The Word that Reads You

We who are learned in the ways of Scripture, whether by professional preparation or by personal devotion or both, are vulnerable to a grave danger.  We are vulnerable at the point of taking control of the Word for our own designs.  Pastors may do this by taking the Word as a tool of the trade by which to earn a living, while other followers of Jesus as a means of various forms of gain.  How to be happy, raise children, make a million dollars, overcome depression, affirm self-esteem and much more. Here, then, is a challenge: Let the Word work!  You may have much of the Word down, but does it have you down?   You own it, but does the …

HEALING FOR GENOCIDAL HEARTS

24 years ago, over a 100 day period of time, nearly one million people were slaughtered in Rwanda.  It was not war, per se, and it was not a fascist government eliminating the opposition, per se.  Rather, it seems to have been anger and hostility smoldering beneath the surface, stoked into full flame by calculating leaders, spreading lies and fears, suspicion and schemes until erupting into murderous frenzy that was not spent until much of the country was turned into a cemetery.  After all these years, in numerous locations, many of them churches, the clothing, skeletal remains, and sometimes even corpses of the dead remain preserved, frozen in time, as a memorial to what happened.   Every April throughout the country …

Risen From The Book!

Does Easter make a difference?  Did the flurry and frenzy of Holy Week activity become an expression of the power that raises the dead?  Or was it more like a Memorial Day weekend?  Was it only that we recalled the One who made the supreme sacrifice for which we will always be thankful, but which remains essentially in the past—either the distant past of the actual event or a more recent past when perhaps we witnessed something like resurrection power?  Or did we celebrate something, or Someone, who demonstratively makes a difference today, this week, in our and the world’s story from now on? I have thought in recent years that just as Jesus rose from the grave in the …

Caiaphas, Caesar, Christ

Can we live in the way of Caiaphas or Caesar in the name of Christ? Are there multiple ways Messiah can wage the battle, achieve the victory and save the world and us? Does the supreme value of Kingdom-come justify whatever means are necessary to get there?   When Jesus told them what being Messiah would mean and Peter rebuked him, Jesus named him “Satan.” When James and John asked for special places on Jesus’ right and left, and Jesus says those places are already taken, Jesus may have meant the crosses that would be on either side of his. When James and John asked about fire-bombing the unwelcoming Samaritan village, Jesus rebuked them and continued on to Jerusalem, signaling …

The “Trumping” of Messiah

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it must have excited and energized the crowds who welcomed him.  Garments spread on the path, palm branches waving in the air, jubilant cries lifted to the heavens: “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest! Welcome, Jesus, long awaited Messiah of God and Israel!” A number must have enthused, “It’s about time!  We saw how he ran from the crowds who would have made him King after he fed them; we heard how he rebuked those who proclaimed his royal qualifications; our hearts burned with zeal as he cleared out the Temple; we wept when friends told us what happened on the mountain when he dazzled them and the Voice confirmed who He IS!  Yes, this is long …