Showing posts from December, 2011

Reflections on the “Name that is above every name…”

Read the text here: Philippians 2:1-13 This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.  This is a festival that does not land on Sunday very often and it provides us with a wonderful opportunity to consider the Holy Name of God and the Holy Name of Jesus – in whom we are baptized and in whom we have our calling, our purpose and our very lives as Christians.  Therefore I would like us to consider two of our lessons and lay them side by side – Psalm 8 and Philippians 2:1-13. O LORD, our lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth. (Psalm 8:1, 9)   Actually the first two words of this Psalm are “O Yahweh, our lord” which immediately reminds us that God has a name and that name is Yahweh.  Out of respect, however, this name is never spoken – especially among the ancient Israelites.  The word “LORD” (spelled with capital letters) is spoken instead, even though the name Yahweh appears in the Hebrew.  Now what does the name itself mean, and what does it t

Reflections on the Christmas Gospel – Luke 2:1-20

Read the Christmas Gospel here: Luke 2:1-20 Fear Not! And there were shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night; and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shown round about them and they were sore afraid.   And the angel said until them, fear not, but behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people!   For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord! Fear not!?!   Are they kidding?   These poor shepherds on night shift have the job of watching and protecting their sheep during the night.   They have to be alert. Being a 1 st century shepherd could be described as hours of boredom, interspersed with moments of terror.   For in the darkness it would be very easy for a predator to sneak up undetected and attack the flock and do significant damage before the shepherd could do anything about it.   And we need to remember that these flocks represented someone’s wealth

Reflections on the texts for Advent IV - "Bread"

Read the Gospel - St. Mark 2:23-28 And Mary said... "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."  (Mary's Song - The Magnificat - Luke 1:46-55) Bread! We begin our reflection on this Gospel passage back in Genesis – Genesis 41.  The Pharaoh of Egypt has been having dreams – s

Reflections on the Gospel – Mark 1:4-15 - Walking Through the Wilderness of this World

Read the text here: Mark 1:4-15 Walking Through the Wilderness of this World Have you ever noticed that a lot of the stories in the bible are set in the wilderness?  Now to be clear, we are talking about wilderness, Middle East style. Not the American wilderness.  As rustic as the American wilderness might be, for the most part the American wilderness is still a fertile place.  The American wilderness is a place of woods and game, vegetation and a myriad of animals; a place, while not without risk, where nevertheless one could survive for a time (if you know how). The wilderness of the bible, to the contrary, is the wilderness of the Middle East and is not such an inviting place.  The wilderness of the bible is a place of complete desolation; a place with little to no vegetation or water, few animals; it is a desert environment with extreme temperatures.  This is a place where one would be hard pressed to survive for any length of time.  But yet, this place figures imp

Reflections on the Gospel - Mark 1:1-8

Read the text here: Mark 1:1-18 Beginnings and Endings The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1) As beginnings go, there is really not much here.   In the Greek there are exactly 5 words that are followed by words of the prophet that introduces John the Baptist and there we are: immersed in the story.   No extended introduction with a genealogy (Matthew), no birth or childhood stories (Matthew & Luke), no extended philosophical musings on the incarnation (John).   Nope, Mark is short and sweet and to the point.   Mark is in a hurry to tell this story; Mark is in a hurry to get to the climax = the Passion.   From this non-beginning beginning Mark jumps from event to event in Jesus’ life and ministry at a fast pace.   There are no extended sermons and there is really no time to catch your breath.   After all, Mark is proclaiming the “Gospel,” the “Good News,” the “Glad Tidings” of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! But that one w