Lent 44: Christ following

29 03 2013

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, TNIV)

On that evening before Jesus died, he gave his disicples the above command. To Love. Before that he had washed their feet. Talk about love. Those feet had to be smelly. But that would be nothing compare with the love they’d witness the next day.

So I’m brainstorming some ways that we show love to one another… Lent 44: Christ following some of these examples are things we do within our families or circles of friends… some are within the body of Christ, many overlap. They’re the ones that are coming to mind first.

Love one another: foot washing, care taking, truth telling, hand holding, diaper changing, bus stop waiting, stomach feeding, gas grilling, fridge cleaning, shoulder for crying, errand running, coffee making, meal making, meal serving, dish washing, toilet scrubbing, bread providing, trash picking, attitude changing, wrong admitting, outreach participating, big kid sitting, worship coordinating, after worship or other event cleaning, before events prepping, sign fixing, leak patching, bulletin copying, creative gifts using, sound monitoring, instrument playing, hand shaking, breath holding instead of temper flaring, letter mailing, encouragement giving.

Christ following, Body of Christ being, circle of friends being, family living… love.

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Lent 24: Beyond the playground

8 03 2013

Repentance is a big Lenten theme. To repent is to change one’s ways, to turn away from one’s current way of doing something, and to do something different.  Lent 24: repentance... and meaning it

How do we get beyond talking about repentance as a good idea, as something we should do… to actually repenting? How do we allow God to change our hearts and actions and words and thoughts, so they reflect God more? Too often I think we approach repentance like the playground truck pictured here. It’s fun, and useful to play on, to talk on, to connect with others around… but it’s not actually that useful for anything besides play on this particular playground. There’s nothing wrong with this truck on a playground. I like it. But when it comes to following God, we need to take ourselves out of the conversational mode, and into the action mode.

What would it look like if we were to actually make some changes that we felt God wants us to make? What would those changes be? And what needs to happen, for us to take these changes beyond the playground (as good as the playground is) and into our lives?





Lent 10: Love is OXOX

23 02 2013

I know it’s supposed to mean “Hugs and Kisses”, this statement on the Valentine Kajsa brought home for us last week. But it’s rather cute to also think of love as two oxen. Never thought of it that way before. Oxes are supposedly strong animals, right? So, I suppose one could say, that love IS like an ox. Or two. Love IS that strong–or can be. Lent 10: Love is Ox.I don’t always feel that, or act that, and certainly yesterday, (Friday, Day 10), I was neither feeling nor acting that strong love. I was impatient, quickly frustrated, and taking it out on my daughter who was probably equally impatient and frustrated. Sigh. Some days are like that.

But hopefully my love for others will continue to take steps forward, as far as the level of strength. And, by strength, I guess I really mean how strong I actually am, on the days when I feel weak. In love –especially as it reflects my patience level. Because on those “I’m feeling super weak and frustrated” days, I need to rely more on the ONE who makes me strong in spite of myself. The ONE whose love is the strongest. Stronger, even than hugs and kisses and stronger, even, than two OXen.

Love is, among other things, OXOX.





Lent 7: glitz and glamour

20 02 2013

Once again, I tried to post last night, and it just didn’t work. Only this time it was my brain not working, not the website. So here’s yesterday’s photo: “glitz and glamour”. I took it during the day, as I was thinking about the devil’s second temptation to Jesus: worship me, and you can have all these kingdoms of the world…  the devil didn’t actually say, at least not according to the translations I’ve read, “glitz and glamour”. My words. But in the TNIV, he said,  ” authority and splendor”. The devil led Jesus to a high place, showed him all the kingdoms… and then offered them all to Jesus in exchange for Jesus worshiping him, the devil. Lent 7: glitz and glamour

Authority and splendor, glitz and glamour…. whatever we call it, it’s settling for earthly power and praise, in exchange for worshiping someone or something instead of God.

