The Letter in the Envelope

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says that he (and we!) are like common clay vessels into which God has placed the treasure of his Gospel. Why would God choose the weak and unimpressive (you and me) to be bearers of his message? Because the power is his not ours. He doesn’t want the letter to be lost in the envelope.

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United Through the Spirit

In Acts 2:14, the Apostle Peter quotes from the Prophet Joel saying “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Instead of us building a tower up to God (as the People in Babel did in Genesis 11), God bridges the gap and comes down to us. We approach God through repentance and faith and he pours out his forgiveness and mercy upon us and washes us clean in the water of Baptism.

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What is Love?

The Apostle John says that “God is Love.” It is important to note that he doesn’t say this the opposite way “Love is God.” The order of the words makes a big difference. Some have made a God out of love. That is putting the cart before the horse! As one commentator says, “Love does not describe the fullness of God, but God defines the fullness of love.”

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What Have You Seen and Heard?

A witness is someone who has personally observed something. John was one of the Apostles who lived with and observed Jesus. He saw Jesus die on the cross, and he was also a witness to the resurrection. I was not there to personally witness the resurrection, but I can rely on the testimony of John and others and I have personally seed evidence of what God has done in my own life.

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Locked Doors

To say that “no one locks their doors here” is a badge of honor for many communities. It is an expression of confidence in the safety of the neighborhood. I once lived in such a community. When my parents first moved there, there was not even a lock on the door! Today I always lock our doors before going to bed. I bet you do too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with locking the door to your house but is worthwhile to consider whether you are locking danger out or locking yourself in.
For Jesus’ disciples, it was a little of both.

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Did you Hear the News?

The Resurrection of Jesus was shocking, world changing news.
It was so unexpected that even his disciples struggled to believe it! As with most big news, some were excited and others were definitely not! There are three basic approaches you can take when a breaking story puts you in a bad light. 1) cover it up, 2) Wait it out, 3) Admit your wrongdoing, apologize and deal with the consequences. As we consider the news of the Resurrection of Jesus, let us consider each of these approaches.

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The “Goodness” of that Friday

How can a day filled with so much pain, suffering, and injustice be called “Good.” When faced with the reality of Jesus’ passion, we might wonder whether all of this was really necessary. Couldn’t there have been another way? It is even worse when we remember that Jesus didn’t die because of something he did, like the criminals next to him, he died because of something you and I did.

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We Wish to See Jesus

If someone came to you and said that they wanted to see Jesus what would you do? This is exactly what happened to Philip in the gospel passage today. Jesus’ disciples had gotten pretty used to people wanting to see Jesus, but these men were Greeks! Gentiles! Philip didn’t know what to do. While Jesus doesn’t seem to address these Greek men directly, the interaction seems to signal something significant to him.

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Let Us Go to the House of the Lord

In the years before the exile to Babylon, The Lord gave warning after warning to the people of Israel, but they wouldn’t listen. They continued to worship false gods and participate in abominable practices. Lest we look down on the Israelites in judgment, however, let us point a finger at ourselves. Just like the sins of Israel caused them to be cut off from the land that was promised to them and the temple where God had promised to dwell among them, so also our sins have caused us to be cut off from God. But the Lord also promised hope through the prophet Jeremiah.

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