Pastoral Series

The Shining

Thursday, March 10Jesus’ Church: The ShiningOn a high mountain, Jesus was “transfigured” (the Greek word means something like “underwent metamorphosis”).  “His garments glistened intensely white” (Mark 9:3); he was shining.  Moses and Elijah, long dead, but evidently not finally dead in God’s realm, were talking with him. What were they talking about? Peter said “Jesus,…

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Take up cross

Monday, March 7Jesus’ Church: Take up crossStill in Caesarea Philippi, the new, garish, gleaming city built in adulation of the Roman emperor and his gods, Jesus darkly explains his mission, his destiny – and asks us not merely to watch or be moved, but to go with him.  “He began to teach them the he…

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Who do people say I am?

Thursday, March 3Jesus’ Church: Who do people say I am?At the turning point in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus asks his closest friends the most important question any of us will ever answer:  Who do you say that I am?  To help them focus he first asks what other people think.  But then he makes it personal: …

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We Listen

Monday, Feb. 29Jesus’ Church: We Listen“They brought a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech to Jesus.  Jesus put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue.  Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to the man, ‘Ephphatha,’ ‘Be opened.’  And his ears were opened, his…

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for the dogs

Thursday, Feb. 25Jesus’ Church: for the dogsFor me, Jesus’ most curious conversation was with a Gentile woman who pleaded with Jesus to heal her daughter.  His rather gruff reply was, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (Mark 7:24-30). Did…

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Feed 5000

Monday, Feb. 22Jesus’ Church: Feed 5000We may be vaguely familiar with the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people.  The only food the disciples could locate was 5 loaves and 2 fishes, which Jesus miraculously multiplied to feed them all, with plenty leftover.  But there are some details in the story that are even more intriguing….

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Rest

Thursday, Feb. 18Jesus’ Church: RestThis is fascinating:  the disciples amaze even themselves by getting so much done out there in Jesus’ name.  When Jesus hears their report, we expect him to say “Great!  Keep pounding!  Go do more quick!”  But instead he says “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while”…

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Sent

Monday, Feb. 15Jesus’ Church: Sent“Jesus began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits.  He told them to take nothing except a staff, and to wear sandals – and said ‘If they will not receive you, shake the dust off your feet and move on.’  And they went and…

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Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, Feb. 10Jesus’ Church: Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite holy days – although it’s far from cheerful.  We are somber, we bear a grayish cross on the forehead, we are sorry for the mess of our lives.  And yet the day is, precisely because of all this, brimming over with hope….

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Economic impact

Monday, Feb. 8Jesus’ Church: economic impact In chapter 5, Mark tells us about a dramatic, funny, impactful encounter Jesus has with a tormented man.  He “lived among the tombs.”  He had been chained for years but kept breaking loose.  “Night and day he was always crying out, and kept bruising himself with stones.”  We can…

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