Showing posts from May, 2014

Reflections on the text for Ascension – Acts 1:6-14

Read the text here: Acts 1:1-14 Endings and Beginnings In the early years of the church through most of history the Feast of the Ascension held as important a place in the lives of worshippers as did Christmas.   In fact, in some ways it was more important.   But falling as it does on the 40 th day after Easter, which is always on a Thursday, means that the day never cycles around to Sunday like most of the rest of our festivals.   So as we have entered into the modern world the Feast of the Ascension has been lost and goes uncelebrated by most Christians, unless it is moved to the 7 th Sunday of Easter. This is a loss because the ancients had it right – Ascension is essential to not only our understanding of our faith, but also to our living as disciples in this world.   For the event of the Ascension is THE pivotal event in the story of Jesus for the church.   For Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, this story was so important that he told it

Reflections on the text: John 14:15-21

Read the text here: John 14:15-21 Come Along Side Every so often in our reading of the Bible we encounter a word that is central to the understanding of a passage, but at the same time if we look beyond the word itself we usually discover that this particular word is one of those words that the translators found difficult, if not impossible to translate.   Sometimes the word is just left in Greek, and you are on your own; at other times the translators will pick one English word from among multiple possible choices and go with that.   The problem with this is that then how we understand that word is limited by the narrow definition of the chosen English word.   This is the situation we find ourselves in this morning with our Gospel text.   Let’s look at verse 16: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.   Another Advocate!   Another?   Well, Jesus is the first Advocate (see below for more about that), so the n

Reflections on the text – Easter 5A – John 14:1-12

Read the text here: John 14:1-12  On the Way One of my favorite movies is the classic Judy Garland film “The Wizard of Oz.”   I'm sure that I have seen this film at least 20 times, and I'm sure that you have also seen this movie at least once no matter how old you are.   You remember the story: A tornado plops Dorothy down in the middle of a strange place called OZ, and in the process she accidently killed the wicked witch of the east and ends up with the precious ruby slippers for which she is then pursued by the profoundly evil Wicked Witch of the west; her major, most important goal thereafter is that she wants to return home to Kansas, which represents life and happiness to her.   But how?   Maybe the Great Wizard of Oz who lives in the Emerald City would help her (there is, by the way, never any question whether he can or not, only whether he will be willing.)   Well then, what is the way to the Emerald City?   "JUST FOLLOW THE YELLOWBRICK RO

Reflections on the Text – Easter IVA – John 10:1-10/Acts 2:42-47

Read the John text here:  John 10:1-10 Read the Acts text here: Acts 2:42-47 Abundant Life: Giving It All Away Jesus says, I came that they (You! We!) may have life, and have it abundantly.   Fantastic!   Wonderful!   What good news!   But… what exactly does it mean?   The word “abundant” means to have a lot of something – “like an abundant harvest of grapes.” Or we talk about someone who has lots of things has having an “abundance” of stuff.   But how can you have abundant life?   The prosperity Gospel folks have latched on to this passage and have interpreted it as meaning that Jesus is saying that God wants us to have lots of stuff, material possessions, wealth, money, fancy cars, big houses.   For them that is what “abundant life” is: a life of comfort and ease and wealth.   But it is hard to square that with the picture of Jesus on the cross – naked, tortured, bleeding, stripped of every worldly possession; or Jesus’ teachings and parables on wealth –