“And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors.”
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
My mother-in-law gave the men in the family a great gift of a guided fishing tour down the South Trinity River. We were going to spend two days with a guide who had caught fish worthy of the title, “River Monsters.” His name was Captain Kirk, and he was going to boldly take us where we had never been before. We were setting out to catch alligator gar. Captain Kirk holds the world record for the largest alligator gar caught on rod and reel. His record-setting fish was 9’ 6” long and 365 lbs. We were setting out to catch monsters just like this. This opportunity was at one moment exciting and terrifying. Not only were these fish big, but they had teeth…
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – I Corinthians 4:7
Hanging in a small kitchen, just over a hotplate used for cooking, in a small town in France, was a small painting depicting the mocking of Christ before his crucifixion. It was a nice piece of art, but the owner thought it was just an old icon with little to no value. One day, a visitor to the house suggested she have the art evaluated.
She took it off the wall and delivered it to some experts for an evaluation. What she was later told was that the small icon was, in fact, a painting by the famous Italian painter Cenni di Pepo…
On November 29, 1965, Claire Bauman started a temporary, part-time job. Working for the Cherry Hill police department in Cherry Hill, Pennsylvania, Claire became the crossing guard at Horace Mann Elementary. On her first day, she stopped traffic and escorted the children across a busy street. On Thursday, June 16, 2022, Claire Bauman retired from her temporary, part-time job after 57 years.
Claire Bauman walked countless numbers of children across that busy street for over three generations. Day after day, she made sure that the students made it to class safely. To celebrate her 57 years of service, the police department and the school arranged for her to be picked up from home in a beautiful classic convertible Chevrolet…
Growing up in the Methodist church, I learned the Lord’s Prayer at an early age. We said it in church every Sunday. I suppose the line that most captured my imagination and caused me to think about my theology was the phrase, ”Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth just as it is in heaven.” Perhaps like a lot of people, I couldn’t imagine how anything close to God’s perfect will in heaven could come to pass on earth. Earth is fallen and so filled with evil . Why bother trying to emulate heaven where surely everything is perfect as perfect can be. Billy Graham once said, “We will all be perfect in heaven because we will be in God’s presence and no sin can exist in His presence.” Well, there seems to be plenty of sin on earth, so what’s the point of trying to eradicate it. Sin is like a cancer that continues to grow, and despite our best efforts, it still sometimes spreads throughout our bodies.
As I grew in my faith, I began to realize the goal of transforming earth to become like a little slice of heaven was not necessarily the point. Yes, we DO want to bring about God’s justice on earth, but the real point is to align ourselves and our will with the will and purpose of God.
Weddings are times of great joy. Amanda and Paul wanted to celebrate their special day on the emerald island of Skye, in the Scottish Hebrides. They wanted a picturesque island wedding destination. They planned their outfits, the wedding and, of course, their travel from Florida to Scotland. When Amanda and Paul planned their travel, they built in plenty of time for seeing sites and for arriving at their destination comfortably. Unfortunately, they ran into travel delays. Before they even left home, their flights were redirected. Like so many travelers today, Amanda and Paul’s flights were cancelled, changed, and delayed. They thought they would arrive on Skye with four days to prepare for their wedding. After the delays, they arrived with less than a day to go…
Give us this day our daily bread.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore, my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also dwells secure.
For thou dost not give me up to Sheol,
or let thy godly one see the Pit.
Thou dost show me the path of life;
in thy presence there is fullness of joy,
in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.
“One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” – Luke 5:17-19
I must admit this has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. In one brief story, Luke offers the church a beautiful visual of the love we are called to have for our neighbors. The story begins with Jesus teaching the experts and ends with everyone bewildered by what they have witnessed.
It is not Jesus’ teaching that necessarily amazes all who have gathered in this house…