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 →

The stakes are high because today’s lectionary theme is that of life from death, of the triumph of God’s spirit over desolation and destruction. From Ezekiel to Romans and on into John’s gospel we explore the pervasive power and promise of spirituality. Do you feel that you are a spiritual person? This is more than a casual question. The scripture selections elevate spirituality as the core of our Christian faith and we must not ignore the very essence of God. Ezekiel’s prose about dry bones coming to life joins with Paul’s talk about spiritual vitality to form a dynamic, parallel commentary to the gospel readingRead More →

Today’s message from John’s gospel illustrates Jesus’ boldness in speaking with a Samaritan woman. The context of this was Jesus’ visit to Sychar, a town north in Samaria. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat next to a well and spoke with the Samaritan woman who had come to obtain water. To fully appreciate this situation you have to understand the in general, Jews hated Samaritans. The animosity goes all the way back to when the Assyrians invaded Israel in about 721 B.C.  The result of the invasion was that the local Jewish inhabitants had intermarried with the invaders and, according to popular opinion, polluted theRead More →

Everybody who reads this has been born. Sure, we can playfully call attention to the obvious. But the next topic, spiritual birth, isn’t as obvious. John’s Gospel reveals a great story about Jesus meeting a man named Nicodemus, someone described as “a leader of the Jews” (John 3:1). Jesus spoke with Nicodemus about spiritual birth, and how it is God’s plan for us to receive a second, spiritual birth via God’s Spirit. Nicodemus didn’t get it at first because he was not able to see beyond the literal physical birth. However, we can grasp what Jesus meant if we can appreciate the power of hisRead More →

Today is Transfiguration Sunday, a time when we consider Jesus’ true nature and learn about how we can also be transformed by God. If you somehow feel stuck in the spiritual doldrums, this story may light up your day with faith vitality. The story begins with Jesus trekking with three of his followers who are also, presumably, his closest friends (Peter, James and John). The four of these guys were in for a hike up a mountain whose location and name are lost to us today. Jesus had taken trips on, around and on top of all sorts of terrain, and yet these three apostlesRead More →

Today’s message arises from Matthew chapter four, where we find Jesus in the early stages of his public ministry. John the Baptist had been arrested and quickly fades from the gospel story. Meanwhile, Jesus begins to wander and proclaim a powerful message as he builds God’s kingdom. The distinctiveness of Jesus’ message centers around the concept of the kingdom of heaven, a realm of both present reality and future possibility. Jesus’ use of the kingdom of heaven terminology becomes a centerpiece of his distinctive message. The kingdom of heaven is entered through repentance, that act of turning from sin and turning to God. The repentanceRead More →