A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Doing Beyond What Is Required: A Lectionary Reflection on Luke 13:10-17

Luke 13:10-17

What must be done on the Sabbath in order to keep from violating it? This is an important question to first century Jews. Exodus 20:8-11 states,
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The Sabbath is a day of rest; no work is to be done. But at some point clarification is necessary. What does it mean to work? Can I draw water from a well? Can I cook? How far can I walk? By Jesus' day the religious leaders had become experts in the Law of Moses defining the boundaries, the parameters for Torah observance. When a faithful Jew wants to know what can and cannot be done on the Sabbath, the religious experts must give guidance because the Law of Moses does not get into specifics.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Isaiah 5:1-7 or Jeremiah 23:23-29

Psalter: Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19 or Psalm 82

Epistle: Hebrews 11:29-12:2

Gospel: Luke 12:49-56
Judge eternal, you love justice and hate oppression; you give peace to those who seek it, and you condemn the rage of violence. Give us courage to take our stand with all victims of bloodshed and greed, and, following your servants and prophets, look to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Amen.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Do Everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus-- Even in Retirement

Two events in the past week and a half have me thinking about what it will mean for me to live my life when I retire. I am not planning to retire anytime soon. I love my vocation as a pastor. I am not one of those persons who dreads the start of each new day. But since I am in my latter half of the fifties, retirement is something I ponder more than I did ten years ago. More on that after I tell of the two events.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 or Genesis 15:1-6

Psalter: Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 or Psalm 33:12-22

Epistle: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
God of Abraham and Jesus, you invite your people to contemplate heavenly things and urge us toward faith in you. May your coming among us find our doors open, our tables set, and all your people ready to greet you. Amen.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Dressed and Ready for Service: A Lectionary Reflection on Luke 12:32-40

Luke 12:32-40

Certain professions require a uniform. The military is the first profession most of us think of, but there are others as well. Some restaurants require servers to wear a company shirt. In a hospital, it is easy to identify nurses by their scrubs and doctors by their long white coats. If TV commercials are to be believed, even the Culligan Man comes to our house dressed and ready for service.

At the beginning of our lesson Jesus tells the disciples "Be dressed and ready for service." The ancient Hebrews would have said "gird up your loins." Darrell Bock states that this command "implies a constant state of readiness that once taken up, is to remain in place." Jesus' words give us instructions on how to watch, how to wait, and how to prepare for his Second Coming.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Hosea 11:1-11 or Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23

Psalter: Psalm 107:1-9, 43 or Psalm 49:1-12

Epistle: Colossians 3:1-11

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
Generous God, in abundance you give us things both spiritual and physical. Help us to hold lightly the fading things of this earth and grasp tightly the lasting things of your kingdom, so that what we are and do and say may be our gifts to you through Christ, who beckons all to seek the things above,
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Some Ponderments on "Love It or Leave It"

We hear these words from time to time, "America: love it or leave it." It sure makes for a rousing, heart-thumping cliche, but what does it really mean to tell someone that? Would the founding fathers, who enshrined the right to free speech in the U.S. Constitution making it the FIRST amendment,* ever say such words to their contemporaries who dissented from them in word and in policy?

Please consider the following: