Pastoral Series

Receiving Worthily

Thursday, May 5Jesus’ Church: Receiving worthily When I first stood at the Lord’s Table to celebrate Holy Communion, we were still using the 1964 Book of Worship, that utilized this prayer just before the people came forward:  “We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness,…

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Pleasing

Monday, May 2Jesus’ Church: Pleasing1 Corinthians 7 is 40 verses of Paul rambling through his thoughts about marriage.  Not a very romantic viewpoint:  Paul says if you’re single, don’t marry, unless you just can’t control your physical urges (“It is better to marry than to burn”).  He ponders divorce, and what to do if you…

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Lega or Helpful?

Thursday, April 28Jesus’ Church: legal or helpful? Someone described John to me as a “good Christian man.”  I asked what that meant, and was told, “Oh, you know, a good, law-abiding citizen.”  Setting the bar at “law-abiding” is pretty low – and actually wrong.  The Bible is respectful of public law, but well understands that…

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The Right People

Monday, April 25Jesus’ Church: the right peopleYou could read, ponder, re-read, reflect on, memorize and ponder some more Paul’s focused crystallization of what is at the heart of our faith, and in God’s heart:  “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us being saved it is the power…

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Sibling Quarrels

Thursday, April 21Jesus’ Church: sibling quarrelsSeparated from Corinth by many miles, and months, Paul receives a report “that there is quarreling among you” – and then he adds “my brethren” (1 Corinthians 1:11).  It’s like a little strategic dig, calling them “brethren,” as if saying We are family, we shouldn’t be quarreling!  But then again,…

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The Isthmus of Corinth

Monday, April 18Jesus’ Church: the Isthmus of CorinthSo as we continue to reflect on how to be a Christian and what sort of Church we ought to be together, I propose we turn to Paul’s letters to the Corinthians – partly because they probe quite a few issues that are timely and personal for us…

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Signs and wonders

Thursday, April 14Jesus’ Church: Signs and wondersDespite the presence of tantalizing clues about following Jesus, and a fair bit of holy wisdom, we may be grateful Mark 16:9-20 wasn’t originally part of the Gospel – at least if you don’t like snakes.  Verse 18 says that those who believe in Jesus “will pick up serpents,…

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Morphing

Monday, April 11Jesus’ Church: MorphingWhile I’m still poking around in that ending to Mark’s Gospel, I am fascinated by and find a surprising bit of robust theology in Mark 16:12.  After Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, we read that “after this, he appeared in another form to two of them.”  In another form!  Did he…

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Sorrow and Doubt

Thursday, April 7Jesus’ Church: Sorrow and doubtMark 16:9-20, which you should be able to find in your Bible but probably wasn’t part of Mark’s original Gospel, picks up on vignettes that show up in Matthew, Luke and John.  A common theme for all the Easter stories is the mix of sorrow and disbelief.  Mark’s added-on…

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sacred and imperishable

Monday, April 4Jesus’ Church: sacred and imperishableLast week I explained how different endings to Mark’s Gospel have survived all these centuries.  None of them can be proven to be the original ending – but they tell us a lot about the first people who treasured Mark and tried to fulfill what Jesus was about. Some…

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