Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Questions for going deeper with the Scriptures for Sunday, June 3rd 

Prayer.  It’s something that we all invoke, even if we claim to be spiritual but not religious.  But what is prayer all about?  Is it us expressing our needs, hopes and fears?  Is it God listening to us?  Is it an energy that we plug into through centering actions of silence and mindfulness? Is it a way in which we relinquish our will and accept God’s, connecting with the work that God is already about in our world?  Today’s scripture points to all these facets of prayer and also offers a deep challenge to an exclusive vision that God only listens to prayers done in one particular spot.  Common in Jesus’ day, and mostly foreign to us, this notion of having a privileged or exclusive relationship with God still makes up part of the religious perspective we move in.  How do you experience prayer?  How do we as a community?  How is God calling us to move beyond our expectations, to being a house of prayer in a deeper and wider way?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blogging Towards Pentecost Sunday,  May 27th
  Mark 11:1-11 (Crowning the King),
Acts 2:1-21 (what does this mean?),
& Acts 2:42-47 (the gospel embodied in community)

 Pentecost is a unique day in the life of the Church Calendar in which it is connoted by the color red, (remember our Godly Play lesson from 2 weeks ago?)  Red is the color of passion, strong feelings, fire.  It evokes the heat and passion of fire similar to the passionate purpose and transformative presence of God’s Spirit when it moves in the world.  Pentecost is a reminder that God calls the Church to a risky endeavor, to engage the world, in the world, to declare in word and action that God loves the world and that we most know God through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  If that’s the meaning of the birth-day of the Church, I find myself wondering what kind of legacy we’ve been leaving as the church?  When folks encounter our church on College Avenue, or when the wonder about the Church in general, do they imagine a community of people making meaning in life together around a shared core value that we most know, experience God and grow in faith through knowing Jesus & practicing what he preached?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Questions for going deeper with the Scriptures for Sunday: May 20th

The Way of Jesus is different than the way of the world.  Today’s scripture point to that mystery, which supersedes any discussion that merely reduces faith to a particular set of morals or ethical actions.  The Way of Jesus leads to and through the cross, and then out of the victory of the resurrection and the paradox of the empty tomb.  Today’s passage closes the center literary nugget of Mark’s gospel which began with the healing of an anonymous blind man in 8:22, echoed and inverted in today’s healing encounter of another blind man Bartimaeus in 10:46-52.  The Way of Jesus moves us from anonymity, to relationship with God through Christ.  In that movement we confess, naming Jesus as the Christ and in the life-giving and universe-transforming love of that relationship we too receive our true name and discover our identity as servants of the Resurrected One.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Questions for going deeper with the Scriptures for Sunday, 
May 6th   Mark 10:17-31| Salvation as a Gift

We often look for answers, but maybe it’s our questions that most define and shape us as human beings. What defines us?  Is it our jobs?; zip code?; possessions?; faith?; class?; ethnicity?; choices?  Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, “Commitment is an act, not a word.”  In his existential viewpoint he echoes to a certain extent what Jesus is getting at in his encounter with the young rich ruler in today’s section of Mark.  Philosophy grew out of the essential human question as posed by the ancient Greek Socrates: What is a good life? How does one live one?  Can one even live a good life? Does the good we do come from a greater good?  Do we have to be religious, or spiritual, to have a good life? Do we need to be saved from something?  If so, what? It gets at the fundamental heart of Christian faith.