The Rev. Carole Anderson
John 12:1-8:0
13 mins 4 secs
Views: 8
This week, our Gospel (John 12:1-8) continues with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. It is now six days before the Passover and Jesus and his disciples have come to Bethany to spend time with friends before they reach their final destination. Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus had earlier raised from the dead host a dinner for them in their home. What is interesting here is what we learn about each of these people and how they react to Jesus. Mary is moved out of her devotion and probably thankfulness because of the restoration of her brother to life. She takes a pound of expensive ointment and anoints Jesus' feet and wipes them with her hair. Mary's act of devotion was costly and unusual. Costly because the ointment was very expensive, unusual because respectable women did not unbind their hair in public. Further it showed her humility in that it was a servant's work to attend to the feet of the guests. Clearly Mary is devoted to The Lord. Then we have Judas Iscariot, who we know is about to betray Jesus, His reaction to what Mary has done says volumes about his character. He is angry that they did not take the ointment and sell it so they would have money to give to the poor. But, in reality, it seems that he is not interested in the poor at all. Judas, it seems, is in charge of the moneybag and has been helping himself to what is put in it. So he has only his self interest at heart. There are some commentaries that suggest that this may have been the last straw for Judas. It is here that he makes the decision to betray Jesus for the 30 pieces of silver. Jesus every mindful of what is ahead for all of them says, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 15:11-32
18 mins 59 secs
Views: 9
Last week, our readings pointed to our need to repent. This week our readings are focused on God’s forgiveness. In our Gospel, we hear the story of the prodigal son and the forgiving father. It is a summary of God’s love for us, and the extent to which he will go, to extend grace, to forgive and to rejoice in our return. The purpose of the Incarnation is the redemption and reconciliation of mankind with the Triune God. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 13:1-9
14 mins 57 secs
Views: 10
Appropriate to Lent, our readings this week are filled with invitations to come to God, but also warnings and reminders of our need to repent, to watch, to bear fruit… He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. --Luke 13:2-3 So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'" --Luke 13:7-9 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; --Isaiah 55:1-9 We are given grace, and forgiveness, and invitations to a lavish feast. We have been entrusted with the Word of God, with the revelation of the Father in the life of the Son. But we are also called to repent, to bear fruit, to seek God above all else.
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 13:31-35:0
13 mins 34 secs
Views: 12
This week, we skip ahead several chapters to arrive at our Gospel reading in Luke 13:31-35. So much has happened since Jesus began His journey. He has returned to Galilee, met skepticism in His hometown, healed many on the way to Capernaum, called His first disciples, gathered crowds with His profound teaching, made powerful enemies of the Pharisees, comforted and encouraged his cousin John the Baptist who was about to be executed, sent out his 12 disciples on their first solo mission, fed the 5000, and was transfigured on the mountain where he spoke with Moses and Elijah. It may be that Jesus is responding to the Pharisees’ false warning. Jesus already knows what the plan is and He knows who is in charge. Nevertheless, Jesus is filled with compassion for what He knows is coming upon Jerusalem. So He replies, Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.' O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ' Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:1-13
14 mins 47 secs
Views: 8
This week is the first week of Lent and our readings are amazing. There are themes of salvation, protection, trust, provision, gratitude, tithing, proclaiming, fasting, and victory over temptation. Our Gospel quotes our Old Testament reading, and our Epistle quotes our Psalm for the week. I encourage you to read through them before Sunday and let them soak into your heart and mind. And may this first week of Lent draw you closer to God; deeper in your understanding, and more aware of your dependence on His mercy and care.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 9:29-36
14 mins 51 secs
Views: 6
What does the glory of God look like on a human face? When Moses went up to the mountain to speak with God, he came down with a face that was glowing with the reflected glory of God. It gave credence to his claim to be speaking God’s commands, but it was so frightening that he veiled his face. Jesus took three of his disciples up a mountain to pray, and his face changed and his clothes became dazzling white with the glory of God present in Jesus. Peter is so stunned, he makes random suggestions about building booths. The disciples are given a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. And we, who live post-ascension, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, should be transformed by gazing on the glory of the Lord.
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 6:27-38
14 mins 40 secs
Views: 41
Last week in the Gospel of Luke, just after choosing the 12 disciples, Jesus began to teach them how to be apostles. In the Gospel for this Sunday we continue on to the second part of this teaching in Luke chapter 6:27-38. Our reading is part of what is called "Luke's sermon on the Plain", which parallels Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Remember that the Beatitudes go deeper than material poverty and physical hunger, Jesus is telling them --and us-- that we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness and be poor in spirit. The verses following the Beatitudes are a point-by-point negative counterpart to the blessings described. But now Jesus' teaching takes a more personal turn as He describes how they --and we-- must love our enemies and not judge others. Here is a sample of what we will hear on Sunday: "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Love your enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return." How can we ever measure up to Jesus' standards? Well the answer is we cannot do it without the Holy Spirit. But thanks be to God! He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 6:17-26
16 mins 45 secs
Views: 21
Some of us become Christians in quiet gradual ways, and many enter into various ministries in response to nudges from the Holy Spirit or reasonable alignment of skills and talents. However, our readings this week are about more dramatic moments of calling. Isaiah is so overwhelmed with an image of God’s glory and an understanding of his purpose, that he offers his life and voice to that mission. That decision shapes and defines the rest of his life; and that prophetic voice shapes the life of Israel and still speaks to us today. Peter is so overwhelmed by Jesus that he falls at his knees and answers Jesus’ call to become a fisher of men. And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he calls them back from their spiritual ambitions to the core of the Gospel, and reminds them that Jesus called each of the disciples, apostles, and even Paul himself to carry on the mission of God. Our calling does not set us apart or above one another, but instead, God calls us uniquely and individually into a shared life and a common mission. How have you experienced God’s call? What ministry is He calling you into?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 5:1-11
19 mins 9 secs
Views: 16
Some of us become Christians in quiet gradual ways, and many enter into various ministries in response to nudges from the Holy Spirit or reasonable alignment of skills and talents. However, our readings this week are about more dramatic moments of calling. Isaiah is so overwhelmed with an image of God’s glory and an understanding of his purpose, that he offers his life and voice to that mission. That decision shapes and defines the rest of his life; and that prophetic voice shapes the life of Israel and still speaks to us today. Peter is so overwhelmed by Jesus that he falls at his knees and answers Jesus’ call to become a fisher of men. And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he calls them back from their spiritual ambitions to the core of the Gospel, and reminds them that Jesus called each of the disciples, apostles, and even Paul himself to carry on the mission of God. Our calling does not set us apart or above one another, but instead, God calls us uniquely and individually into a shared life and a common mission. How have you experienced God’s call? What ministry is He calling you into?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:21-30
14 mins 34 secs
Views: 23
This week, we continue on in Luke following Jesus' return to His hometown after a year away traveling and teaching his disciples. (Luke 4:21-30) At first, it seems that the people are pleased to hear from Jesus. Verse 22 tells us, “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” The amazement doesn’t last long though, this is the hometown crowd, and they have grown up with him. Can you just imagine the eyebrows lifting as they turn to each other and say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?" Jesus, hearing their reaction, says to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum. I tell you the truth; no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.” Strong words for this Jewish, hometown, audience. These words made the people furious and they tried to take Jesus by force to the top of a hill nearby to throw him off, but He walked right through the crowd and went on his way. His time had not yet come. How do you see Jesus? Who is He to you? How do you react when convicted of your sin?