Friday, February 23, 2018

What stinks?

Daily reading: John 11:1-44

As we enter into this holy season of Lent … take time to ponder what is it that stinks in the metaphorical refrigerator of your soul?

What is it that clings to you and binds you from living a resurrected life?

What is decomposing and breaking down, creating fertile ground for something new to grow?

Eugene Peterson beautifully translates Romans 8:12 this way: This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.

John shares this amazing story with us because we need it.
In our moments of doubt,
In our moments of heart break,
In our moments of “come and see”
In our moments of realizing something stinks.

We all get bound up by the mess in our world, yet, Jesus loves us … Jesus comes to us and weeps with us … and invites us in brining life to our death.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Come and See

Daily reading: John 11:1-44

“Where have you laid him?”
 “Come and see”

Come and see, the very words Jesus uses to invite curious minds and souls into his community that turns our world up-side-down into resurrection living … “Come and see” spoken almost as an invitation for Jesus to do the impossible, offering the words that perhaps they do not realize usher in yet another moment that will surprise us.

Words of invitation that came from Jesus now come from them, “come and see.”

As they approach the tomb and Jesus requests that it be opened Martha replies “Lord, the smell will be awful! 
He’s been dead four days.”

Something is going to stink …
I can only imagine that Mary and Martha and the entire community are stuck …
Death is death
Why open the tomb?
It’s only going to smell …
Why make it worse?
Why didn’t you just come when we called?
Yet you chose to wait, to abide where you couldn’t help …

Grief can bring out really strange behaviors …
Family strife bubbles up and over
Dysfunction seems to get highlighted
Emotions are raw and patience is strained

So I can only image …

But we all know that this story is just as much about Jesus, and Martha and Mary and Lazarus as it is about us.

We too get bound and wrapped up in the mess of our world.
We too lose hope and no longer believe that God can make a way around impossible dead end situations.

We too put on our grave tending clothes and believe the constraints of our own limited circumstances.

We too believe that there is no point, go ahead and open it up, it’s going to stink.

But God with Us, the Word made flesh, doesn’t.
And so in the midst of the stench he prays and then calls “Lazarus, come out!” 

And Lazarus comes out,
Stinking of death
Wrapped in bands of cloth
He comes out, moving and breathing and alive!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Death and life

Daily reading: John 11:1-44

In this earthy moment of incarnation, with tears, chest heaving, with painful inhalations, Jesus weeps and joins the community in their moment of loss.

While resurrection will come, Jesus makes space for a pause, because our world is full of death and life moments.
We need to know that God is fully present in them all, not just at the celebrations, when everything is going right,
When there is joy in the room,
And love and light and laughter            
And enough good wine to keep the party going …
But when we are covered in the darkness of uncertainty and death …
In those life or death moments of waiting for a diagnosis in a space of what ifs
Or living into the diagnosis, when the what ifs take on flesh and blood,
Or in the moment of great loss; we need to know that we are not alone,
We need to have the faith that the psalmist has:
“where can I go from your spirit where can I flee from your presence? … If I went to heaven you would be there.  If I went down to the grave, you would be there too! ... If I said darkness will definitely hide me, the light will become night around me,” even the darkness isn’t too dark for you!”

We need to know when we are choking on our own grief, well aware that it might drag us down into its murky depths, that we are not alone.

That God is right there with us weeping.

Friday, February 2, 2018

John 3:16

Daily reading: John 3:1-21

“God so loved the world…” because we are prone to perish in this world.  While some see this passage as one that speaks to the afterlife, let us not miss the beauty of John’s gospel.  He often has double meanings to his statements, if not more than just two.  The well of wisdom present here is deep and life changing.  Let us not forget, after all, we are in the midst of a life changing conversation that Jesus has with a religious leader of his time.  This passage expands our understanding to see eternal life as something that is available to us now, not only after death.  It is a new way of life found in the gracious, abundant love of God!

Prayer: God help me to love the world in the expansive, inclusive, all out way that you do.  Blow through the hardened parts of my life, and break down the areas that have become ridged.   Amen.

Easter ... ready ... set ... go!

Matthew 28:1-10 About three years ago I committed to the Narrative Lectionary.   It is a four-year cycle that takes the congregation t...