“What’s the difference between optimism and hope?” he once asked, and answered: “Hope is for pessimists.” – Kim Fabricious, RIP ~ 2018
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. – John 15:9-17
What does it mean to be Jesus’ friends? Continue reading “Friends of Jesus”
April 27, 2018
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an invitation to get to work. When we look at what happens in the Bible we see that the resurrection inspires activity on the part of God’s Kingdom. It is not long after the resurrection that Jesus’ disciples go and “start” the church; empowered by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do so.
One thing that the resurrection is not. It is not an invitation to watch more Netflix. Not that it’s wrong to binge here and there. It is clear however, that the resurrection did not inspire Jesus’s earliest followers to go on permanent vacations. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Eunuchs (“Intact Males”)”
Preached on Maundy Thursday 2018 at Friends University Chapel.
For some time now, I have used Jesus’ face as one way to help me understand what Jesus is saying. Maybe that seems strange. The Bible really doesn’t tell us anything about Jesus’ face other than the fact that it was human, Jewish, and ordinary. His face was nothing spectacular. Jesus was not the best-looking guy in Jerusalem. Nor the worst.
Many years ago, CBS put out a series on the Bible and of course they had to pick someone to play Jesus. Karen, the wife of one of my closest friends, remarked that she could not watch this mini-series because Jesus was way too good looking. She said “it just felt wrong to be attracted to Lord in such a way.” I hope we all find Jesus attractive—but not like that.
Preached at Northridge Friends Church ~ March 18, 2017
Dexion and Rufus
Imagine with me, for a moment, a 2nd Century Roman man named Dexion. In his day, about 100 years after Jesus resurrection, Roman society was marked by deep class divisions. Dexion is a member of the Equestrian class. This means that he is a business owner and has money but he’s not super rich. He is respected among his peers, and, like many Romans of his day, he owns slaves. In Dexion’s case his small number of slaves consider him a good and generous master. Dexion is a good man in the eyes of Rome and in the eyes of all who know him.
Rufus is one of Dexion’s slaves. Rufus’s father belonged to Dexion too, and Dexion was fond of him. The father served his master well but the son . . . not so much. Rufus, known for being lazy and inattentive, ran away when he was a kid. With the aid of his aging father he was brought back into the household but his master never trusted Rufus again.
My mother was an artist. She tried to pass it on to me but it didn’t take. Like so many good things in families, it skipped a generation. She loved Christmas. She took a cracked, hundred-year-old wooden ironing board and painted it so that it looked like Santa Claus.
Together with my Dad, she made a lot of nativity sets. She had a recognizable style. Hers were usually wooden silhouettes tastefully and subtly painted to look three dimensional. She sold most of them to raise money for various projects for her study club. Of all the hundreds of items they made over the years, she only kept a few. One time I noticed that a pig made an appearance in one of her nativity scenes. I commented how that just wouldn’t be the case in 1st Century Jerusalem. She could tell I was missing the spirit of Christmas so she called me a smart-aleck. It was not the first time.
We’ve been singing “Apocalypse Songs” this Advent Season. It started our first week of Advent when we heard from the early church, who sang the Phos Hilaron, the “joyful” or “hilarious light”. It was a hymn sung at the lighting of the lamps, at sunset, honoring God for being the only light worthy of being glorified, “through all the worlds.”
We heard from Zechariah, the wife of Elizabeth and father of John the Baptist. Sometimes a long period of silence is just what is needed, silent waiting. Time may not heal all wounds but all wounds need time to heal.
This week’s Apocalyptic singer is Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, the Theotokos, the God-bearer, the mother of God. (Just to name a few of her aliases.) Continue reading “An Apocalypse Song: The Magnificat”