Showing posts from July, 2015

John #5 – The Tale of Two Disciples: The Encounter at Noon – John 4:5-42

It was a hot and dusty day. Jesus and his disciples were on the road again and, as usual, Jesus walked with a purpose; he knew where he was going.   He was headed to Jerusalem, but this time he had decided to travel right through the heart of Samaria.   The disciples I suspect were probably unhappy and uncomfortable with this trip. There are, after all, other ways to get to Jerusalem without going through Samaria, but Jesus had specifically chosen this route, and here they were near the town of Sychar, right near the Samaritan holy place: Mount Gerizim. It was not easy traveling through Samaria, not only was the terrain rough and mountainous but there was such bitter hatred and animosity between Judeans, like Jesus and the disciples, and Samaritans.   The conflict went back several hundred years.   Samaritans were Hebrews as well, descendants from 10 of the tribes of Israel.   Judeans were descendants from the other two of those tribes. Their principal conflict centered around

John #4 – A Tale of 2 Disciples: The Visitor at Midnight – John 3:1-21

… Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness… The escape from Egypt had been so dramatic and exciting.   Moses driving this disorganized group of former slaves towards the Red Sea – in front of them, leading the way – a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night… And then, on the edge of the shore – Moses lifts his staff and parts the sea… and the people cross on dry land… Then the waters return, drowning the Egyptians while Moses’ sister Mirium (or Mary) sings, dances and leads a celebration. But then the wandering begins.   40 years of wandering in the desert – no food – no water – harsh conditions.   “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food." The people cry.   The atmosphere is poisonous; the relationships are becoming poisoned; the people are poisoning themselves with their complete selfishness - self-centeredness.   Like the serpent in the garden

John Series #3 - "Grace Upon Grace" - The First Sign - The Wedding at Cana - John 2:1-11

Beginning at the end of June, I started a sermon series on the Gospel of John.  While our lectionary provides a chance to experience the narrative of the Synoptic Gospels, John is inserted here and there and we never have that opportunity.  So I will take the next several months to work through John.  My inspiration and principal guide for this series is Karoline Lewis' new commentary on the Gospel of John which has just been released by Augsburg/Fortress.  I attended a workshop that Dr. Lewis conducted and was so taken with John and inspired and excited that it has led to this series.  I will add that Dr. Lewis has very graciously given me some guidance and advice, which has been of great value to me.  I am very grateful to her for that.  Additionally, I decided that the over-riding theme I would lift up was the theme of "Seeing."  "Seeing in the Dark," "I Have Seen the Lord," "Come and See," "Look Up..." and other references appe