So, the question is, what things/people/situations draw us away from worshiping God, and worshiping something or someone else? I don’t mean on Sunday mornings, or in our regular Christian worship services… though if that’s an issue, one could certainly reflect on that. I mean the daily living stuff–how do our lives reflect our God-worship? And do they need to be a little less earthly glitz and glamour, and a little more God-power?

 

 





Lent 5: current temptation

17 02 2013

This week’s road sign is “One Way”. The scripture is Luke 4:1-13–Jesus tempted in the wilderness. Not much coming out of this brain tonight…not at this point, at least. But here’s my photo for the day: one of the things that is most tempting these days. Television. More specifically, “Castle”.

20130217-231927.jpg





Day 35: needed

13 04 2011

needed

Lord and donkey–those are two words that I would not typically think go together. But then again, Lord and sinners, Lord and manger, Lord and cross, Lord and empty tomb….none of these word pairings fit our stereotype of what a Lord might be. Yet, Jesus doesn’t fit our normal stereotype anyhow. Never did, never will.

This Sunday’s Palm Sunday gospel passage, from Matthew 21:1-11, illustrates this even more. Jesus sends two disciples on an errand to get a donkey. If it’s not shocking enough that the Lord sent for a donkey, Jesus instructed his disciples to tell anyone who asked about it, “the Lord needs it.” Needs? If Jesus is Lord, why does he need anything? can’t he snap his fingers and have things appear? A regal horse, perhaps, instead of a lowly donkey? Why send the two disciples?

It’s part of the Christian faith that I both appreciate and am puzzled at, at times: the fact that God needs people. Including me. God needs us to help carry out the mission he began while Jesus was on earth. Talk about risk-taking. It seems much easier to do things oneself, than to leave it in the often-erring hands of humans. But then again, this is the same God who pairs words like Lord and manger, Lord and cross, Lord and empty tomb, and Lord and donkey.

These phone book pages help me think about the bigger world beyond my circles. The names and organizations listed on these pages (including Christ Covenant Church) represent God’s bigger kingdom here on earth. And even that, this phone book, represents only a small portion of the earth. And though at times it might seem ridiculous that Jesus Christ needs and uses each of us who call him Lord, it is the reality of following this humble King.

God’s blessings as you discern where God needs you to participate in his kingdom. And God’s peace and strength, as you faithfully follow.

Imagine the possibilities, if all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, responded in faithful obedience….





Christmas Trappings

2 12 2010

This Sunday I’m preaching on a John the Baptist text: Matthew 3:1-12. John the Baptist is one of those people from the Bible who I love to read about—but he makes me uncomfortable enough that I’m glad he’s not preaching here in Harleysville! He shows up in Judea, looking and probably smelling rather weird, and preaching, “Repent!”… and “Produce fruit worthy of repentance!” Yeah, not a message we like to hear.

Scott Hoezee, (from the Center for Excellence in Preaching), observes, that if John the Baptist were here today, he might be calling on Christians to repent about the way we actually celebrate Advent and Christmas. Touché.

Christmas Trappings... waiting to be unpacked

The way I celebrate Advent and Christmas reflects an honest struggle. I want to celebrate Christ’s birth, anticipate his coming, and live into the reality of being a person of hope in a world overcome with problems. Yet I also love the Christmas trappings. I’m not sure I love the word “trappings”, but I understand it, and give in to it. Christmas trappings, for me, includes the decorations, some shopping, lights…lights…lights, Christmas baking, music… yes, I even like the guy from the North Pole. No, I don’t believe in him. Yes, I like him. Mostly.

It’s not that I think we Christians shouldn’t have fun, or enjoy the season. But despite my good intentions, I end up focusing more on the secular nature of Christmas than I want to. Or than I want to want to. And it’s not even that I have no religious decorations, nativities, candles, spiritual ornaments… I do. And I love them, and love to look at them throughout the season. But I still struggle.

“Repent!” John preached.

Ok.. I’ll repent. Then what? Then what do I do with this tension? I have lots of answers… and I also have Christmas decorations that I’m going to unpack. But the reality is, I’m so thankful that John the Baptist doesn’t live in Harleysville. Because he makes me a bit too uncomfortable.

And maybe he should.