Showing posts from May, 2013

Reflections on the text – I Kings 18 - The Contest with the Priests of Baal

Read the text here: I Kings 18 Or better than reading - listen to the setting of this text in the magnificent oratorio "Elijah" by Felix Mendelssohn.  This performance is given by students from Boston University.  The other performers are listed with the video.  The section which includes the contest with the priests of Baal begins at 0:34:50 and concludes at 0:55:16 with the aria "Is Not His Word Like  Hammer." "Elijah" - Felix Mendelssohn   Life and Death Perhaps the title is too extreme; perhaps it is too black and white – Life and Death.   Many of us get very uncomfortable when confronted with either/or – black and white statements.   We prefer things to be a bit more nuanced; a bit more grey.   We like to consider options as it regards our spiritual and even our moral life – many of us chafe at the suggestion that there is right or wrong and that there is nothing in between.   And we are very good at creating rationalizations with which we j

Reflections on the Pentecost texts – Genesis 11 and Acts 2

Read the Genesis text here: Genesis 11 Babel Borough or Pentecost People Pentecost: The rush of a mighty wind… doves… the tongues of fire… the courageous preaching… the Gospel proclaimed in many languages… the color red!   These are some of the images that are a part of our Pentecost celebrations.   And to that we in the Wartburg Parish, as well as many other congregations add confirmation… affirmation of baptism… prayer for the Holy Spirit.   Pentecost is a wonderful celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit and the sending forth of Jesus’ disciples of all times and places to bear the Gospel of Christ’s love and unconditional grace to all people.   All of this joy and celebration is wonderful and appropriate, but at the same time we must be careful that it does not obscure the other side of the festival – the dark side. The struggles and the pain that led to this day.   Like the Feast of Easter celebrated outside of the context of Holy Week and Good Friday, it is far too

Reflections on the Text - Revelation 22:12-21

Read the text here: Revelation 22:12-21 The End is the Beginning We have come to the end.   The visions have faded away and we find ourselves in the dark cave in Patmos where John is writing the final words of his letter.   He has taken us on quite an adventure, we have seen fantastical visions but now he returns to the beginning, to where he started and again confronts his readers: Jesus is coming soon!   What difference does that make to you, how you live your lives and how you relate to others?   This prompts another important question: do you believe it?   Do you believe that Jesus is coming soon?   John wrote this sometime around the year AD 100 and we are now in the year AD 2013.   That is almost 2000 years ago and Jesus has not come yet.   At least, not in the way we expect – on the clouds in glory.   But yet, Jesus comes to us each and every day.   One of the points that John makes over and over again in Revelation is that Christ is present with us in the midst o

Reflections on the Text - Revelation 21

Read the text here:  Revelation 21:10-22:5 A Tale of Two Cities What do you think of the city?   For much of human history cities have been played a very important role.   In the world of the Bible, the city is central to a people’s identity and sense of community.   Cities such as Rome and Jerusalem were more than just places where lots of people lived.   They were the seats of power and the homes of Kings and Emperors. Cities accumulated great wealth and drove the economic life of the nations.   In the Bible many of the characters we meet are defined by their home city – David of Bethlehem, for example, who then goes on to establish Jerusalem or Saul, later Paul, of Tarsus, for example.   In Revelation John of Patmos writes to the churches that are located in 7 major cities of Asia Minor.   As we prepare to enter into John’s final vision we need to understand that the city was a central part of life for people living at this time. And so, we have come to