Showing posts from May, 2015

Remaining there always

John 20:19-23 John 15:1, 9-17 “I am the vine and you are the branches. Abide in my love.” This passage from John 15 has always been meaningful to me because it was read to me at my baptism.   I stood in a white robe, in a fiberglass pool built into the front of the sanctuary, waist deep in warm water - a short, nervous 13 year old - and said into the mic that I loved Jesus and wanted to be baptized.    And my mother stood in the congregation, holding open the bible and read to me these verses as a charge: “Your life comes from Jesus, hang onto Jesus, abide in him and his joy will be in you.”   I can still hear her voice saying those words.   Hang onto Jesus. I recently heard a table full of Lutheran pastors debating whether faith was more monkey or cat, which is to say, do we cling to God, like a baby monkey, while God moves and leads, trying hard not to fall off, or do we get carried like a limp kitten in his mother’s mouth, trusting we wont get dropped? Who does the

Joining the cosmic shift

Acts 13:1-3, 14:8-18 This week a Pew research study came out saying that Christianity is declining in America – there was a big drop in the percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians. That was followed by a flurry of interpretive pieces-   it’s not declining, there are less closet atheists now, or it is just a shedding of the dead weight of all the churches and denominations that used to be Christian that have left true Christianity.   Or it’s because churches are not doing enough to reach millennials; or because churches are too engaged politically, or not engaged enough politically, or because people are more independent, and less comfortable with labels and membership.   And there are dire predictions of what it means in the future, as Christianity loses ground to other religion and to the “nones”, with some even saying things like “the decline of Christianity in America could lead to a collapse like the Roman Empire .”   Against this backdrop comes th

Disciples of Love not Fear

Matthew 28:16-20 1 John 4:7-21 I wonder what it was like- to see Jesus this way, appearing here in Galilee where you came to meet him after his resurrection.   I wonder what it was like to be given this charge, to be sent in this way.  Make disciples of all nations.   To all nations literally meant to all foreigners – the most unknown and least understood peoples, the ones not like you, not from where you’re from, not looking like you or talking like you or thinking like you, to be sent from your home to the unfathomable reaches of the earth at time when that was almost inconceivable.   How befuddling this must have been, how overwhelming.    To think that this is now their job, this monumental and incomprehensible task. One scholar said that today, it might feel like being told to go and cure cancer throughout the world, go and save the bees and stop the polar ice caps melting, go and bring world peace between warring countries. It doesn’t surprise me t