Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lent 2 B - Genesis 17:1-16

Genesis 17:1-16
Ninety-nine is not too old for a new life and a name change, though Abraham might have preferred to be circumcised as an infant. I’m just saying. Of course Abraham wouldn’t be the father of many nations without Sarah and even if Isaac is named for her laughing at the thought of a child in her golden years it should be noted that Abraham laughed out loud at the thought as well. But that’s the way it is when you’ve spent a lifetime waiting for a promise to come true only to be disappointed time and again. And I imagine it became more difficult after Hagar bore Ishmael for then there was no doubt as to who was to blame for Sarah’s barren womb. But somehow through all the years Abraham and Sarah endured the sideways glances and whispered comments for the sake of the promise they barely believed. When the promise came true they were just as surprised as everyone else and we are as blessed by their laughing as their believing for if God allows room for disbelief in the mind of father Abraham and mother Sarah perhaps our believing has room for the doubtful laugh.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lent 1 B - Mark 1:9-15

Mark 1:9-15

When immediately after hearing “You are my Son, the Beloved” you are driven into the wilderness where Satan and the wild beasts hold sway the temptation is to doubt one’s “Beloved” status. Satan doesn’t have to do much more than ask the question in the same way Satan asked the first humans, “Did God really say…?” The question sowed doubt in their minds and it may have in the Beloved’s as well. But where the first humans gave doubt its due, the Beloved let the voice “You are my Son” speak louder than his hunger or the tempter’s deceit or the wild beasts in the wilderness. We are tempted in the same way when we find ourselves driven into the wilderness of circumstances beyond our control or difficulties created by our own design. Doubting our “beloved” status leads us to live in ways that devalue self and others so that we buy the lie and lose the paradise of peace and joy and love. The good news is that Jesus abandoned paradise to live in the wilderness of our world so that in "the kingdom of God has come near" we might repent and believe the Good News. We are loved.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lent 1 B - Psalm 25:1-10

Psalm 25:1-10
“Do not remember the sins of my youth” is the psalmist 's plea to God to not remember the sins the psalmist cannot forget. It is often true for us as well. The sins of the past haunt the present and color the future a darker shade of grey. Even those of us who claim that grace abounds and that God forgives and forgets find ourselves mired in the mud of the past where we willfully stepped off the path of the Lord and rejected the ways that were made known to us. But God, mindful of mercy, is always present to shed light on that which we prefer to hide so that in the confession of regret and guilt and shame God might make “a new beginning from the ashes of our past.” (We Are Baptized in Christ Jesus by John Yilvisaker) When God instructs sinners in the way the first lesson is that whoever we were and whatever we may have done or left undone has been forgotten and no longer defines our present or predicts our future for when we put on Christ we are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lent 1 B - Genesis 9:8-17

Genesis 9:8-17
It is not stated plainly but I think “never again” carries with it a certain amount of regret. Or if not regret at least a determination that extinguishing all life on the planet earth by drowning is not the final solution to the reality of evil. Our time is no more or less evil even if the scripture states that in Noah’s time “the whole earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.” (Genesis 6:11)  Surely there were innocent children in Noah’s age?  And what of the multitude of animals that didn’t win the two by two lottery? The evil of every age has always presented the righteous with a dilemma. Isn’t flooding the earth and killing every living creature on it as evil as whatever prompted such a response? That is why in an equally evil age God remembered the covenant and chose to do the dying himself rather than making the whole world the scapegoat for sin. Not as an excuse for evil but an invitation for the righteous to live in such a way that invites others to climb aboard the ark of salvation that is life in the Lord. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Transfiguartion Year B - 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

2 Corinthians 4:3-6
I think sometimes the minds of unbelievers see the Gospel more clearly than those who have been given the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. Of course they don’t know what they are saying or doing is what the Gospel is all about and in that sense they are near sighted and in need of the Christian lens. It is only because the image of God lived and died in the flesh that you and I dare to believe and proclaim that God is desperately and ultimately in love with the people who inhabit this planet. The god of this world that blinds the minds of unbelievers and believers alike also inhabits human flesh, namely yours and mine. You don’t need to look any farther than the human heart to find the devil inside. (INXS) But the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” is more than able to overcome our love of sinning in all its devious forms so that what we become is the lens through which unbelievers might be able to see the Christ.