Listening to the Lord

This past year or so has felt much like a long season of Lent. For many of us we have given up so many experiences, times with family and friends, activities we used to enjoy, or even just feeling like things are normal. It can be very tempting to focus on everything that is different and yet Fr. Chris and I truly feel like it is an invitation for all of us to draw closer to the living God who wants to speak to each of you and to provide a way for you. Abraham was faithful to God and God provided a way out of His situation. God provided a sacrificial ram that would take the place of Isaac.

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Into the Wilderness of Lent

The first Sunday of Lent is always devoted to remembering Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. The length of the 40 days of Lent is modeled on these 40 days of Jesus, and reading an account of this time in Jesus’ life helps us to frame these 40 days of fasting leading up to our celebration of Easter.

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Stuck in Fear

Today we meet Elijah, sitting in a cave, exhausted and fearing for his life. Elijah feels alone, he feels like a failure, he feels exhausted, and he is scared for his life. Elijah was paralyzed by fear to the point where he could no longer move forward. He was stuck. I think we all get to that place sometimes. Things seem to be falling apart all around us and we are scared to move forward and scared to turn around and go back. Where do we turn? What do we do?

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Shaped by the Great Teacher

Today lots of people in positions of power often do not realize the full impact of their words and actions. Today we can consume ideas and thoughts in the privacy of our homes or the privacy of our phone viewing. So it is easy to see how people can not realize the sheer quantity of people who are hearing their message. A number on the screen can not compare to human bodies in front of us. Rarely do we have to watch or listen to something in front of others. This is a profound difference in the way that humans have taken in information for all of time. With the invention of the internet and the invention of the cell phone we can quietly consume ideas without the input of others around us. So how do we live for Jesus and set down our ideas to the one who can shape us for good? Come listen with us.

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What is Your Good News?

What brings a smile to your face when you read the newspaper? (I’m not talking about the comics!) I enjoy stories about exciting emerging technology, long-awaited justice, undeserved kindness, truth coming to light, and beauty. These are generally seen as “good news” to me. You might get excited by different stories. In the Gospel today, Jesus brings good news to the region of Galilee. Even though he spoke of this news 2,000 years ago, the news is just as good and exciting as the day he first spoke of it.

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How Does God’s Kingdom Come?

The Kingdom of God is not a place, it is not the same thing as any of the nations of the world, it is not even precisely the same as the Church. The Kingdom of God is wherever Jesus reigns as King, chiefly in the hearts of believers. In a post-Christendom world we are to do what we should have been doing all along, focus on bearing the light of Christ.

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Preparing a Highway

In Isaiah 40:3-4 the prophet declares “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” What does this preparation look like? What is the highway for? It turns out that preparing the way of the Lord is not about highway construction at all but about the inward preparation of repentance.

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Awake and Alert

The Gospel readings over the last three weeks have all dealt with the return of the Son of Man. In connection with these passages, we have talked about how we should behave right now to prepare for the return of Jesus. It is important to grow in holiness and discipleship, be diligent in telling others and spreading the kingdom, and care for the poor, the outcast, and the marginalized. Today the instruction is not about something to do, instead, it is a way of being. In the Gospel of Mark (13:33), Jesus says that we should stay awake waiting for the return of the Master. This is attentive waiting, like a watchman or a door keeper.

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Stand Firm

The Prophet Daniel was the first person in the Bible to mention an “Abomination of Desolation,” but Jesus picks up on this theme and mentions it again, hundreds of years later. Many have seen the fulfillment of this prophecy in various events in history, but there is reason to believe that it also points towards a future event in addition to the ones which have already taken place. What does this prophecy mean for us today? How are we to endure in the face of persecution?

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Put the Car in Drive

Your car probably has a lever that you pull to change from park to drive or reverse. If you want to get to a particular destination, you have to move that lever into the “drive” position, otherwise you will just remain where you are. In the Letter to the Hebrews, the author is encouraging a group of believers to grow up in their faith, moving beyond where they are to where God is calling them to be. As Christians, we must never remain stagnant, rather we should always be moving towards the Lord and his plans for us. To do so, we can’t remain in park, we need to put the car in drive.

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