Pastoral Series

Prayer: Mary

Prayer: Mary Even with all the stories the gospel writers have shared with us, we realize that most of Jesus’ days, words and actions are unrecorded.  If all the Bible’s characters were on a panel, and I got a turn during the Q&A, I’d ask this: Tell us about when Mary saw her son after…

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Prayer: Surprise visits

Prayer: Surprise visits On the road to Emmaus, the disciples – those who knew Jesus best! – were not exactly looking for Jesus to be present to them.  This is a cardinal principle of the prayerful life: we encounter God, not when we are trying, when we are praying – but, thankfully, when we aren’t…

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Prayer: With

Prayer: With The resurrected Jesus, when he was sending his disciples out into the world, underlined the most important thing:  “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Sam Wells says that “with” is the most important word in theology.  This is God’s nature and heart: to be with us.  Jesus’ theological nickname, given at his…

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Prayer: Did not our hearts burn?

Prayer: Did not our hearts burn? The other day we looked at that marvelous drama of Jesus meeting up with the disciples on the road to Emmaus – and how they came, a little slower than expected, to recognize him.  Another piece of their realization of Jesus’ very real presence was that they read and…

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Prayer: At table

Prayer: At table Maybe the most charming, and suggestive stories of Jesus’ post-Easter appearances happened on a country road between Jerusalem and Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).  Jesus comes up behind two unnamed disciples; they do not recognize him (do they even look closely at him? or did they just assume he was dead? or was Jesus’…

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Prayer: Easter

Prayer: Easter Jesus is Risen!  What glorious news!  Continuing with our theme of prayer, I wonder:  when Jesus was raised, did he pray?  Surely – and so, what did he pray?  His mind always gravitated toward the Psalms.  So I wonder if he thought of Psalm 118, which he and the disciples had sung just…

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Prayer: Good Friday

Prayer: Good Friday    Good Friday is a day to check your watch, to track the Gospel stories of Jesus’ final hours, from his mock trial at 6am, to his crucifixion at 9am, the sky growing dark at noon, and his final breaths around 3pm.  Surely Jesus prayed all through the day, the kinds of…

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Prayer: Maundy Thursday

Prayer: Maundy Thursday Continuing our theme of considering Jesus’ prayers during Holy Week, we come to the holiest night, Maundy Thursday.  The Bible tells us that they did what was the Jewish custom at Passover:  they sang Psalms.  We can read and pray Psalms; but they knew the music!  They would have sung some or…

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Prayer: Teaching Tuesday

Prayer: Teaching Tuesday We do not have any prayers Jesus offered recorded in the Gospels for Tuesday of Holy Week.  But we certainly have his words!  Read carefully, or just skim if you don’t have time, Matthew chapters 21 through 25:  Jesus enters the temple and begins teaching to anybody who will engage with him,…

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Prayer: Holy Monday

Prayer: Holy Monday “My house shall be called a House of Prayer.”  Jesus shocked everyone by strolling into the temple precincts, where he saw all the money-changing and ruckus happening – and he threw everyone out, overturned the tables, the money all clattering on the stones, turtledoves flapping their wings to get away…  What was…

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