Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jesus Calls Us

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.". Mark 1:14-15

Using the words of Jesus, Mark asked his readers to believe Four impossible things. 

Number one - Jesus Christ was the Son of God.  Mark claims that the divine creator of the universe came down from heaven, took human form, and dwelt among us – touching the world in a totally new and profound way.   That Jesus Christ lived, not only 2000 years ago, but he also lives today.

Number two -  He asks you to believe that the time has come – Not a particular day or minute or year – but God’s time – Kairos.  The Kingdom of God is at hand – not in some far distant future – but here, now, on earth, all around us.  And the kingdom of God is found manifest in every person who, for the sake of God, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, shelters the homeless, visits those who are sick or in prison and comforts those who mourn. 

Number Three   You have to believe is that Jesus is calling you to follow him – in whatever capacity is right for you.  Yes, you have to believe that Jesus wants you – regardless of who you are or what you have done.  He calls each and every one of us, both individually and collectively.  He has chosen each of us:

Number Four - Mark calls you to believe is that if you follow Jesus, you can make a difference in this Kingdom of God on earth.  He asks you to believe, that regardless of who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done…  Regardless of how smart you are or what skills you do or don’t possess, God can and will use you to make a difference to and in the world. 

Are you ready to take up this journey into the unique adventures that God has in store for you?  I say, "Lord, bring it on!"

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

They have no wine

The steward called the bridegroom and said, "Everyone serves the good wine first... but you have kept the good wine until now..."  Jesus did this, his first sign in Cana of Galilee.  John 2:9-11

I love this reading.  I connect with it on a number of levels, but one thing stood out this morning when I read the passage.  Jesus never did anything half-way.  He didn't make just a little wine, but had six stone jars filled - each holding 20 to 30 gallons.  That's a lot of wine - 120-180 gallons of wine,   This party could go on for days.  The other thing was the quality of the wine - it wasn't just wine, it was very good wine.  The steward was appalled that it had been saved for last when people were drunk and couldn't appreciate it.  Jesus shows an extravagance in providing for this couple whose party was about to come to an abrupt end.

Likewise our God is an extravagant God who delights in his creation and in those whom he has made.  He delights in providing for his children and in showing them mercy.  I occasionally thank God for a parking space or a green light and I remember a seminary professor who did not believe in "the God of the parking space."  I don't want to belittle God, or make us seem like puppets where every action is controlled by God.  That's not the way life is.  But occasionally, when something breaks your way, it doesn't hurt to remember that if God clothes the birds of the air (Luke 12:24), then He cares about the details of your life, too. 

Most loving Father, I give you thanks for the small ways you enter into my life.  Help me remember your loving presence in those times when life is tough, when things don't always go right.  The pat on the shoulder, the green light, the sudden awareness of time or place are daily reminders of your love.  Grant us the grace to be a blessing to others so that they, too, may become aware of Your presence in their life.  Amen.   

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Epiphany - Wise men seek Him

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, ,"  Matthew 2:1-2

Magi - wise men - astronomers - who were these men who came from the East?  And why did they care about this baby born in Judea?  Mystery surrounds this little tidbit of Jesus' life that appears only in the gospel of Matthew.  We don't even know how many there were, scripture doesn't say., only that there were three gifts given.

There is a reason for the saying, "wise men seek him, fools fear him."  And that might be the point of this passage of the gospel.  We are wise when we go out of our way to seek Jesus - for He is the one who can bring peace to our soul, and true meaning to our life.

Because God chose for Jesus to live life as a common man, He understands the trials and tribulations of the common person, the struggles we face every day.  Because Jesus lived as one of us, we can take our problems to Him and He will understand.

The Magi recognized that this child was special and they went out of their way to find him.  We are also called to go out of our way to find Jesus.  In one of my favorite cartoons, Family Circus, Billy is praying in church, he has his eyes closed and is picturing God on his majestic throne in heaven.  The next panel shows Billy kneeling at his bedside picturing Jesus as a baby in the manger, and Billy says, "It's a lot easier to pray to Baby Jesus that to God."  It is okay to see Jesus in whatever form is easiest for us to relate to; for me it's the teacher with dusty feet walking the road, touching the people and listening.

Lord Jesus come, fill our hearts and listen to our ramblings, for you are the one who cares.  Amen.