Showing posts from June, 2020

The (Near) Sacrifice of Isaac- Gen 22

Genesis 22:1-14

Not all Biblical stories are given to us as examples of the kinds of things we should do. The present story about the binding of Isaac, or the near sacrifice of Isaac, is a good example. The question we should not come away with is “would we consider sacrificing our child if God asked us to?” That is not what this passage is about for us. … Instead, we need to ask what this was about for Abraham and for God’s people.

This is a passage that is notoriously difficult to understand, so don’t expect that we are going to have it all explained and tied up in a nice bow. This is a complex and mysterious passage, and very smart and faithful people have come to a variety of conclusions. So maybe we can think of this as a bit of an exploration, and we may very well come away with more questions than answers.

First, it is important that we name the shocking nature of this passage. God asks for a father to kill his son. This is horrifying. It is horrifying that God would ask, and it…

Romans 6- Become who God has declared you already are

Romans 6:1b-11
Paul’s letter to the Romans is a fascinating letter. The church in Rome wasn’t a church that was founded by Paul, so this letter is a way of introducing himself, hoping that they will support his ministry. The first 8 chapters have often been considered a kind of outline of Christian theology.

Paul starts the letter talking about how both Jews and Gentiles are basically in the same boat. The Gentiles are lost without the Law. This is the way Jews would generally look down on Gentiles. They don’t have the Law, but they do have a conscience as a result of being created by God, but they even violate that.

Paul’s Jewish readers may well have been cheering Paul on as he speaks about the moral and spiritual shortcomings of the Gentiles, but then Paul turns on his fellow Jews, who have been given the Law.

They have the law, but they aren’t able to live according to it. The Law is a part of the Covenant, which is a bit like a contract. If you have an employment contract the viol…

Announcing the Kingdom- Matthew 9-10

Matthew 9:35-10:8 
There is a quote by Teresa of Avila, who was a 16th century Spanish mystic. She said, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”  In the Ascension, Christ brought his physical body into the dimension of heaven. The followers of Jesus are now the Body of Christ in the world. You and I, if we consider ourselves followers of Jesus, are now the body of Christ in the world. That can feel encouraging, intimidating, and overwhelming.

What does that actually mean? Jesus’ message was about the Kingdom of God. The kingdom isn’t just about heaven. The kingdom is where God will is done. We pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”. Those statements re…

Racism and the times we are living in

It seems like the world is on fire right now. 
As a leader in the church I always struggle with how much to let the news determine what I say. To some degree I think I should just let the Gospel speak and the implications can be made regarding how to apply it. The world is always dealing with some kind of mess, and the themes of the Gospel are always getting to the heart of whatever particular mess we are dealing with, even if those specific manifestations aren't named specifically.  For those who care, here are a few thoughts on the particular and complex mess we are faced with now:
First, I think it is incredibly sad that I am expected to explicitly say that I am against racism, rather than it being assumed.
Unfortunately, I think racism and all kinds of prejudice are natural to fallen and broken human beings. We are lazy and we try to put people into categories to make it easier to make assumptions about who we are dealing with. We do this with skin colour. We do this with the type…