April 1, 2012

The first scripture for Sunday is Philippians 2:5-11. Scholars believe that this was a hymn of the early church. What they were singing captures the spirit of what New Testament faith was like. This passage shows how they thought about Jesus. Significant in this passage is the “Christos Nous,” or the “Mind of Christ.” To be Christian meant to “let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” More than remembering and reviewing the life of a historical figure, worship is something we live in our daily moments, and that takes getting to know (at a deep feeling level) the “Mind” that was in Jesus—not judging, forgiving, going the second mile, turning the other cheek, minding every word that comes from our lips, the be-attitudes, etc.

The second passage is Mark 15:33-38. For those interested in reading the text prior to Sunday, the whole passage is Mark 15:1-47. We will focus on that brief moment in the passion drama when the curtain in the temple was torn. We will explore the significance of that curtain in both Moses’ tabernacle and the early Jewish Temple. It separated the outer sanctuary from the Holy of Holies. The idea that Jesus’ crucifixion tore apart what separates us from God’s Holiness holds great possibilities for spiritual growth. In our lives today, our personal “passion dramas” tears the curtain and encourages our closeness with God.

March 25, 2012

John 11:38-45 is a portion of the text that captures the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the tomb. If you read this story prior to Sunday, please read the whole passage from 1-45. Notice the delay, the waiting. Jesus didn’t respond immediately.

It’s easy to get trapped in a tomb. Many churches, homes, and institutions can become tombs. Sometimes people feel trapped in their own bodies. The loss of mindfulness traps people in intellectual concepts, preoccupation with issues, nagging regrets and catastrophic expectations. And sometimes, all we can do is wait. Jesus’ voice, calling “Lazarus, come out!” echoes down through history and offers its invitation to each one of us. Each day, we can wait for that magic moment. Each day, we can step forth into ever-greater light.

March 18, 2012

This Sunday, we will explore the topic, “looking for signs of holiness.” For Noah, signs included the dove and the rainbow. The Old Testament lesson for this Sunday is Numbers 21:4-9. Moses put a snake on a pole, and when people looked at it, they were healed. The snake-on-a-pole is called the “caduceus,” the staff of Hermes/Mercury, and today is the symbol for medicine. The New Testament lesson is John 3:14-16, where we get the familiar and often quoted passage, John 3:16. Before presenting this verse, John encourages the reader to remember Moses’ caduceus and invites the reader to look upon Jesus in this very way (a sign for our healing and wholeness).

March 11, 2012

The familiar story of the “Rich Young Ruler” depicts a wealth man approaching Jesus and asking, “What must I do to find salvation?” Jesus outlined a twofold process: (1) first, keep the commandments. This echoes a theme from last week. Abraham had a “covenant” with God because he “walked blamelessly before the Lord.” After the young man professed that he has done this, Jesus gave the second condition, (2) give up everything you have and follow me. This, the young man could not do, for he was exceedingly wealthy. The teaching, as I hear it, is putting our priorities with God, and not being attached to the material world. This is echoed in the Sermon on the Mount; “Lay up for yourselves Treasures in Heaven” and “You cannot serve two masters.”

Exploring this twofold process will be the theme for Sunday. The first scripture lesson will be from Exodus 20 where we will review the very familiar “Ten Commandments.” The New Testament lesson comes from John’s gospel where Jesus tosses the moneychangers out of the temple. He quickly closes the metaphor, indicating that he is referring to the “temple” of his body. Finding “Inner Peace” is the second movement in this scheme of Spirituality.