Tuesday, May 30, 2006

that wily Spirit

So, this Sunday's Pentecost: the birth of the church. (Happy birthday!)

We get to celebrate the descent of the spirit on the people gathered--it came on Pentecost like tongues of fire.

The Spirit has also been described with other metaphors: in the waters of baptism, as a dove, in the wind.

How do you picture the Spirit?

Monday, May 22, 2006

that's quite a definition for the church!

In one of this week's scripture readings, Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul offers a prayer that includes all kinds of teaching.

He asks that God would give us (well, the Ephesians, but we read ourselves in there, too...) a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we'd know God with "the eyes of our hearts."

Then, he talks about God's power, and, finally, mentions that the church is his body, and "the fullness of him who fills all in all."

That's a big job description, I think.

What do you think it would look like to be Christ's body, as the fullness of him who fills all in all?

(I'm wondering especially what it would look like in the little details...)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

buddy christ?

Our scripture texts for this weekend are:
John 15:9-17 and Acts 10:44-48.

In John's Gospel, Jesus redefines his relationship to the discipes. He gives them a commandment, and then invites them to relate to each other and to him differently:
"'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends...'" )John 15:12-15a)

My question is: have you had friendships that have lived into what you think Jesus is talking about?

In the irreverant movie, "Dogma," the Catholic church unveils a new campaign with a new Jesus-hero: buddy Christ. Part of me likes this image. It reminds me that Jesus is my friend. But I certainly wouldn't want to reduce Jesus' love to cheap sentimentality or commercialism.

So my second question is: how do you describe "friendship" without sounding cheezy?

Monday, May 08, 2006

the matrix, mother's day and jesus

Our scripture passages this weekend are:
Acts 8:26-40 and John 15:1-8

In John's gospel, we get this lovely image of Jesus as a vine, in which we are branches; our being and power are found in him. (Here's verse 5: I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.)

Which makes me think of a matrix. Dictionary.com defines "matrix" as: "A situation or surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained." Jesus' vine is a sort of a matrix for us all.

Of course, matrix can also mean womb, and it comes with a decidedly feminine root word (like "matriarchal" and "maternity").

So, it seems to me that we get to celebrate Jesus' being a mothering power in the world this weekend.

In England, they call this weekend "Mothering Day," which seems pleasantly inclusive of a number of life-giving activities that I'm grateful for.

Not least of which is God's love...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

a bible question for this week...

Our scripture for Sunday is from Acts 4:5-12. It is:
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners* stand in their midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,* whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus* is
“the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.”*
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’

My question for the day is: how do we know when we are doing things "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth," and what does that look like?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

gotta get your community somewhere...

I've felt hungry for more chances to share thoughts and life with folks in worship--things keep moving so fast on Sunday mornings, and I'm not yet good about just inviting folks over for dinner. So, I'm hopeful that we might can share our thoughts online. Not that I want us to stare at separate computer screens and imagine that it's community, but so that we can start to remember that we're supposed to be a part of Christ's community even when we're staring at separate computer screens.

Wanna join me?