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The Word And Story
28 minutes | Jan 31, 2020
Word and Story: Kingdom Life and Revolution
ESUS MAFA. The Sermon on the Mount, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48284 [retrieved January 31, 2020]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact). Matthew 5:1-12 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. The lectionary’s gospel text for Feb 2, 2020 is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:1-12. In it Jesus reminds us of the rewards of living in the kingdom and the prerequisites. But there is also an undertone of revolution. People who live as passive revolutionaries transform the world. The question is, are we willing to live in the pursuit of Jesus over our own desires? Prayer God our deliverer, you walk with the meek and the poor, the compassionate and those who mourn, and you call us to walk humbly with you. When we are foolish, be our wisdom; when we are weak, be our strength; that, as we learn to do justice and to love mercy, your rule may come as blessing. Amen.
23 minutes | Jan 22, 2020
The Word and Story Podcast for Jan 26,2020: The Ministry Launch
Duccio, di Buoninsegna, d. 1319. Christ Calling the Apostles Peter and Andrew, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=49261 [retrieved January 22, 2020]. Matthew 4:12-23Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. In Matthew 4: 12-23, Matthew describes the launch of the messianic ministry of Jesus. But what is fascinating is WHERE Jesus sets up his command center. It’s not Jerusalem or Bethlehem or even his hometown of Nazareth. It’s in Capernum, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, as prophesied in Isaiah 9:1-2. What’s the importance of that? Listen and find out! God of Blazing light, through the power of the cross you shattered our darkness, scattering the fears that bind us and setting us free to live as your children. Give us courage and conviction that we may joyfully turn and follow you into new adventures of faithful service, led by the light that shines through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
24 minutes | Jan 10, 2020
The Word and Story – January 12, 2020
Le Breton, Jacques ; Gaudin, Jean. Baptism of Christ, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. Original source: Collection of Anne Richardson Womack. Matthew 3:13-17 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” In the liturgical calendar, this is the Baptism of the Lord Sunday where we celebrate Jesus’ baptism. The Baptism of the Christ (or the Baptism of Christ) is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. It is celebrated in the Catholic Church as well as the Anglican and Lutheran Churches on the first Sunday following The Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6). The text this week causes us to celebrate the baptism of Jesus, as well as take a fresh look at who he is. He is the True Israel, the second Adam. He was who we were designed to be.He is the Suffering Servant. He took on your sins. He paid a prices – his life – to bear the weight and pain of our sin so that we would not suffer eternally for the brokenness of our sinfulness. He identifies with his people. That was part of the purpose of the baptism: Identification. He knows your pain and frustration. He understand the pain of death, of our hurt and fear. And he reminds us that we can through the weight of that sin and brokenness on his shoulders because he knows we cannot carry that weight. PrayerCreator God, our soul’s delight, your voice thunders over the waters, liberating the future from the past. In the Spirit’s power and the waters of rebirth, Jesus was declared your blessed and beloved Son; may we recall our baptism, and be disciples of the Anointed One. Amen.
26 minutes | Jan 24, 2019
The Word and Story Podcast – January 27, 2019
The lectionary gospel text for this week comes from Luke 4:14-21. Jesus is returning home to Nazareth, and spends time on the Sabbath in the synagogue there. This sabbath event truly defines his ministry and mission, and is part of the continuation of the movement of the Spirit as found in Luke. Here is the text, from the New Living Translation 14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
22 minutes | Dec 5, 2018
Word and Story Podcast – December 9, 2018
The second week of Advent for 2018 brings us to the launch of the ministry of John the Baptizer in Luke 3:1-6. In this passage, Luke specifies a time and place. In doing so, he gives us a context for the message John would deliver, which is the coming of the salvation of God. But it also is a reminder to us that we live in a specific time and place. Our communication about God and Christ needs to be contextualized as well. We don’t share the story in Wisconsin the same way we share it in Georgia. The language isn’t the same, the time and place aren’t the same. The gospel needs to be located within that context. And the message John preaches is one of baptism for the repentance of sins. This isn’t believer’s baptism. This a baptism of repentance, preparing for the coming judgment. A clean heart for the appearance of the Lord. And that is the message of Advent. Prepare your hearts. Prepare yourself to hear the word of the Lord! The Gospel text: It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him! 5 The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. 6 And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.’”
15 minutes | Nov 28, 2018
The Word and Story Podcast: December 2, 2018
This first week of Advent starts places us between the first coming of Jesus and the second coming of Jesus. We have to live in this space and live out Jesus in this space. The text reminds us that we need Jesus to come, but we also need to be ready to receive him. We live in a broken world, full of pain, hurt, and brokenness. We need Jesus to come, but we need to be ready to receive him. The first century Jews were in a similar situation, but devoid of a message from God for over 4 centuries. They needed a word from God. They needed Jesus to come, but many were not ready to receive him. Here’s the text from Luke 21:25-36: 25 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man[a] coming on a cloud with power and great glory.[b] 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” 29 Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. 34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
20 minutes | Oct 30, 2018
The Word and Story Podcast: November 4, 2018
The Gospel text this week is from Mark 12:28-34. I love this passage. There is so much here. I talk about one way to preach this text in a very hopeful and change-oriented way using communication theory. I also discuss a practical definition of Love. Below is the text from the NLT version: 28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
22 minutes | Oct 20, 2018
Word and Story Podcast – October 29, 2018
The gospel text this week is from Mark 10:46-52. There is so much here in this text, so much to learn. What I find interesting is that the crowd, and the disciples were “following Jesus” but not really following Jesus. Had they been following Jesus, they would have stopped and cared for the blind beggar Bartimaeus. Christians today have that same problem. We want to gaze at Jesus and be next to Him. But following Jesus means that we see, hear, and do. And this passage challenges us to do. Below is the text in the New Living Translation Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.
26 minutes | Sep 26, 2018
The Word and Story Podcast: September 30 2018
The Lectionary Gospel text this week is from Mark 9:30-37. In it, Jesus confronts the disciples, this time in regards to their desire for status. Jesus effectively lets them know that if they want status, they have to strive for no status, and to care and love those with no status. It’s a challenge we all need to hear today. Mark 9:30-37 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
30 minutes | May 9, 2018
The Word and Story Podcast: Ascension Sunday 2018
Ascension Sunday reminds us of the day when Christ ascended to Heaven and is 40 days after Easter. But in our lectionary text this week from Luke, it is so much more. Only about half of the verses deal with the ascension. The focus of the passage is on Jesus’ role as a fulfillment of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus has fulfilled the entirety of those. And while, in this passage, he does depart the disciples, he does so almost nonchalantly, and without breaking the flow of the story. In fact, the disciples seem at ease with what happened; they just simply worship, rejoice and begin their new mission. This passage from Luke represents a transitional moment from the resurrection into the ascension and then to the church’s mission into the world. It is a moment of fear and trembling, uncertainty, and wondering. Ascension Day is not so much about the physical act of ascension, or even about the reuniting of the incarnate Word with the unbegotten Source. Rather, it is concerned with the divine act of making space so that the mission of the church can begin. So long as God was in the world in human form, all eyes and hearts were fixed there. Jesus’ ascension makes space for the disciples to turn their gaze upon the world, where “repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in [the Messiah’s] name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (24:47).
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