Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He's Not Here

Lectionary passage Matthew 28:1-10

Jesus is everywhere, right? Actually, Matthew records one place where Jesus no longer was: the grave. Jesus was no longer in the place where he was buried. We often go looking for Jesus in the place where we once knew him to be, the place where we last encountered him. But just as Jesus had already moved on from that garden tomb, he’s so often ahead of us in resurrecting a new reality far better than what we had hoped, dreamed or imagined. But those (who at least wanted to tend to where Jesus body had been) discovered the evidence of Christ’s resurrection, and they ran into Christ face to face. He redirected their focus from where he had been placed after his death to where he was at work: here and now, so go and tell! We don’t need to rehash where and how our hopes and dreams for life got buried, we can focus on how hopes, dreams, and lives get resurrected in the kingdom that is alive and active in the here and now!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Lectionary Passage: Matthew 21:1-11

When it comes to celebrating, a parade is a great way for everyone to blast! But not everyone in Jerusalem was having a blast on we have come to know as Palm Sunday. Many were glad to celebrate salvation in human form. But some were disturbed. Why? Maybe because Jesus messed up their plans! We all want to have it our way. Make our own plans. Plan our day. Our life. When Jesus shows up, everything changes. Changes of plans, interruptions, and disturbances- what good can come out of them? Actually, what good can happen unless things as they are get disturbed?! The Lord just loves messing up our plans. Maybe we can come to realize that we need to be messed up real good. I hope we get so many interruptions to the way things are in this world that God’s kingdom breaks into our plans, lives, and our world in ways we have never dreamed of!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Lectionary Passage Ezekiel 37:1-14

Ezekiel had a vision. He saw clearly how devastated the spiritual community was. And he also saw clearly how the hand of God could bring about the restoration of God’s people. Years of a poor spiritual diet led to an emaciation of the spiritual body, like old, dry, dismembered skeletons long since picked clean by vultures and left unburied like a vast ancient deserted battlefield. The spiritual body no longer had an intact spine to stand up to all kinds of spiritual quackery of that day and age. Neither did it have the spiritual muscle to face the issues of the day; the spiritual skin to hold its shape was long gone. And most importantly the breath of the living spirit of God was long past: only scattered bones remained as a reminder of the life that once was, and is no more. It was the bleakest of pictures. But as clearly as Ezekiel saw the devastated spiritual condition of God’s people, he was willing to let God paint a new picture in his mind. God’s vision was one of a miraculous and complete resurrection. As I look forward to celebrating Christ’s resurrection this Easter, I so long for the resurrection of so many things: God’s church resurrected in power, the troubled nations across the globe resurrected to peace and freedom, our city resurrected to health and employment, our nation resurrected to prosperity and joy, and each of us, myself included, resurrected to a beautiful picture which only God can both envision and paint. God is still in the resurrection business, and I can’t wait to see all these areas that look like bones of life in times past become vibrant life in the here and now! Lord, take us from bony to beauty!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Looks Aren't Everything

Lectionary Reading 1 Samuel 16:1-13 If only we saw through the eyes of God. It’s often as we look back on life and history that we come to appreciate the wisdom of God. From our perspective, David was a natural for leadership. It didn’t look that way at first. The youngest son, a shepherd, and not the biggest baddest boy in the family. But God looked on the heart of this young man who had learned the courage to proctect his flock and God saw the potential. In every area of our life, we seek God’s wisdom. He sees beyond the earthly images that impress us. Outward appearances are not necessarily an indication of inward reality. But, ironically, even initially unlikely choices may eventually be seen for what they truly are. David was not initially thought to be in the running for God’s choice of leader. But when he was summoned, the crowd could see that he was not a bad looking candidate, and the spirit of God came on him with evidence that would last a life-time. It seems that looks aren’t everything, but when we begin to see what unlikely things God has in store, things can look pretty awesome.