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Showing posts from May, 2017

Ascension of Jesus

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Acts 1:1-11 Ephesians 1:15-23  Luke 24:44-53
The Ascension of Jesus was recorded twice by St. Luke, both at the end of the Gospel of Luke and at the beginning of Acts. One could imagine him recording it in one or the other, but why both? The ascension also occurs in our creeds. So obviously it is a big deal. But it is still mysterious. we don't talk about it a lot in our churches and it wasn't actually unpacked much until the time of St. Augustine.  
The best image I've been able to come up to help me understand the Ascension has been a cell phone. The cell phone is an amazing invention. I can speak or whisper into a little microphone in my cell phone and it will transform my speech into a radio wave that can be sent to my brother’s phone in Vancouver, or just about anywhere else on the planet. When my brother lived in London, England, I could speak to him as if he was standing right in front of me. But there is a strange transformation that has to happen to my voice in order …

John 14- the offensive claims of Jesus

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John 14:1-14
We live in a world full of so much diversity- many cultures and many religions- isn’t it arrogant for Christians to claim the only way to God? It’s offensive to say you know spiritual truth and imply that others don’t.  We live in a world with an incredible amount of diversity among human beings. There are many different cultures and religions.  As globalization has its effect on us we bump into more of the varieties of cultures and religions in a way we wouldn’t have even 50 years ago.   In the midst of this incredible diversity of cultures Christians claim to know the exclusive route to God.  Paul in Romans 5:19 says, “For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” It is Jesus who fixed what was broken about the world. It is his medicine that was injected into the sick world that is bringing about a cure. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes …

Acts 2- life lived under the shepherd

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Acts 2:42-47
We are in the season after Easter and so we are living in the glow of the resurrection of Jesus, and watching his early disciples live in that glow as well. In some churches today is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because there is a theme of shepherding in our readings.

Today, I would like to look at the reading from the Acts of the Apostles. By this point in our reading there is no longer any doubt about Jesus being the messiah. This company of disciples knows who Jesus is. They are on the other side of the resurrection and have spent time with Jesus after he came back from the dead. Our reading from Acts tells us how to live as a people with a resurrected Lord shepherding us. What should the Christian community be like?

We read in Acts that, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). These are marks that were essential and basic to the early church, and they are also essential and basic fo…

Easter

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John 20:1-18 It's hard for us to understand how low the disciples must have felt after Jesus' Crucifixion. Just a week earlier Jesus was riding into Jerusalem. He came as their king. The people were singing and shouting, “Hosanna!”, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”, “Blessed is the king of Israel!”. Those who had been with Jesus for the last 3 years had been hoping and waiting for this day. Finally, Jesus will take his place as the people's true king- the Messiah. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? What was it like to be with Jesus entering the city, believing that this will change everything? Justice. Peace. A good King. No wonder they were waving branches and singing and laying their coats down on the road.

Suddenly things change. Jesus is betrayed. He is arrested. His followers are frightened. Jesus stands before the authorities under the weight of heavy accusations. Suddenly the man they had put their hopes in is being made …

at one ment- Good Friday

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Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Psalm 22 Hebrews 10:16-25 John 18:1-19:42
‘Atonement’ has been the word used to describe what happened on the cross. The word “atonement” means to bring two things into unity. We are told that what happened on the cross brought what was divided (God and humanity), into unity.

There are a variety of ways to understand the Atonement. I also want to remind you of what C. S. Lewis has said about the atonement- That understanding how it works is less important than understanding that it works. He says it is like nutrition. People were eating food and drinking long before there were any theories of how the body broke down food to nourish cells. When you are hungry it is enough to eat, and it works. Jesus’ work on the cross is like this. We don’t have to dedicate ourselves to one particular theory about how this works. What we are assured of in Scripture and the experience of the Church is that it does work.

That being said, the many ways of understanding the Atonement fall …

Palm Sunday

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Matthew 21:1-11
Matthew 26:14-27:66
Jesus enters the great city of Jerusalem and it leaves some asking, “Who is this?” It is a question that comes up a lot in the Gospels. Jesus calms the storm, “Who is this?” (Matt 8). Jesus declares a man’s sins forgiven and then heals him and the religious leaders ask, “who is this?” (Luke 7). Jesus asks his disciples “Who do people say that I am?” and “who do you say that I am?” When people answer this question they often get it wrong, or only part right. Some of the religious leaders thought Jesus’ power came from demons and so he was some kind of dark magician. Some called him a prophet, which is getting closer. At least he’s playing for the right team. Peter declared that Jesus is, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mat 16:16). But even then Peter didn’t quite have it because right after he declared this about Jesus he pulled him aside and began to scold him for saying that he was going to be killed.

“Who is this?” This is the que…