“I See You. I Bless You.”

John 13:1-8, 14-17, 31b – 35 After washing the disciples’ feet at the last supper, Jesus says to them, “If I, then – your Teacher and Sovereign – have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet … Once you know all these things, you will be blessed if you put them into practice.” Blessed if you put them into practice.  […]

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Clear the Chaos and the Clutter

Luke 13:1-9 A couple of weeks ago, we began our Lenten journey into the wilderness. On the Way, we learned that the wilderness has something to teach us.  We heard the story of Emily who journeyed to sobriety, and took the fifth step of Alcoholics Anonymous, confessing to God, herself, and another human being the nature of her wrongs.  We […]

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Finding the Way

Luke 13:31-35 In the Scripture today, Jesus is on the Way to Jerusalem. As Jesus travels on the way, I imagine Jesus encounters many people, like a man who was lonely, a woman who was hungry, a young person who was laden with debt, and an elderly person who was trembling with anxiety.  When Jesus sees these people, Jesus stops; Jesus stops and looks them in the eyes; Jesus sees the depth of their pain and, suddenly, within him wells up a desire like mama hen to care for all her chickens.  Jesus is filled with a desire to gather all her chicks in and let them know how deeply cared for they are. And so, Jesus stops on the Way and begins to heal the people around him, casting out demons, proclaiming the truth that no matter who you are, whether you are a blind beggar on the street or have a serious condition like leprosy or have not-so-popular job like tax collector, you are still the beloved of God and nobody else can tell you otherwise. Not your family.  Not a stranger. Not a government official. While Jesus is healing the people, Jesus starts telling them about God’s kingdom, because he sees how oppressive Herod’s kingdom is.  Herod was appointed by the Romans as king of a section of Jewish territory, with those from the temple serving as his local administrators.  Together, their focus is on confiscating land, […]

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Travel Preparations

Luke 4:1-13 The wilderness had an emptiness to it.  When Jesus looked around, he could see caramel-colored dirt and rocks stretchig out to the horizon.  From the rock he was sitting, Jesus couldn’t see where the desert ended but he knew that it would continue– with its hills and ravines and jagged contours –  all the way to a huge cliff that dropped down to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea.  Jesus’ mind lingered on that image.  The Dead Sea was where the Jordan River emptied out and just a few days ago he had been baptized in the Jordan River by his kinsman John. “What was it that the Spirit had said again?” He wondered again, trying to pull every aspect of that incredible experience into his memory.  John had plunged him under the water and, when he came up, water dripping down his face, the sky had torn open and a Divine voice had said, “You are my beloved, with whom I am well-pleased.” Jesus soaked in the word, so that he could remember them wherever he went.  He anticipated that there would times when people might not be very loving or well-pleased with him, and it would be those times that he would need to remember his belovedness the most. After that magnificent moment, the Spirit had plunged him straight into the wilderness. The wilderness might not have been Jesus’ first choice for a post-Baptism retreat, but […]

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