Who

You know how it is. Someone begins a conversation with you by saying, “Now…. I don’t want you to worry.” I’m sorry, but they are only half way through the sentence and I am already worrying. They haven’t even gotten to the content, the topic, or any information and I am already asking “why, what, when, how, who.” I know they don’t want me to worry, but, sorry, that train has already left the station.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Seriously? It was only six verses ago, just prior to the opening of today’s gospel when Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer…where I go you cannot come.” (John 13:33) The disciples’ hearts are troubled and Jesus’ words of comfort are not hitting their intended mark. Continue reading

Aligning love of neighbor

greatest-commandment2“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt 22:36-40) Continue reading

Which came first?

Simon-Sinful-WomanJesus turns to his host, Simon and says, “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love.” – and later Jesus tells her that her “sins are forgiven.”  When I ponder that short verse in the gospel, I have often pondered it as though it were a chicken and egg question. You know, which comes first love or forgiveness?  I think the answer is, it depends.

Scripture is clear that in the relationship between God and us, love comes first. Listen to the words of 1st Letter of John: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins… We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:10,19) That seems pretty clear. As regards forgiveness, it is there for our asking, because God already and always loves us. Continue reading

Glorified: love

Christ-glorified

The Commandment to Love. 34 I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is the first of two instances (13:34; 15:12) in which Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another, but only on this occasion did he refer to it as a ‘new’ command. What is new about this commandment? It can refer to something that didn’t exist before. But the command to love one another is not recent. It is found in the Torah (Lev 19:18; Dt 6:4). It can refer to something that existed previously, but was not fully known or understood; e.g., a “new” understanding. I think that it is in this sense that this commandment is “new”. Continue reading

Finding the Source

Finding-the-NileAre you smarter than a 5th grader? OK, what is the longest river in the world? Gotta’ be the Nile River, right? It flows 1,700 miles from Khartoum, Sudan to the Mediterranean Sea – and that is just where the White and Blue Niles meet. You can follow the White Nile south to Lake Victoria bordering Uganda… and then the arguments begin on what is the source of any river. Clearly rivers, streams, and the like flow into Lake Victoria – do you get to keep following the water flow? Even as recently as 2006 the geographers and cartographers were seeking the “headwaters of the Nile River.” The most recent claim is a muddy hole in Nyungwe Forest in southwest Rwanda. The forest area is spectacular, the muddy hole not so much. Personally, I would have taken Lake Victoria as the headwater. Think about it: a great lake giving greatness to the greatest river. Continue reading

Admonition Nine

It is said that we do not read Scripture, but that Scripture reads us. “Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4).  It is in the same way that art often reveals more about the viewer than art reveals about itself. Our response to injury shares that same revelatory attribute with Scripture and art. Continue reading