Showing posts from October, 2014

Reflections on the Text – Revelation 7:9-17

Read the text here:  Revelation 7:9-17 Who are These…? It is as if fear had settled like a cloud over the whole world. People who had been so used to living carefree lives now were wracked by fear of a host of terrifying threats.   Perhaps the most prevalent of these threats was pervasive the threat of violence.   The nation as a whole was now threatened from the outside by violence. There was a fear of being overrun by violent outsiders and this fear was now terrifying the population.   In response the government had itself become much more heavy handed, utilizing violence itself more readily in order to respond to any and every perceived threat, no matter how small.   So pervasive was the fear that even individuals had started to respond to the slightest provocation with violence. This led to more vigilante violence and consequently simply heightened and intensified the fear that hung over the whole population.   It is not too surprising that in such an environment crime and c

Reflections on the text – Matthew 22:34-46

Read the text here:  Matthew 22:34-46 The Work of Love Jesus has been on the hot seat from the moment he entered Jerusalem.   It was not so much because of the enthusiastic entrance as what happened next.   Jesus enters the Temple courtyard and creates chaos, turning over tables – “You have turned my father’s house into a den of thieves.”   This does not endear Jesus to the Temple authorities.   After all the tables Jesus turned over were there for a good reason.   People needed to convert their Roman and provincial coins to Temple currency in order to pay various expenses, including purchasing animals for sacrifice.   The folks who are the customers are only trying to be faithful to the expectations of their faith, they are trying to follow the law.   And the vendors? Nowhere does it explicitly say they are gouging their customers.   That is the assumption, I suppose, but it may be unfair.   These men were only trying to make a living so they too could live their lives in a fai

Reflections from the Pastor - Matthew 22:15-21

Read the text here:  Matthew 22:15-22 Render... Our texts for today give us the opportunity to explore 3 stories.   Two of these stories come from our texts for this morning, the final one from our own experience. The first comes from our Isaiah 45 lesson for today and it is the story of a captive people - a people who had not only lost their identity as a community, but who had also lost their hope of ever being able to cast off the Babylonian yoke and return to their land.   To this hopeless people, in the midst of the darkness of their captivity comes a new word from God through the prophet.   And this new word is a word of hope, a word of promise, a word of salvation.   The Lord God of Israel has chosen a deliverer, the Lord God has chosen someone to free the captives - the Lord God has chosen Cyrus, the Persian King, to overcome the Babylonians and set the people of God free from their oppression.   And just who is this Cyrus?   Is he an Israelite?   Is he a man who fears a

Reflections on the Parable – Matthew 22:1-14 - "The Great Banquet"

Read the lesson here:  Matthew 22:1-14 Have I Got A Deal for You? This wonderful parable comes in the middle of Jesus’ contentious debates with the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians and others who are trying to undermine Jesus so they can eliminate this troublemaker once and for all.   But it is not so easy.   Jesus is clever and quick witted and, not only that, but he knows the law backwards and forwards.   Besting Jesus in a debate is not working out so well.   And to make matters worse Jesus has picked up a large crowd of followers who are hanging on every word! This raises the stakes as well and also threatens riot.   So into this highly charged atmosphere Jesus tells a parable about a King who has invited all of the nobility to the wedding feast of his only Son, but those who were invited reject the invitation twice! And the 2 nd time they mistreat the servants, even to the point of killing some of them! So, the King sends retribution against them and sends his servants out to