“Meeting Jesus: at less than his best”

by

If this scene were the first time you had met Jesus, would you want to follow him?
His defenders say he was just testing her,
or that the word used means puppies, so it isn’t really that insulting;
or that he is weary to the bone and says something he doesn’t mean.
What do you see?

“Meeting Jesus: at a meal”

by

Last week we began a look at five stories from Matthew from the slant of “meeting Jesus again for the first time” (to steal a line from Marcus Borg).
We are looking closely at Jesus in Matthew for three reasons:
because the Jesus these stories reveal may be more wonderful than we realized as children;
because they may be more demanding than we have been willing to admit; and
because our neighbors may be searching for something to feed their deep hunger,
something that the Jesus of these stories delivers.

“Meeting Jesus: on the sea”

by

When you were a child you heard this story and were captivated by the image of walking on the waves. But now what do you see? What is there about Jesus that leaps out at you? What do you see for the first time?

“Rebekah’s Choice”

by

I’ll confess to another lie people tell. Parents do not love all their children equally. I chose one over the other.
My husband loved Esau. He would boast, “He smells like a field that has been blessed by the Lord!” Me, I rooted for the underdog.

“The next generation”

by

If the promise is going to continue, it is not enough for Abraham and Sarah to have a son; Isaac has got to keep the process rolling by having a son too! And the first step on that journey is finding him a wife! And not just any wife, but the right wife!

“Sacrifice”

by

Sacrifices were common in that culture.
Human survival depended on rain to water the crops, and good harvests, and children to work the land, and protection from enemies. Hidden forces were the difference between life and death, so people sought to swing the balance in their favor. They made offerings to those hidden forces to keep the local gods benevolent. Because they were hidden, mysterious, and quick-tempered, you could never be sure what impact your sacrifices had, but clearly you were trading value for value. So you sacrificed measures of flour and doves, goats and lambs, oxen even. You gave your first fruits; you gave you best, you gave so you might get. Everybody did it.

“Difficult Acts”

by

As I mentioned last week, we are going to spend five weeks looking at stories from Genesis that shine a spotlight on fathers and families, on their folly and their faithfulness.
Today’s story is a drama about love. It has a varied cast of characters. As we go along, you can decide which role you would like to play. Let me tell you a little about each one:

“Father Abraham”

by

The story is as clear as it is long – over and over God promises that Abram and Sarai will have a son. What is a long-shot to begin with becomes less and less likely as the years pass. Abram is old; Sarai has always been barren, so the two try to figure out loopholes. They trusted God enough to leave home with nothing more than a promise as a compass, but not enough to leave things in God’s hands.

“Commissioned to Dance”

by

Many of you have heard [these words] countless times. They are known as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” They have been heard as marching orders, but they are also a mission statement, a peek into the inner working of the Trinity, and a blessing.

“On the Road from the Tomb … to everywhere!”

by

As I wrote in the newsletter, like those disciples, today we are outside our traditional place of worship, easily overheard by people who are in this place to fish or walk, to play tennis or enjoy nature. These are the sort of people we have longed to reach out to, to connect with, to draw in. But our efforts haven’t always had the power of Pentecost that drew thousands.
Joan Gray thinks she knows why.