Luke 24:5b – “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
The women (Mary Magdalene and the others) were right to be frightened by the approach of the men outside the tomb of Jesus. These women arrived at the tomb of Jesus and they encountered the unexpected – the stone, which was used to block the entrance to the tomb, had been removed and the corpse of Jesus was missing. The tomb had been disturbed (from the perspective of the women) and there was no evidence as to what happened or who was responsible. Confused and alarmed by the disturbance of the tomb, two strange men approach the women. Were these men responsible for the disturbance? Were the women in danger? Continue reading
Luke 19:44b – “…because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”
My message for Palm Sunday, The Whole Multitude, focused on the unique features in Luke’s narrative of The Triumphant Entry of Jesus. Several key components of the traditional scene are removed from the third gospel. The large crowd of Diaspora Jews on a pilgrimage to the Holy City are not present in Luke’s account. There is no waving of palm branches. There are no shouts of Hosanna. There is no association with the House of David. In my message, I explain how Luke removes these “nationalistic overtones” so that he can emphasize the presence and participation of the disciples, who finally get it right, if only for a moment! Continue reading
Luke 13:19b – “It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
Life can be lonely.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of life is the feeling of loneliness, isolation, or seclusion. As my life fills to beyond blessed, I am alert to the pain experienced by others who feel they exist – alone – in the shadows. Perhaps, you know the aching chill that permeates as the shadow whelms you. Perhaps, you have encountered the emptiness of isolation. For too many of us, allowing life to underwhelm us so that God can overwhelm us begins with the awareness of our isolation. It begins with the acknowledgement of our desire to participate in something larger than our self.
Psalm 127:3 – “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
When we allow life to underwhelm us, God can overwhelm us. More accurately, we become more aware of God’s presence in our life when life’s persistent failure to meet our expectation does not dominate our thoughts. The (hidden) presence of God is revealed, but only when we cancel out the noise of life so that we can hear the voice of God speaking to us. Continue reading
Luke 9:34 – “While [Peter] was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.”
The scene is familiar. Jesus has taken Peter, James, and John with him to the top of a mountain. He prays in isolation, but the disciples struggle to keep awake. While Jesus is praying, something spectacular occurs – his face begins to change and his clothes become a dazzling white. Moses and Elijah manifest and they speak with Jesus about what must occur in Jerusalem. The three disciples, dazed and confused, identify the unique that occurs before them. Peter suggests three dwellings be built so they may stay there. “While [Peter] was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.” Continue reading