it all off, Paul spokeRead More →

Religious people live in a world of eternal possibilities. What drives this? For one, the all-encompassing claims people find in sacred texts gain a life of their own. The Bible is full of beliefs originating from the ancient world where they were first thought-of / inspired / spoken by a prophet, apostle or even Jesus. These various beliefs were listened to, interpreted, eventually written, passed down, reinterpreted, and cherished by subsequent generations of believers over the course of almost two-thousand years. And here we find them today, in our neatly-bound modern Bibles subject to our own interpretations, biases, and prejudices. Consider today’s lectionary selection fromRead More →

Here we are two weeks out of Easter. As time passes, we may face an increasing struggle to maintain our spiritual momentum. Nonetheless, our lectionary scripture selections remind us that God’s message continues, along with Jesus’ enlivening presence. In Luke 24:13-35 we have the story of the post-resurrection Jesus walking alongside two of his disciples, who at first didn’t know it was their Lord accompanying them. Only later, during a meal with these and other followers did Jesus reveal himself. Aside from this evidence of Jesus rising from the dead, a lesson here is that we are called to share our faith testimony with allRead More →

In Easter’s wake we visit the Apostle Peter attesting to the importance of Jesus. Peter spoke to a group of likely critics, yet he reached out to those able to hear, the true “Israelites” as he referred to them. Nonetheless, Peter placed guilt for Jesus’ crucifixion upon his fellow Jews. Such blame is an ongoing controversy because of the implications and ramifications of anti-Semitism. Many scholars emphasize how the Romans who occupied Judea in the first century were ultimately responsible for Jesus’ death. Whatever is the case, there seems to be sufficient culpability among the various authorities and powers in ancient Jerusalem. Now, brace yourselfRead More →

God bless you on this wonderful morning. Welcome to the most joyous of all Christian holidays—Easter! We celebrate with all of you this pinnacle day of the Christian calendar. Today, we extol life over death and hope over despair. Jesus’ triumph over the grave demonstrates how love and light crush hate and darkness. The good news is that God’s message lives fully within us. Jesus’ flesh and blood have long since vanished but his principles remain alive as ever. Indeed, the Christ (literally “the anointed one”) reigns supreme as a messenger of God’s salvation. Easter reminds us that death is not the final word forRead More →

We emphasize Jesus’ final week on earth, the beginning of which is heralded by Palm Sunday, a time of great celebration before the typically dour Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Cultivate joy as we welcome Jesus. Palm Sunday marks the commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus knew that his entrance would be the last time entering the capital city before his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus’ highly public entrance into Jerusalem encouraged his supporters, who recognized in Jesus a man of promise and hope. The word on the street was that the crowds who adored Jesus knew him as the populist prophet from NazarethRead More →

The context of today’s message from John 9:1-41 involves Jesus healing a blind man in an unusual manner. What makes the episode one of the strangest in scripture is how Jesus accomplished the healing. Jesus spat on the ground and made a paste of saliva and dirt, creating some sort of divine mud. Jesus then rubbed the concoction into the blind man’s eyes. Once the blind man followed Jesus’ instruction to go wash in Jerusalem’s Pool of Siloam his sight was miraculously restored. Just when you’d think that this wonderful feat would be praised, it all comes crashing down. The blind man was interrogated andRead More →