Showing posts from November, 2011

Reflections on the Gospel – Mark 13:24-37

Read the text here: Mark 13:24-37 Keep Awake! Be Prepared! The Lord is coming! These themes of the season of Advent are also themes of this passage in the Gospel of Mark.  Last week we finished our experience of the Gospel of Matthew with the prophecy of the Sheep and the Goats from Matthew 25; this week we begin our year of Mark with a passage from the heart of what is called the “Little Apocalypse” in Mark.  Last week Matthew gives us a rather unambiguous teaching on the Last Judgment and the centrality of Faith in Action; this week Mark gives us a very ambiguous look into the future to the Day of the Lord and what our response is to be.  What in the world is this all about? First, a definition is in order - the word: Apocalypse.  The word itself comes from a Greek word which literally means “lifting the veil” or “revelation.”  The first of these definitions is especially important and relevant for Mark because the climactic event in Mark’s telling of the story of Jesus i

Reflections on the Gospel of Mark

…and just as he was coming up out of the water, her saw the heavens torn apart … (Mk. 1:10) …and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two… (Mk. 15:38) Advent is here and begins this coming weekend, and with Advent comes a shift in the lectionary readings on Sunday morning from the Gospel of Matthew to the Gospel of Mark.   So for Advent 2011 and all of 2012 (to the end of November) our Gospel readings will come primarily from the Gospel of Mark (with a little John thrown in here and there).   Mark is unique in a variety of ways and this year of Mark provides us with important opportunities for growth and understanding.   Mark is considered to be the earliest Gospel of the three synoptic Gospels and was probably written around the time of the Jewish War that eventually culminated in the annihilation of Jerusalem and the complete destruction of the Temple.   This was a very difficult time for Jews and Christians alike living in Israel.   When the dust finally settled the J

Reflections on the Gospel – “The Sheep and the Goats” Matthew 25:31-46

Read the Text Here:  Matthew 25:31-46 Surprise!!! We have come to the last Sunday of the church year and the last Sunday of our year of Matthew.   This Sunday is also celebrated as the Feast of Christ the King or the Feast of the Reign of Christ.   The text is the prophecy of the sheep and the goats and is a judgment prophecy.   The context of this passage is important in that it is contained in the very last teaching discourse that is contained in Matthew.   Immediately following this – in chapter 26 – we move into the passion narrative. This is important to recognize this on a day in which we are celebrating the “Kingship” of Jesus for Kingship looms large in the Gospel of Matthew.   The kings of this world (like Herod in Chapter 2) are enthroned in glory and splendor and have power and authority concentrated in them.   Some of them were considered to be gods.   But Jesus, our King, is enthroned on a cross, wearing a crown of thorns.   Jesus does hold the aut

Reflections on the Parables – Matthew 25:14-30 – The Parable of the Talents

Read the text here: Matthew 25:14-30 End of the Road - Beginning of the Journey Well, we have come to the very last parable of the year! The text for next week is more of a prophecy (the sheep and the goats) than a parable.   But we finish our 6-month look at Jesus’ parables with this Parable of the Talents.   So before we look more closely at this particular parable I want to make a couple observations about parables in general.   1 st – All of the parables are parables of the Kingdom of God, which through Jesus has come into our midst.   The Kingdom of God (or in Matthew the Kingdom of Heaven) is not off in the future – it is now! 2 nd – All of the parables give us a glimpse of who God is and how God chooses to relate to us.   And the words that describe this would include – overflowing love and abundant grace; 3 rd – the parables all call on us to respond to God’s overflowing and sometimes crazy and illogical love and grace by living lives that reflect the K

Relfections on the Parables - Matthew 25:1-13 - The Parable of the Wise & Foolish Maidens

Read the Parable here:  Matthew 25:1-13 Be Prepared! Watch and wait! Be prepared for delay – a long delay! Don’t be caught unprepared! These appear to be the central themes of our Gospel parable for today. The parable of the 10 Bridesmaids is perhaps one of the best known, but also one of the most difficult of all of Jesus’ parables. Perhaps this is because it really takes aim at us modern Christians – right where we are most vulnerable: the pace of life! On the one hand we live in a very fast-paced and impatient world.   We hate waiting; we are uncomfortable with silence. We need to have something going on all of the time. We get impatient with waiting at the doctor’s office or standing in long lines or with an internet connection that isn’t as fast as we would like.   We can hardly wait – we can hardly stand to wait!   But then on the other hand we are procrastinators. I don’t feel like it.   I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll finish that model with my son tomorrow, I