Naboth, Simon, and Paul. Three personalities different stories. Intrigue. Treachery. Abuse of Power. Failure to recognize the need for forgiveness. The Faith of Christ. The Faith in Christ. Crucified selves.
Take some time to read the texts for Sunday. What strikes you about the lead characters? What kinds of damage is done by power?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Sunday Pastor Todd noted that at Babel God scattered and in Jesus he gathers. We battle our own culture with its inherent segregating of people – ethnically, socially, economically, along the lines of success and failure. We long for something new.
Our texts for this week describe occasions where something is new – something constructive. Skeptics express a wariness that anything can bring about the kind of radical new-ness Jesus lays claim to. Cynics distrust any assertion offering a way forward in virtue that does not have a material expression.
The passage from Acts notes a material shift in the way in which Jews and Gentiles related to one another in Jesus. No longer at odds because of the differing ethic and cultural distinctions, Peter relayed the very way God had prompted repentance in him – a change of mind that produced a material difference in how he would engage people different than himself.
The Gospel passage considers the new-ness brought by Jesus to constitute a new way of being with
others – love for one another. More than just a "principled approach" which often remains that, just a principle. Jesus indicates the material shift would be evident and apparent by those who noted the differing way in which those who followed him would relate to others.
Finally, the Revelation passage once again portrays the theme of new-ness with the coming "new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem." Those aspects of the material creation that were once at bay would be brought together where John from Patmos describes the dwelling of God would be with people. This new constructive way for people to be together rests on the reconciling work of Jesus, the Christ. He brings those which have been at odds together. Here the vision is one wherein the once far off God is now the very near God who dwells with people. The result is a new-ness that many long for today.
We may present to them this new-ness with the hope we have in the final fulfillment of that picture with the second Advent of Jesus. Remember, we continue to celebrate the realities of the Resurrection by living into these new constructive ways of being people made in the image of God who live reconciled lives in love with others.
Our Scriptures for the week prompt us to consider God revealing himself to people. Isaiah, Peter, and Paul evidence a marked difference in the aftermath of an encounter with God. In each instance there was a recognition of both personal inadequacy and divine abundance. The lives of each were marked by speaking faithfully about the goodness of God toward people – yes, even Isaiah.
What are your thoughts after reading the Scriptures for the week? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Keep an eye on the local weather stations for information regarding Sunday activities. While we did not get what was projected for our area, our parking lot becomes quite treacherous as access to it is elevated at nearly every entry point.
Take a look at our Scriptures for the week. You will find them in the right sidebar. Jeremiah relays the call of God into the mission of God. Through his words he will challenge the way people claiming the way of God were indeed living out that way. Some of the adjectives used to describe what would come conjured the image of taking things apart. The last two pointed to planting and building. Once the prophet would reduce the facade of faithfulness to rubble there would be an occasion to take the rudimentary elements from those same people and "re-construct" a people who would live the way of God in faith and faithfulness.
Keeping Jeremiah's call into the mission of God in mind, we may juxtapose the Luke 4 passage where those hearing Jesus challenge as Jeremiah did rejected any intimation of impropriety and faithlessness. Finally, Paul points the Corinthian Christians that their call into the mission of God would require a reconstituted community underscored by the highest expressions of love.
Should access to our buildings be reasonable, don't forget our "Shine Your Light" Children's Event. We will gather at 5:00 p.m. and enjoy our children and a time of fellowship too.
We continue in the period known as "After Epiphany." That is, the Sundays wherein we continue to think about the implications of the coming of Jesus, the Christ. The Incarnation.
Our readings this week include Jesus words in the synagogue. It is the first recorded event in the synagogue after beginning his public ministry. He read from the Isaiah scroll and declared what was announced by the prophet had now been fulfilled. A daring move.
We may want to consider the connections between Jesus declaration of Good News for the poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed as the outworking of the law of love. It is this "law" that should shape Christian communities of faith.
The Apostle Paul uses and analogy for the Christian community – a body. As such the body works in concert recognizing the value of the component parts. There is no place for arrogance. Instead as the body has what it needs to accomplish the living of life, so the Church possesses all it needs through the work of the Spirit to live out the law of love before and with the world.
What are your thoughts regarding the tests? You may find them in the right sidebar. Read along with us. Leave a comment.
Pastor Todd has put together and audio reflection on these texts. You may listen by clicking here.
Sometimes we just cannot contain ourselves. Silence is not an option. Excitement over something good just cannot be contained. Isaiah relays LORD God's rejoicing in his people, the Songwriter leads in lyrics point to the satisfaction people find in LORD God. Wedding guests will be treated to the best wherein the "master of the feast" wonders why the best was saved for last. And, finally, when people come under the Lordship of Jesus, the Christ, they do not withhold such but express the new reality declaring, "Jesus is Lord."
The declaration "Jesus is Lord" holds special import for those living in the land where Ceasar is Lord. What do you hold as Lord of your life? Sometimes the subversive declaration that "Jesus is Lord" is intended to undermine the lordship of anything else, anyone else.
Read the Scriptures. Share your thoughts.
Our passage from Isaiah 43 ties some common themes together. For instance in the opening verse our attention is called to creation and redemption. We cannot deny the relational implications of creation were we to reflect on Genesis 1 and 2 or the reference to new creation when Paul describes the relationship of love in God's grace. Redemption points to the power of God.
George Heider suggests the two prerequisites for hope are God is willing and God is able. In Isaiah there is God's willingness to create a relationship and his power to do so.
Naturally the Songwriter (Psalm 29) pens lyrics emphasizing the power of the LORD stirring within the followers of YHWH a great sense of hope and awe. The people would associate their hope with this kind of strength.
Turning to Luke and Acts we witness the identification with the Kingdom way, YHEW's way, in Jesus baptism by John. The power of new creation is witnessed by those who go to pray with new followers in Acts 8. We cannot downplay the presence of the Spirit of God in both accounts.
What are your thoughts as you read these texts?
This week our Scripture readings include Psalm 93 and Psalm 132:1-12. What images of ruling and reigning emerge from these texts? What promises play a role in Psalm 132?
Our other texts this week include a picture from Revelation 1 (4-8). Lay the images in Revelation alongside the story in John 18 (33-37). What contrasts do you see when thinking of king in the narrative in John over against the depiction of Jesus on the throne in Revelation?
Maybe a good exercise this week would be to consider what notions does the word "king" bring to your mind?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
The Annual Meeting of the BGCO preempted a post on Monday about the Scriptures for the week.
Hannah could well have helped us with Psalm 16. The songwriter offers,
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
Read the texts from 1 Samuel. There is great anguish in Hannah's prayer and great praise in her song. Even more, if we followed the story on we would witness a great story line. A young man whose birth was improbable grows into a voice in the midst of absent words and declares the way of YHWH – even to disobedient kings.
What are your thoughts?