Showing posts from November, 2012

Reflections on the Gospel – Luke 21:25-36

Read the text here: Luke 21:25-36 Hope: Waiting and Watching Patience!   How are you with patience? Do you mind waiting for things that you want and enjoy?   How long can you wait?   It seems as though we Americans in particular do not deal well with waiting.   We are an instant gratification people.   We want what we want now!   So for some of us waiting in line at a store or at the movies, or waiting at the doctor’s office, or sitting in traffic can be a very, very stressful experience.   We want to get on with it already! We want to get into the future, and consequently many of us are very impatient with the present. The result of this is that we end up missing the present.   We live in the future, never the present.   The present becomes then only a path to the future that is always in the process of becoming, but we never quite get there.   As we wait impatiently and anxiously for the future, we completely miss the present. This tendency to live in the future is not

Reflections on the texts for Reign of Christ

Read the text here: Revelation 1:4-8 Read the Gospel text here: St. John 18 & 19 Who is Lord? In many ways our festival today – The Reign of Christ the King – is a little antiquated.   There was an intense discussion on the ELCA clergy Facebook page about whether or not we ought to even continue to celebrate this festival, as for most of us the whole idea of Kingship is something from the deep historical past and not really a part of our experience.   Quite frankly, even if you look around the world at the various Kings and Queens who continue to rule in some way, none of them holds the kind of absolute power which was held by (for example) the Roman Emperor during the time of Jesus.   When Pilate says to Jesus, “Do you not know that I have the power to release you, and power to crucify you,” this was true according to the political structure at the time.   Pilate acted on behalf of the Emperor and his word was consequently absolute, and since Jesus was no

Reflections from the Pastor – Mark 13: “The Little Apocalypse”

The the text of the Gospel here: Mark 13:1-8 God’s Revelation: Jesus When you think of the 2 nd coming of Jesus – “The Apocalypse” – what imagines come to mind?   Are they images of death, and terror and destruction?   Does thinking about this provoke fear, or confidence?   Or do you just try not to think about it?   The prevailing popular attitude about the “last days” or Jesus 2 nd coming seems to be death and complete destruction.   Just think of any number of movies or books which have the end of the world as its setting – “Cloud Atlas,” “The Book of Eli,” even “WALL-E.”   Death, destruction, terror, fear, suffering – these are all the impression many of us have of the coming apocalypse.   And to this we add (taken out of context from the book of Revelation) images of judgment and the (completely unbiblical, but yet very popular) belief in a “rapture” and what we end up with is something that is indeed very terrifying.   But the central question that all of this rais

Reflections from the Pastor on Ruth – Part II:

How Big Is A Corner? Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you!   Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God…   Ruth 1:16 And with these words Ruth commits herself to her mother-in-law as they travel, poor and destitute to Bethlehem, leaving the loss, sorrow and misery they experienced in Moab behind.   Naomi is bitter but her young former daughter-in-law is determined.   And finally Naomi gives up trying to send Ruth away and they travel together to Bethlehem.   Bethlehem is Naomi’s former home, the home where Naomi grew up, where her family lives, where she has old friends.   But for Ruth, Bethlehem is a foreign place in a foreign country.   Bethlehem is even a potentially hostile place for Ruth, after all Israelites and Moabites don’t like each other very much and the Old Testament recounts much animosity and violence between them.   Nevertheless Ruth is committed to Naomi a

Vote for Biblical Values!

Within the last two weeks I, like many others, have been inundated with calls from “pastors” and others urging me to encourage my congregation to “vote Biblical Values!.”   I have seen posts on social media and even people wearing buttons that say “Vote the Bible” or “Vote for Biblical Values!” And so I would like to say first, that I will be voting biblical values!   And not only that but I encourage all Christians to also keep the values we are taught from scripture in mind as you consider your vote on Tuesday.   But the next question, of course is what does that mean? Exactly what values are we supposed to be voting for?   So, in this little article I will simply lay out I consider to be the most important biblical values which we should consider and for this I am going to the Gospels – in fact I am going to start with the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10: Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said t

Reflections The Feast of All Saints – Ruth and John 11

Read the Ruth text here: Ruth 1:1-18 Read the Gospel text here: John 11 The Silence of God I still remember it like it was yesterday.   I was working as a chaplain at Ohio State University Hospitals and I was on call one evening when the buzzer went off late and I had to report to the ICU.   A young girl had been shot and the family had just been told that there was nothing more that could be done for her.   That is when they called for me.   So, I sat with the family through most of the night.   Sometimes we sat in silence, sometimes we cried, sometimes we talked, sometimes we shared scripture.   Near the end of our time as I got up to go, the older brother, who had sat off by himself quietly throughout most of the time, looked at me and said, “Pastor, where is God?   Why is God so silent when we need him the most?” The story of Ruth, which will be our Old Testament lessons both this week and next, begins with similar devastating loss and grief.   A married couple wit