Strangers

Week 6, Day 3 Deuteronomy 10. 17-20; Matthew 25. 31-46 This post is an edited version of something I wrote a year ago. It happens to be on topic for the texts we have this week (which you can find below). This is a bit longer than my usual post, but since this is also probably the only thing I will have time for between now and Sunday, I thought you would forgive the length It is not my intention here to offer a solution to the manifold problems facing our nation and the world right now. That would be well above my pay grade, at any rate. Nor is it my goal to castigate an individual politician, though you all know I am not above succumbing to that temptation from time to time. What I wan

For the Neighbor--Pt III

Week 5, Day 5 Matthew 22. 34-40 For the Neighbor—Pt III “Justice is what love looks like in public” Cornel West Matthew 22. 34-40 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ Lk 19. 1-10 (Read the whole story below) "Jesu

For the Neighbor--Pt II

Week 5, Day 4 Matthew 22. 34-40 “Justice is what love looks like in public” Cornel West Matthew 22. 34-40 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ Lk 16. 19-31 (Read the whole story below) “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and

For the neighbor...Pt 1

Week 5, Day 2 Matthew 22. 34-40 “Justice is what love looks like in public” Cornel West We have a short text this week, from Matthew 22. 34-40, that will provide the background to our conversations about three other gospel stories: When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments

Love/Hate/Love

Week 4, Day 5 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. I Corinthians 12. 27 I love the church. That said, however, I have to admit I’ve always had a rather ambivalent relationship with her. She has shaped me and malformed me; changed me for the better and for the worse. She has brought me to moments of great joy and made me spitting mad—sometimes both the same day, or hour. When I was young the church offered me a place of stability and predictability when the rest of my life offered neither. In my college and seminary years she bought me expansive challenges but also suffocating limitations. The church has thrilled me and bored me. She has encouraged me and disappo

Exceeding Abundantly!!

For Sunday, January 14, 2018 Week 3, Day 3 John 2:1-11 1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4 And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, "Now draw some

A baptism of repentance for...

Week 2, Day 5 Mark 1. 1-11 John the Baptist is starting a new movement. He comes out of the wilderness, a place of mystery and privation and danger—but also a place spiritually minded people go to when they want to connect with God. The story gives the feeling that the John who came out of the wilderness was not the same man who went in to the wilderness. John doesn’t leave the wilderness entirely, however. Perhaps he’s too wild himself for that. He comes back to the edge of civilization—just across the muddy Jordan River, and preaches there “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. Let’s think about that for a moment: Baptism: from the Greek word “baptizo”. It means to to

The beginning began quite a while ago...

Week 2, Day 3 Mark 1. 1-11 Mark begins “the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” by quoting Exodus, Isaiah and Malachi. Think about that for a minute. Mark, and the other authors of our New Testament books—the people closest to Jesus in time and place and understanding, saw Jesus as necessarily and inescapably linked to Judaism. Why is that, do you think? And why, if the New Testament writers present Jesus as so thoroughly Jewish, have Jews and Christians spent much of the last 2000 years acting like demented siblings in a horribly dysfunctional family? Why are Christianity and Judaism separate religions? Are they separate religions? Reading the opening of Mark’s gospel this time

The beginning of the good news...

Week 2, Day 1 Mark 1. 1-11 The text for this week covers the first 11 verses of the Gospel of Mark, with a focus on the baptism of Jesus. The entire passage is below, but for this Day 1 post we will focus on just the first 3 verses. The two words “good news” in verse 1 are a translation of a single Greek word: “euangelion” (often translated as “gospel”). We get the English word “evangelical” from euangelion. Just as Christians are people who follow Christ, evangelicals are people who live by the evangel—“good news” or the gospel of Jesus. But the word “euangelion” was also used for political announcements. The Roman government routinely issued euangellions—“gospels” of Caesar, using th

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