If you were to ask any random person on the street about a prayer that they could recite from memory, the Lord’s Prayer would make the top five. It seems that this is a prayer that everyone, whether they attend church now, or only as a child, has committed to memory. And as is often the case when we have committed words and phrases to rote memory, we often quit reflecting on their meanings and purpose.
See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you toRead More…
“Too many of you are competing to sit at a table that Jesus would have flipped over.” Some random meme Recently, that meme popped up on my Facebook feed, and I hadRead More…
It’s Paul’s approach that I find interesting here as well. He basically tells his listeners that he didn’t come with big, fancy words, but with the basic concept of a crucified Lord. It was the story of a God who humbled himself, and was humiliated by the powers of this world. It was the story of a God who died for those he loved. It was the story of a Christ who presented his weaknesses to the world to show them the strength of his desire to redeem them. And Paul did all of this while he, himself, was afraid, trembling in the fear of his own weaknesses. But that’s what Paul wanted. His approach was to let others see the power of God in his actions, and not in his fancy and persuasive words.
And they took offence at him. His very presence in the synagogue, “pretending” to be a spiritual leader, incited their wrath, and they were scandalized by his presence there as one who would presume to teach them.
They knew him from when he was but a boy, and here he was taking on more authority than he ought to, more than he was allowed to, given his history, given what they knew about him.
And the result, Mark says, is that he did not do many works of power there. Instead, Jesus marveled at their disbelief.
The paralyzed man stood up, picked up his bed, and walked away. And all those present were filled with awe and amazement, and they said, “We have seen strange things today.” After having been told that the people were filled with amazement and awe, and were glorifying God, these people then said what amounts to, “Yup. That was weird.”
Some people attend charismatic or pentecostal churches because they need to see the miraculous to understand a God that provides healing, or understands them deeply, beyond what they share of themselves with the world. Some people attend churches that focus on social justice because they need to see a God that serves up justice and cares for the oppressed. Some attend legalistic churches because they need to experience order and clear cut rules amidst an otherwise chaotic life. And each of these churches provides an aspect of God to the world.
They’ve seen this movie before, and so some of them are thinking, “Great! Jesus is here, he’ll calm the storm and all will be well.”
But Jesus doesn’t calm the storm.
He’s just standing there, telling them not to be afraid, in the midst of all this raging chaos.
Daily Office Readings – Gospel ( Matthew 17:14-21 ) As I read through this morning’s Gospel reading, I was, of course, struck by Jesus rebuking his disciples. They had tried to castRead More…
Daily Office Readings – Gospel ( Matthew 5:27-37 ) As soon as I started reading this Gospel this morning, my mind went back too several youth leaders and pastors I’ve known, andRead More…