Dan Olson. PHD
Luke 17:11-19
11 mins 41 secs
Views: 24
This Sunday's Gospel reading is from Luke 17, telling the familiar story of the ten lepers who came to Jesus for healing. All were healed, but only one of the ten returned to give thanks to God for the miracle, and moreover he was a despised Samaritan. The lesson for us readers seems self-evident: we ought always to actively give thanks to God for the blessings we receive from his hand, and we should not be like the ungrateful nine, denying God the praise he deserves for his grace and mercy. But is that all there is to it? If the story is intended as an exhortation to behave in a certain way, it seems to be missing a key element: motivation. What penalty is there for ingratitude, and conversely, what reward is there for gratitude? The answers to these questions are not easy to find in the story. The key must lie in the very end, where Jesus tells the grateful ex-leper that his faith has made him well. This is not an unusual way for Jesus to end one of these encounters. Do we really understand what he means?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 18:1-8
18 mins 4 secs
Views: 26
This week’s Gospel is the parable of the persistent widow who receives justice from an unjust judge and our Old Testament reading is the story of Jacob wrestling with God all night and receiving an out of joint hip, a blessing and a new identity. Our epistle is Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” It is a powerful dose of the value of persistence, but what do unjust judges, wrestling blessings from God and working quickly before it is too late have to do with our relationship with a holy, loving and generous God
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 18:9-14
14 mins 30 secs
Views: 35
In our readings for this week, our psalm reminds us of the joy and blessedness we have because of our freedom in Christ. Psalm 84 is a prayer of longing for the house of the Lord. It is the cry of the heart of the Levite who presumably wrote this during a period when temple worship was prohibited. Not only was worship banned, but also any access to God's house was forbidden. The author gives voice to his longing for the sweet nearness to God in his temple that he had known in the past. "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Have we ever felt this way? It seems so poignant that here is a priest who has no place to worship. Imagine if this should happen to us. How would we react? Well the good news is that our bodies are the Lord's temple, so we really don't need a temple or church to worship God or to come into His presence. Denying us access to the church and corporate worship will not bar God's presence from our lives because, Jesus makes His home in our hearts when we ask Him in. Also, we have the Holy Spirit who teaches us and instructs us in the way that we should go. So, while we would probably miss our place of worship and the fellowship, we would not be without access to God. In Paul's letter to Timothy, we have a wonderful example of a life lived in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Written while Paul is imprisoned in Rome, we can see from what he writes, that he has complete access to God. Clearly, Paul is someone who is not only in tune with the Holy Spirit; he also does nothing without the Holy Spirit's guidance. Can we say the same thing? Things to ponder
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 19:1-10
10 mins 10 secs
Views: 27
From the time we are children, we are taught the difference between right and wrong, between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, between good guys and bad guys. We have expectations on how teachers and leaders behave and who they hang out with. This week, in our Gospel, Jesus once again turns everything upside down, breaks the accepted conventions and honors a rich tax collector by inviting himself to Zaccheasus’ house. In our Old Testament reading, God also turns things upside down by saying that He is tired of the sacrifices and offerings of Israel and tired of their various purifying fasts and rituals. Instead He says: Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:16-18 Ultimately, it is not our efforts but the redemptive work of God that forgives our sins, makes us acceptable and washes us white as snow. This Sunday at the second service we will share in the joy of the angels as we baptize a new member into the family of God.