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Showing posts from May, 2013

We Don't Like What We Don't Understand

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The text for today is our Gospel lesson, John 8:48-59. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The story line of “Beauty and the Beast” has all the features of a classic Disney cartoon.An enchantress turns a young prince into a beast in order to teach him a lesson about judging by appearances.The only way he can break the spell is to learn to love another and to earn her love in return before the last petal falls from his enchanted rose.All in all, it’s relatively standard fairy tale fare. But hidden in the midst of heroic lovers, loathsome villains, sympathetic victims, magic spells, and castles is a cutting commentary on sinful human nature.Having lost his bid to gain Belle’s affections, Gaston convinces the villagers that the beast is dangerous and he rallies them to storm the castle.In the midst of their rage, the mob breaks out in song, with a frank but ironically honest chorus: “We don’t like what we don’t understand…

Make a Name for Ourselves... Or Call upon the Name of the Lord?

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! What a day!The Day of Pentecost.The day of the baptism of Andersen Theodore Bucher.The confirmation of his dad, Derek.And the reception of Andersen’s family into the body of Christ here at St. John’s.And it’s very fitting, for like all baptisms, Andersen’s is a mini-Pentecost—a Holy Spirit-filled event. He received God’s Spirit, not in the rushing wind or in tongues of fire, but in the water and Word.My grandson is now my brother in the Lord—yours too!Derek, Marissa, and Abbott are also now part of this congregation, numbered with you, and all Christians throughout the ages and across the world. This is a day for which I have prayed for some time now.I prayed for Derek before he even began to date Marissa—not specifically by name, of course, but that God would provide a godly husband for her and father for Abbott.I prayed for Derek and Marissa during their engagement and I still p…

Now What? (2)

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The text for today is Acts 1:9-11: “And when [Jesus] had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”Here ends the text. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Well.It came and went.Did you miss it?The great apocalypse linked to the last day of the Mayan calendar: December 21, 2012?Just another failed attempt to forecast the end of the world.I’d always wondered: What do you suppose those people who count so heavily on the world ending on a particular date do the day after?You know… the ones who give up everything they own, and then gather on a mountainside and wait for Jesus or the mothership to retur…

That They May All Be One

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Three-Year Lectionary devotes this Seventh Sunday of Easter to what is called Jesus’ “High-Priestly Prayer.”Our Gospel text for today from John 17 is part of that prayer.It is certainly fitting to consider this prayer on this Sunday after the Church has remembered Christ’s ascension, for our heavenly High Priest continues to pray for His Church before His Father’s throne of grace and glory. In this section of the prayer, Jesus prays not only for His disciples who are gathered with Him that night, but also “for those who will believe in Me through their word.”Jesus prays for all of those who will receive His Word through His apostles.The Father had given His Word to Jesus.Jesus gives the apostles’ His Word by the Holy Spirit.That Word works faith in Jesus for eternal life. Jesus sees this process as ongoing.Already He has used His disciples to preach and teach the Word.But more is…