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Showing posts from March, 2015

Not our way

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Matthew 21:1-17
I'll be the first to admit it, Palm Sunday is kind of confusing. It is such spectacle, and we know what comes next so it feels strange to make a big thing of it. We’re mixing all these 1st century customs with 21st century interpretations and generally make kind of a mess of things.In fact, it feels like Jesus himself is messing with things.He is doing these big symbolic and prophetic things, things that seem fraught with meaning, layers of impenetrable meaning, and he doesn’t feel compelled to explain any of it.
The way Matthew tells it, immediately after the triumphal entry, Jesus heads into the temple and overturns the tables of the moneychangers and yells at them, then he turns around and heals people, and children and grown ups are cheering and calling out and it all sounds very chaotic and uncontrolled, and it angers chief priests and scribes, and then Jesus tells them off and leaves town. So in one sweeping move we see Jesus go from parade to protest to provocat…

The Move Back into Freedom

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A friend and colleague, Rob Smith, pastor of Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church, invited me to blog on the topic of Sabbath as part of their Year of the Bible, Here is what I wrote.  (You can find the original post here).



What if I told you that most of us live like we believe we are slaves most of the time?  In slavery, you belong to a master who dictates your entire identity, worth and purpose, and even directs your very days and hours. Like the Israelite slaves of Pharaoh, we are told that we matter only if we produce, produce, produce.  In our modern day slavery, it’s a little more sophisticated – we also matter if we consume, consume, consume.  As long as we are part of the relentless system of production and consumption, we have value.  So we measure our worth  – and others do too – by how much we produce or consume in a day.
But how does life work for a people who are free?  
The Ten Commandments, or “Ten Words,” are given by God to a people coming out of generations of slavery in…

Making Space - Sparking Joy

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"I have a need of such a clearance as the Saviour effected in the temple of Jerusalem a riddance of the clutter of what is secondary that blocks the way
 to the all-important central emptiness
 which is filled
 with the presence of God alone." -Jean Danielou, quoted in Lost in Wonder by Esther de Waal
I've just finished reading the excellent book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japenese Art of De-Cluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, which is based on the principle of only keeping items that "spark joy."  So on Monday, I began with my clothes, (all of them, in a huge, terrifying pile) and after some breathing exercises and a phone call to a wise friend I dove in.  I lifted each item and asked, "Does this spark joy?" And if it didn't, I thanked it for its service to me and let it go.



There was something shockingly vulnerable, and then surprisingly spiritually cleansing about this practice, and the way it made me pay attention.  Now, instead o…