Jesus

We are All Immigrants

"A wandering Aramaen was my ancestor. He went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien." (Deut. 26:1-5)

"Who is my neighbour?" (Luke 10:29-37)

Keep Awake!

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming! (Matthew 24:36-44)

Work out your own salvation

The abbot confided in me the other day that this is his favourite text from the writings of St. Paul: "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12-15). I assume it is because he does not believe that we should sit around waiting for someone else to save us -- we should get on and do it ourselves. That is an eminently practical way of going about things. And for good measure, we should fear and tremble while doing so. Working out our own salvation is a serious matter, is it not?

Beyond innocence

I think we would all agree that Barry and Molly have two of the most adorable twin grand-daughters, Chloe and Zara. A sheer joy to the family, they were also a delight to the rest of us who had passing glimpses of their curly locks and smiling faces. That lively image has stayed with me the whole week since last Thursday when I met them for the first time and, if I may say, I think they took a fancy to my beard. But another image has also been with me, the faces of two brothers who, so it is alleged with good reason, killed and maimed so many people at the end of the Boston marathon.

Scars

The bombings that took place this week in Boston at the end of the annual marathon have shocked not only Americans but people across the world. Whatever the motivation that lies behind this terrible act of terror, nothing can justify such killing and maiming of innocent civilians. Even if the bombings are acts of revenge for what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan since the American led invasions, they must be condemned, as must the bombings in those countries where every day is like that fateful day in Boston.

Mark’s minor characters

During Holy Week and Easter I preached a series of sermons at the Randpark Ridge United Church in Johannesburg, on the Passion and Resurrection narratives according to Mark’s Gospel. Mark’s was the earliest gospel to be written, probably based on oral tradition that went back to St. Peter. In turn, Mark’s gospel provided the basis for the writing of the gospels according to Matthew and Luke. Mark is also the shortest of the four gospels, terse and to the point and the most dramatic.

The Political subversion of the cross

This weekend we remember the tragic end of Jesus’ life as well as the miraculous raising of Jesus the Christ from his death. The week prior to this weekend is one where Christians focus on Jesus’ arrival and entry into Jerusalem, the hub of Israeli and Jewish power, amid excited and adoring crowds. This excitement and adoration quickly turn, however, resulting in a call by the people to kill – crucify – this man they so enthusiastically welcomed.

Reversal of status

My high school headmaster was more feared than loved, equally so by the staff and students. He used to stand in the corner of the quadrangle during short break every morning, keeping a beady-eye on what was happening. But his vision seemed to penetrate our ill-formed minds as well as classroom walls! He knew, so we thought, everything about us and what was going on in the shady sections of the school. He was my Latin teacher and I knew from experience how he could look one way in class while at the same time detecting what was happening in my own corner!

Jesus—the one who shakes foundations

This past week I had an opportunity to teach an intensive course on the book of Matthew. I enjoy these opportunities, not only to teach, but to look at and present a book from start to finish. Although it is not possible to delve into every detail found within the book, following the plot line from start to finish helps to pick up on themes and recurring events and/or elements that accentuate and highlight certain points throughout the broader story. It is easy to miss such connections when snippets and bits-and-pieces are read rather than reading the whole story from beginning to end.

Jesus’ Unusual Leadership

This past weekend we were invited to participate in an ordination ceremony for a pastor whom we have worked with for the past several years. The theme chosen for the weekend celebration was “that they may be one as We are” (John 17:11).

 

In thinking, reading, and praying about this, I found some interesting elements that demonstrate Jesus’ unique and unusual example of what it means to be a leader.

 

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