“Tempted … to hold back”

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Mary has good intentions. She has a good heart. But she would not be human if she experienced no temptation to hesitate, to be selfish, to listen to the devil’s whispers.
How does she resist?

“Tempted … to see the worst”

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This parable seems to be everywhere because it deals with the common themes of selfishness and self-discovery; of journey and homecoming; of rivalries and broken relationships; of sin and grace.

“Tempted … to blame”

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Blame is not just singling out the responsible parties for justice/punishment/vengeance; it can clarify behavior that needs to be modified to avoid future danger; and it can serve as the basis for changing laws or policy. But blame is also a desperate attempt to make sense of the inexplicable; to answer questions that defy easy answers; to quiet the nightmares that nip at our heels.
It is tempting to blame.

“Tempted … to forget”

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Instead, the temptations in our passage are more sinister. On the surface they promise to benefit others. Turn stones to bread? The hungry hope so. Take political control? The oppressed hope so. Leap from the Temple? Those looking for proof of God’s power among us hope so.
What could be wrong with Jesus doing these things?

“Cloud Atlas”

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So over and over again, the writers of scripture chart the movement of clouds, the location of where God has been and where God is present, thin places where God draws close to humanity, spots that are both mystical and reliable.

“Loving our Enemies”

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Jesus shifts to a series of commands –
“Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Turn the other cheek. Give the shirt off your back … and your coat too!
Contribute to everyone who begs from you. Do unto others …
But none more startling than the first: “Love your enemies!”

“Blessings and Woes”

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So Luke is hinting that Jesus is standing in a place where God is at work; where change is possible; where reversals of fortune are part of the plan.
For those on the bottom it is a place of hope;
for those on the top it is a place of …. (How do you complete that sentence?)

“Any excuse”

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Luke has us now. We are in the edge of our seats. We are primed for a surprise, for a spectacular catch, for something!
What we get is part love story, part mystery.

“Grace is …”

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Grace is amazing!
But Jesus does not stop there … and neither does Luke.
It turns out that grace is (also) repulsive!
Let me explain.

“The Word Abides”

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Perhaps the most striking thing about this hymn is John’s description of Jesus, not just as light in the darkness, but as the Word – a word uttered before all creation began, a word whispered to bring in creation, a word become flesh so we might hear it, see it, touch it.