He Was Not What They Expected
He criticized the prideful, religious elite and dined with criminals and tax collectors. He spoke to shunned women and healed unclean and contagious lepers. He welcomed little children and gave mercy to the desperate and the weak. (Para español, lea abajo.) “Who is this supposed King? He does not behave as we had expected,” they thought. They expected a warrior king, not a humble servant. They expected a savior from foreign oppression, not a Savior from their sins. They expected their long-awaited ruler to ride victoriously on a horse. The King of Kings rode peacefully on a young donkey. (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5) They waved palm branches and put their…
Passover for Christians?
“Wait. Why should I care about Passover? I’m a Christian. Isn’t that a Jewish thing?” I have frequently heard this response when sharing about “Passover for Christians”. Yes, Passover is a “Jewish thing”, but its also a “Christian thing”! The two are closely related. Jesus celebrated Passover all of His life, including the night before He was crucified. At that meal (Matthew 26:17-30), Jesus instituted the “Lord’s Supper” (Communion),which is one of the two ordinances we observe. By understanding the Passover story, our understanding of the Lord’s Supper is greatly enhanced. Exodus 12 recounts the dramatic story of the Israelites and their deliverance from Egyptian slavery. In order…
A Call To Prayer
Praying is a lot like breathing. It provides the sustaining rhythms of dependency for life.
Sacraments and Spit-Up
It was a no good, rotten Sunday. My husband and I both overslept, resulting in a thrown-together breakfast. My daughter refused to nurse. My son instantaneously despised his church shoes. No one got coffee. The car ride to church resembled a chaotic symphony of yawns, bickering and tears. We arrived at church with forced smiles. As we grabbed seats in the last row, I glanced to the front of the sanctuary, and my stomach dropped. There it stood–a pristine table of bread and juice. I sighed, attempting to curb my rotten attitude, while inwardly thinking, “Of course, communion would be today.” I used to love communion Sundays–a day in which…
How does your church celebrate Communion? Brass-plated trays passed across the row once a quarter? 2-in-1 cups containing wafer and juice together, drive-thru style? It's time habit and sheer logistics stop trumping intimacy at the Lord's Table. It's time we engage our Savior in this sacrament with our souls and bodies. The incarnation is a mystery – God choosing to enter earth, embracing finiteness and physicality. It's a mystery the way human and divine intertwine in the person of Christ, not only as he walked this earth, but also as he sits enthroned in heaven. It's a mystery that continues as he ministers to and through us. It's a mystery…
Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the Lord. (Isaiah 60:6 NET)
Oh, That’s Why
Jesus knew what lay in store for him that Passover night. He was on his way to the cross and would experience great agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by Judas’ betrayal of him, Peter’s denial of him, abandonment by the other 10 disciples, and a mock trial held illegally at the home of the high priest. Bothfully God and fully human, Jesus knew that he was about to not only suffer a gruesome and painful physical death, but also separation from the Father as he bore the weight of our sins upon the cross. And yet, notice what Jesus said to his disciples at the beginning of this…
Liturgy and the Lord’s Supper: A Virgin Experience of Intimacy
Reverence and expectation fill the sanctuary. I take a seat on a pew and trace the prominent grain of its oak with my forefinger. A candle fidgets nearby, flickering kerosene faintly from its flame. Sunlight prances through a stained-glass window that portrays a shepherd holding one sheep in his arms with another following afoot. “Hold me now,” I whisper. “I am that lamb. Tiny. Broken. Needy.” Woody notes from the pipe organ climax in a crescendo of crashing waves, kissing the shore of my sandy heart and carrying a week’s-worth of offensive images and words away in their undertow. I exhale. The minister steps forward to lead the congregation in…
Justin Bieber’s Face Tattoo May Just Inspire You
Justin Bieber boasts a tattoo count of 50 plus. He has so many tattoos that MTV news once made an interactive "Justin Bieber Tat Map" allowing enthusiastic fans to discover the details of Justin Bieber's ink—oh, the magic of the internet. The animated map is tens of tats behind, but this month it became decidedly outdated when Justin added a small cross tattoo to a previously clean area of his body, his face. Jonboy, the artist who tattooed Justin's face, told Us, “Justin came in last night and decided on a small cross near the corner of his eye. It represents his journey in finding purpose with God.” The cross on his face isn't Justin's first religious tattoo.…
Christ Has Died. Christ Is Risen. Christ Will Come Again.
Christ Has Died. Christ Has Risen. Christ Will Come Again. These are the words I repeat with our community of Christ-followers each time we gather to observe communion. They have come to mean something endearing to me, more than ritual recitation. They echo what has happened, and they speak to what will happen. This Thursday my mind dwells on the last supper our Lord had with His disciples and the events that took place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so long ago. I grew up hearing the stories of faith from my family and another community of believers. Friday morning coffee brought the story of Jesus’ suffering. How He’d been…