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Showing posts from February, 2019

Luke 6- You want me to love who?

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Luke 6:27-38

These teachings of Jesus are among the most challenging words he ever spoke. He says, (6:27-31, )  "… Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” I suspect many of us hear those words, and recognize them as strangely beautiful, but then quietly reject them as not livable. It is anti-intuitive to love your enemy. … Is it even possible? What do we mean by “love” in that context? …. We hear Jesus say to turn the other cheek when struck and we suspect that our fist would be halfway to the other person’s nose before we have had a chance to start thinking about it. … We hear Jesus saying, give to everyone who asks, and we susp…

The Beatitudes- Luke 6

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Luke 6:17-26
In our Gospel reading Jesus had just come down from a mountain where he had spent the night in prayer. He then chose 12 to be his apostles.

Those who were watching this couldn’t help but think about Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel. They would have immediately understood what Jesus was doing. He was reconstituting the 12 tribes of Israel. He was building a new center for the new thing that God was doing.

When Moses presented the covenant agreement with the people. The covenant was made up of a number of laws that the people agreed to. With those laws came blessings and curses (see Deuteronomy). If they, as a people, obeyed the laws then they would be blessed. If they, as a people, disobeyed the laws then there would be curses. Likewise, many see blessings and curses in Jesus’ words (Blessed... and Woe...). And that all reinforces the idea that what Jesus is doing is in parallel with what Moses was doing. Moses presented a new stage in the life of the people of God. They …

Resurrection 1 Cor 15:1-11

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1 Cor 15:1-11
Paul says some pretty unambiguous words in 1 Corinthians 15- “If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. … If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (15:14, 19).
Paul is saying that Christianity can be proven false if this one point fails. Christianity stands on a main pillar. It that pillar is destroyed, then the whole complex of Christianity falls apart. Paul says that pillar is the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Greek words for “the resurrection of the body” are anastasis nekron, which means “the sitting-up of the corpse”. The resurrection of Christ, according to the New Testament, is a very physical reality. The gospels tell us that the body was missing. We read there about the disciples touching Jesus and witnessing him eating. They seem to go out of their way to say that their experience of the risen Jesus was not a vision, and that Jesus was not a gho…

Embodying Love 1 Cor 13

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

At the University of Lethbridge I used to meet with a group of students to teach them different methods of prayer. One week I met with them and I used 1 Corinthians 13 to help us enter into prayer. First, I asked them to read the chapter and understand what it was saying. We read it out loud, and then we sat in silence as they re-read it privately to themselves- internalizing it. Then after a few minutes I asked them to read it again silently and this time replace the word “love” with their name in versus 4-7. So, where it says, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” It then became (for me),  “[Chris] is patient; [Chris] is kind; [Chris] is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. [Chris] does not insist on…

1 Cor 12- The Body of Christ

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1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Before we talk about Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, it might be helpful to say something about the city of Corinth. The city had been almost completely destroyed at one point, but by Paul’s day the city had been rebuilt for about 100 years as a Roman colony. So, it had the feel of a new city. There wasn’t really any aristocracy because it was a recently rebuilt city that was populated mostly with Roman soldiers, freedmen (which were a step above slaves on the social ladder), and slaves. It was now an important city with lots of things going on. Don’t think of a sleepy backwater. This town was buzzing. There was tourism, with people coming to watch athletic competitions. There was lots of trade, which brought in lots of different people traveling from all over to do business. It had the feel of a boom town.

It also had a bit of a reputation in ancient literature. What I’m about to say is a little before the time period we are dealing with, but it seems like som…