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Bible, Gospel

Thoughts for When we Feel Insecure

27 March 2021

John 11:45-56

In today’s Gospel, Jesus had just performed yet another miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead, garnering more believers with each miracle. When this news reached the Pharisees and the chief priests, a meeting of the Sanhedrin was called. Instead of being open to what God was revealing through his son, these leaders felt threatened. 

They worried about preserving their position and wealth and allowed greed, fear, and envy to motivate them.  Insecurity and ego can lead people to do horrible things. We know historically that the chief priests and the Pharisees did not always get along, but when they saw a common enemy, they colluded to persecute the Son of God.  

When you think about it, the world may have changed as it moved through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Information Age, but some things have not changes. When people feel threatened or afraid, they will often employ sinful means to suppress the threat. 

Some have relied on emotions or propaganda. Others have relied on instilling fear. Some use clever but faulty logic or reasoning to get their point across. The irony in this reading is that in verse 50, Caiaphas states exactly what must happen to realize God’s plan of salvation without realizing that Jesus’ death is offered to save all of us and not merely his alliance.

Can you see yourself in this passage? Do you let fear, greed, or a desire for influence or adulation steer your decisions? Do you deal fairly with others in your person and professional pursuits? We all fall short of God’s law sometimes, if you see these vices in your life, make a good confession. Don’t beat yourself up. Know that where you are weak, your community of faith is praying for you . . . having a piece of chocolate may help, too.

Aly Tugaoen

Meditation

From the Daniel Iverson Hymn: Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me.

Lent Devotional 2021
Download A Time to Grow Lent Devotional as a free E-book here
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Advent, Bible, Gospel, Uncategorized, Women's Ministry

Is the Bible Still Relevant? Gospel Reflection Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Friday 11 December

Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”


Some people say that the Bible is no longer relevant. Well, hello! This passage is timeless. It’s like Jesus knew he would be dealing with us thousands of years into the future.

We still admonish one another like this today.  In these COVID-19 days, if someone is extremely cautious, we accuse them of being too risk averse.  If someone is a risk taker, we accuse them of being reckless. This sort of rhetoric sounds like old school Bible stuff. We’re making the same mistakes as the children in today’s parable.  We’re not listening to one another or seeking to understand.  

It was easier for people to dismiss John the Baptist, as an eccentric Essene who ate locusts, than it was to listen to his prophetic message.  It was easier for some to persecute Jesus’ message of love, and indeed, his very identity, than it was to accept that the Messiah had come.

I don’t think many of us are at our best nearly nine months into the Corona Virus. Many of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have consumed a few more adult beverages than typically imbibed. Some of us are nursing our feelings with Double Stuff Oreos. “Meme-ing” has become both a verb and national pastime because making light of this surreal years is easier than actually dealing with it.  

But we know that, “wisdom is vindicated by her works” (Mt 11:19). In Luke’s Gospel, this parable is preserved as “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Lk 7:35). This is a somewhat confusing phrase, but it means that John and Jesus are the children of Widsom. The works of John and Jesus are those of divine Wisdom.

But what of our actions? I’d like to think that as the pandemic has gone on, Wisdom is being vindicated in our works, too. People have begun taking care to prepare healthier snacks and beverages.  We’re righting the ship, so-to-speak. People are placing more value on family and friends, and the time we can spend together. Prayer has become more commonplace among those who may have strayed from faith, and on-line church services boomed. We have begun to look out for our neighbors, which may be one of the most healing balms of all, and this all harkens back to Jesus’ command to love one another.

Muffy Patterson

To Ponder

What Bible passage speaks to you in 2020 as if it were just written or spoken today for the very first time?

Advent, Bible, Books, Gospel, Liturgical Living

Good Tidings – Advent 2020 Devotional

I’m excited to share with you Good Tidings, an Advent Devotional for 2020. You can read Good Tidings daily by downloading this FREE PDF, or you can subscribe to my blog and receive the devotion delivered to you each day of Advent.

Good Tidings includes the daily Gospel, reflection, and a guide through lectio divina for each day of Advent. The booklet culminates with a Nativity Prayer on Christmas.

This year, when many of us have been at home for months on end, my hope is that this devotional will help make Advent special.

This year has felt pretty monotonous for me. I’ve stayed home, worked from home, homeschooled, and days have blended into weeks and months. Creating this Advent devotional has helped me put some punctuation marks in a sea of sameness. Editing this booklet really lifted my spirit out of quite a funk. Though I couldn’t reach out and hug each friend who contributed to this devotional, I felt closer to them by reading their words. I hope this book will do the same for you.

I’ll be leading discussion digitally in the Joyful Momentum Facebook Group daily throughout Advent. Please join in!