April 7, 2019
March 31, 2019
This strange parable of Jesus may prompt some questions. Like, “Why didn’t five of the young women bring enough oil?” “Where could they buy more in the middle of the night?” “Couldn’t they have shared lamps with the other five?” “Might they have just stayed close and huddled under the five lamps that were lit?” “Isn’t this a missed opportunity for some trail angels to show up with some oil?” Seems like a good idea. The five were foolish to leave – since it was at that moment the bridegroom showed up. They missed out. They’re off getting oil, and not focused on the main thing.
March 24, 2019
God’s invitation is to something more than entertaining. God extends an invitation to come and die, to give our lives, to live for others, to serve the least and the last, the dirty and disturbing, hurt, angry, and broken creations all around us. God extends an invitation to visit hospitals, clean toilets, do taxes, bake bread, teach children, buy diapers, listen more, give more, and sometimes take on more than we think we can bear because it lifts up someone else.
March 17, 2019
If we are like those workers in the parable who show up all day, working in the hot sun, we might grumble – we might feel entitled to a little extra thanks, maybe even some bonus pay, something that says we are just a little more appreciated than those who showed up late to finish the job. Just like how those of us who have grown up in the church our whole lives, who have been faithful and supportive of the church might be offended by the awful sinner who on his deathbed longs for the love and grace of Jesus in their last moments. God welcomes each one home. Does God’s generosity offend us?
March 9, 2019
This dust we will receive on our foreheads in just a few minutes is a reminder of our mortality – a powerful symbol that can serve to focus our hearts and actions as we enter the season of Lent, on the things we do and don’t do, but most of all our need for a savior. These ashen marks are messy and dirty, but they are intentionally shaped into a cross. It’s for a reason. Through the cross of Christ, we are welcomed, dusty as we are, into newness of life, granted forgiveness, gifted grace and mercy, and welcomed into the Kingdom of heaven. We who start as dust and finish our earthly existence as the same, are named holy and righteous in Christ Jesus.