Tag Archives: Discipleship

05May/24

That Your Joy May Be Complete

So, what God is saying is that our Joy will attain the purpose that God has intended for us, if – and when – we love one another. It’s a very simple commandment, but it is not always easy to implement.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus had even told his disciples to “Love their enemies,” and to “Pray for those that persecute you.” Very simple commandments, but once again, not at all easy to implement. Love God, Love your neighbor, Love one another, Love even your enemies. Jesus would not have told us – his disciples – to love our enemies unless he knew that the command to love those who didn’t love us would bring us joy.

14Apr/24

Children of God

Our New Testament reading today begins with the words, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” Through our baptism, we have been made a part of a heavenly family: we have been adopted into the family of God. And, as Children of God, we have now inherited all the benefits that are due to those who look to God as a parent, and Christ as a brother. We are no longer just Americans, or Chinese, Brazilian or Latvian, German or Canadian. We are first, and foremost, citizens of the New Jerusalem, citizens of heaven, the Holy City of God. We are children of a family that transcends time and space, race and ethnicity, boundaries and borders.

14Mar/24

For God So Loved

You may see the Rose colored stole this morning. Rather than wearing the typical Lenten purple, this Sunday, called “Laetare” Sunday, we wear a Rose colored stole. This Sunday is supposed to give us a moment when we can step back a bit from our Lenten disciplines and live in the joy of our salvation. The Latin word “Laetare” means “Rejoice!” 

The Gospel this morning gives us the reason for our rejoicing. Today we read the much quoted line in scripture that says, “God so loved the world that he sent his only son that people might not perish, but have everlasting life.”

25Feb/24

Get Behind Me

Several years ago, the editor in chief of Christianity Today recounted several conversations that he had had with pastors in his denomination. The pastors told him that when they preached from the Sermon on the Mount – you know, things like “Blessed are the meek,” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” or especially, “Turn the other cheek.” When they preached from the Sermon on the Mount, people would come up to them afterwards and say, “Where did you get those liberal talking points?” But when the pastors would say, “I was literally just quoting the words of Jesus,” the people would not say, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize that.” Instead, they would say something to the effect of, “Okay, but that won’t work anymore. That’s weak.”

This is essentially what Peter did with Jesus in today’s Gospel. Peter, and most other people of his time hated the Roman oppressors in their land, and they were expecting a messiah that would come in with a mighty fist and power unseen before, and wipe out the enemies of Israel.

21Jan/24

Tickled Pink

Over the centuries, several people have done the exact same thing as what Paul was suggesting, selling their possessions and camping out on a mountain top, waiting for the second coming of Jesus. These people made a decision that was guided by some form of hope, even within a life that is filled with daily responsibilities and duties. Partly because they saw it as a salvation from their present struggles. For them, future hope bested their present reality. And because of that, their hope came with a sense of urgency.