That is the familiar way we enter this Lenten season. After all, we are all well-acquainted with temptation: alcohol, power, drugs, sex, food, money. All those ‘means’ are ways we seek to use stuff – and people -- to our own benefit.
The season of Lent begins. Roughly 40 days. Historically, a time of ‘giving up’ something as an expression of faith and of standing with the central figure of these days: Jesus.
Our theme this Lent asks us to consider whether the journey of these days is done out of fear and terror or out of gratitude and love.
We come to a significant transition. For Jesus and for his disciples 2000 years ago – and for such disciples today.
Do they – and we – follow Jesus because they/we want Jesus to give them/us what they/we want from Jesus?
‘Oh, it’s only you,’ she said as I walked into the room. She was awaiting a visit from someone special.
I did not measure up to that expectation – obviously.
This week’s thought begins with one of my prejudicial perspectives about contemporary Christianity. I believe it is way too focused on the individual and on the individual person’s relationship with God. Faith becomes a journey mainly of me-and-Jesus. I find that to be kind of a sinful, self-focused reinterpretation of God’s great grace and love that, John declares, was given for the world!
A fountain of connection and commonality among Christians or a source of controversy and difference?
Some claim they baptize the way it was done in the Bible: adults, believers, dunking, running water. A Christian in the Pentecostal tradition put forth that argument in a recent conversation; no babies, no sprinkling, no way!
Yes, Christmas 2, the second Sunday after Christmas. We are still in the Christmas season. Which after all does have 12 days, as the song reminds us.
Do you like the excitement of the holidays or do you yearn to return to normal routine?
As in our own families, the pregnant waiting is accomplished.
The Child is born. Our lives are forever changed.
As with our own families, ‘God with us’ is not just a gift, it is also a privileged responsibility: to bear, care for, and carry the Child.
Blessed ‘God-with-us’ and a very merry Christmas.
All through this Advent season we have been reflecting on our standing with God as we prepare for God.
Some of us may have a rather inflated opinion of our standing. We read our Bibles every day; we share in worship every week; we give our time and money; we serve on committees. We….we….we…….
Sometimes, such an emphasis on ‘we’ and on our goodness can shut out the goodness of God as central.