Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Revelation of Jesus -- Apocalypse Now But Not Yet

The 6th Sunday of Easter's text in John 14, as well as in 1 Peter, led to some further reflection of the failed prediction of the rapture on May 21. Nonetheless, Jesus promises to return and reveal himself to us. We live in the tension of Jesus being present to us now though mediated in Word and Sacrament until the time he reveals himself once and for all.

An excerpt from my sermon:

Of course the temptation for Christians throughout the ages is to be so focused on the eternal life somewhere far away in heaven that this life gets ignored. We lose sight of the reality that God cares deeply for this world and so these messages point us to the work for us to do here and now. But we must always walk in the midst of the tension that the way Jesus is revealed to us now, mediated through the Word and sacraments, is less than the fullness that we are promised. Yes, Jesus stands alongside the poor and helpless, among the suffering, and that should compel us to act for them. But our actions should always be seen as signs that point to the great day when Christ comes again to usher in his kingdom when all of those ways that sin is made known are wiped away. Hunger will be no more. Poverty will be no more. Suffering will be no more. Death will be no more.
The full sermon can be read here.

It can be listened to here:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kids listen... even to the gospel

Yesterday, my five-year old and I were playing the rhyming. I pick a word, and he says a word that rhymes with it. Then he picks a word and I rhyme. I am thankful that when he threw out the word "bucket" my censor kicked and I didn't blurt out the first thing that came to mind, AND that my wife shortly thereafter rescued me with "Nantucket."

But then we were cruising along.

"door" -- "floor"
"power" -- "sour"
"why" -- "fly"
Then I said "pen" and he replied with "sen."

"That's not a word, buddy. It needs to be a word."
"Yes it is."
"No it's not."
"Uh-huh!" And then he threw out a quickly rambled sentence in which the only word I really recognized was "bath-tized." (For some reason baptized comes out bath-tized, which is ok for me right now)
"What was that?"
"Sen. you know, like when people are bath-tized."
"Ummm..... no, I still don't know what you mean."
"Oh yeah," he said, "I guess you have to die because of it."
THEN it hit me... Sen was really SIN.
"OH! You mean sin!"
"Yeah, that's what I said! When you are bath-tized, your sen is washed away."
"Sin, buddy, sin [emphasizing the "i" sound]
"Oh, ok..." and then we were off to something else.

A brief encounter with the gospel because kids listen and will repeat at the most unexpected moment. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rapture or Resurrection? Enjoy May 22

Back in Advent, for our mid-week service I spent two evenings on a discussion of the rapture and some scriptural reflection. In the midst of all of this hub-bub with Pastor Camping, I felt it was appropriate to pull this out again. You can listen to both sessions and more at my podcast.

Here is the second session that discusses the meaning of passages that are often lifted up by proponents of the rapture.

Post edited because of broken link... all is fixed and working now. audio is now working.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Summer of Superheroes

My post over at The Other Journal's Mediation Blog: Apocalypse and Messiahs.

An excerpt:
Many of these superhero films contain hallmarks of the apocalyptic genre: fantastical creatures, the natural world gone awry, messiahs and anti-messiahs, ultimate battles between good and evil. Thanks to CGI animations, the evil can come to life and produce the breath-taking moments of suspense when the hero is brought to the dark edge of existence, only to break through in triumph and victory. The apocalyptic finds its way into our consciousness through a medium that seems custom made for it.

Friday, May 06, 2011

2nd Sunday of Easter sermon

Beginning a new thing this week... sharing my sermons here rather than just keep them on my podcast.

I will include an excerpt, and a link to the whole text, plus embed the mp3 file to listen.

Our inheritance is that we are given a share in God’s very life. And this life is not something that is inaccessible to us now. We are given a share of it even now. This new life has begun to take root in us, as it has in Naomi.

The new life is the constant and eternal love of God made known in Jesus. The resurrection signals that this new life is the life God has desired to give us from all eternity. So we don’t see anything “new” but something unchanging which can only seem entirely new as our lives are so corrupted by the power of death around us.

Here is our living hope that God’s love for us has not changed, has not wavered, despite our seeking after other new and innovative gods which we believe might serve us better. The new life given us in the resurrection is the life that lasts and does not change. So God changes us that we might enjoy it eternally with him.

Read the whole sermon here.

Listen to it now.