Showing posts from September, 2014

Reflections on the text – Matthew 21:23-32

Read the text here:  Matthew 21:23-32 Will You Work? Well, things are beginning to heat up.   Immediately before our passage for today Jesus has entered into Jerusalem in triumph – Hosanna to the Son of David!   He immediately goes to the Temple, enters it and begins to push over tables - …you have made (my house) a den of robbers – Jesus yells at them.   The next day Jesus is confronted by a group of the leaders of the Temple with an obvious question – Who gave you this authority to do these things?   It is of course a trick question.   Jesus cannot answer it without getting deeper into trouble.   If he says God is the source of his authority he would be immediately denounced as a blasphemer; if he names a teacher or a human source for his authority he would be denounced as misguided and dangerous.   So, he turns the question back on his questioners – Where did John the Baptist get his authority?   Wow!   This is an even harder and thornier question.   If the authorities agree th

Reflections on the Feast of St. Matthew - September 20

Read the text here: St. Matthew 9:9-13 Making the Grade   I don’t think I realized how complicated it would be to become a Pastor.   Sometime in 1982 I began to feel a call to become a Pastor.   At the time I was a very active member of the LCMS mission in Caracas, Venezuela.   But after speaking with my Pastor, I began applying to seminary and soon realized that my two degrees in music performance were suspect and might not qualify me to be admitted to seminary.   So I was required to demonstrate proficiency in a wide range of other disciplines before they would accept me – including philosophy and writing.   I had to join an LCA congregation and then apply to the synod committee for professional leadership for approval.   I had to take a battery of psychological and vocational exams.   And once I was accepted and started at seminary I had to maintain my grades, demonstrate that I had the skills to be a pastor, participate in at least one summer unit of Clinical Pastoral Ed

Reflections on the Holy Cross

Read the text here:  I Corinthians 1:18-31 Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross      It was a dark Friday afternoon and the Romans were again proceeding with the execution by crucifixion of 3 men they had determined were a danger to Pax Romana – or the imposed “peace of Rome.” Two of these men were “bandits,” which is the term the Gospels use to refer to those who are insurrectionists or, we might call them, terrorists. The other man was Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet who many had proclaimed as Messiah. Messiah means King to the Romans, so he was to be dispatched for there would be no Kings in Palestine except Caesar! The method of execution to be used would be crucifixion. Now, crucifixion had become a standard and we might even say favorite method of dealing with insurrectionists and troublemakers during the Roman occupation of Palestine. The Romans crucified literally thousands upon thousands over the years of the occupation. One historian – Josephus - recounts that after the sac

Reflections on the text – Genesis 45 - Joseph, Part 2

Read the text here:  Genesis 45:1-15 “I Am Joseph” We have come to the final installment in our summer series on the stories of Genesis.   Last week in the first part of the Joseph story, he heard how Joseph was favored by his father and had developed into something of a brat.   Jacob had shown his favor for Joseph by giving him a special long-sleeved ceremonial robe and Joseph begins to have and share dreams about how one day his brothers and family will all bow down to him.   Well his 10 older brothers (not including the youngest Benjamin who is only a small child) have come to hate Joseph and so out in the fields one day they attack Joseph intending to kill him, but eventually take the opportunity to sell him into slavery to some Ishmaelite traders, who then take Joseph to Egypt and sell him into the household of a high ranking official named Potiphar.   Initially Joseph does well, but he catches the eye of Potiphar’s wife and when he resists her seductions she has him fram