Meditations

No Act Too Small – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

No Act Too Small – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

To choose to demonstrate the power of God’s kingdom in the life of a woman who, up to that point would have either been ignored or treated with revulsion, and …considered among the lowest in society may have seemed counter-intuitive; and yet it is in this that the true nature of God’s kingdom is made known—for it seeks not coercion, power or privilege, but is made present “even in such seemingly inconsequential acts as the restoration of an ill woman who lived on the margins of society” (Green).

Such small acts, we are promised, do not remain in isolation but have the power leaven the whole of life with the healing, restoration and salvation that are the hallmarks of the kingdom of God.

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The Foundation of the Gospel – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

The Foundation of the Gospel – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

When it is our turn and our responsibility to defend the gospel, how will we do it?

Our tendency is to fight with anger, belligerence, and uncharitable polemics. But that way is never allowed. For the Christian, how we confront false teaching is as important as that we do. We must not respond in ways which “deny the very foundation of the gospel itself” (N T Wright) Rather we are to follow in the way of Jesus himself: “to bear evil without resentment…and then correct opponents with meekness- these are sure signs that the teacher has been learning from the example, and has been empowered by the spirit, of Jesus himself.”(N T Wright)

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Servants of the Truth – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Servants of the Truth – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

It is on this point that Paul is most clear in his instructions to Timothy and to us. He and we are to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.” It is the consistent, clear, straightforward presentation of the faith built on the solid foundation of Christ and the teaching of that faith by his apostles which is our strongest weapon and surest defense…In doing so we may not please the world but we will certainly serve the world, for we will be sharing the truth and, as our Lord has said, it is the Truth that shall set us free.

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Freedom and Detachment – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Freedom and Detachment – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us…something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation…Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.”

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A Single Purpose and a Sure Hope – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

A Single Purpose and a Sure Hope – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

“We do not depend on the inspiration of a memory, however great. We enjoy the power of a presence. When a Christian is summoned to a great task…he must go into it in the certainty that he does not go to it alone, but there is with him forever the presence and the power of the risen Lord. When fears threaten, when doubts assail, when inadequacy depresses, remember the presence of the risen Lord.” (William Barclay)

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Never a Summer Soldier – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Never a Summer Soldier – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

In the early days of the American Revolution the cause of liberty was almost lost because the ranks of the Continental Army were filled with those whose dedication and service was only sporadic and on their own terms. They were called “Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.” The war was won only as their numbers were replaced by others whose dedication was wholehearted and consistent. These were those willing to suffer the training they needed, the hardships required, and the dangers to which they were subject, and do it to the very end…However many “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” may be found in the ranks of God or the pews of church, we must not be counted among them. For us it must be full devotion and sacrifice to the very end for the sake of the one who has called us

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Guarding the Gospel – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Guarding the Gospel – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Yes, we are to share the gospel, to witness and tell the story. But before we can do that we must guard the story and make sure it is told in our day just as Jesus, himself, told it and lived it…Perhaps this seems so self- evidently true that you wonder what the fuss is about. However, this has been the perennial problem of the church: in every age there have been those who would alter the message in one way or another to make it more attractive or palatable to their generation. So the Gnostics in the second century presented a Christ who was not human at all and Arius in the fourth century offered a Jesus who was not quite God. The church then, and in every age thereafter, has had to fight hard to preserve and protect its great treasure.

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Not Ashamed – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Not Ashamed – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

“As followers of Jesus we are called to live before one audience, the audience of One…There is only one voice that matters for us – the voice of God, and not the voice of the people or the voice of the times. And certainly not the warm embrace of popularity, the soft whisper of our own desires for comfort, the siren lure of being ‘on the right side of history’, or the mean faces of the bullying activists and the social media mob. Equally, there is only one judgment that matters and one word of approval that counts in the end: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

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Compassion and Perfect Love – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Compassion and Perfect Love – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

We all implicitly know that Samaritan is the only one who exhibits the love of God in his actions and that, as a result, the religious figures are proven to be hypocrites in their inaction. We even know that we are called to be like the Samaritan by showing compassion to all those around us. But the text is not simply suggesting that because we are the people of God we should have compassion on people in need because that’s what our religion calls us to—whether as Jews or Christians. No, the text—Jesus—is making clear that this is how we are called to be and to act because that is who God is, and we are called to be the people of God.

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Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Towards the end of Luke 9 we are told that Jesus’ “set his face toward Jerusalem.” It is, according to Green, a phrase that evokes an austere determination to go to the very place where he would suffer rejection and ultimately [death]…But he did not go to Jerusalem to die; he went to fulfill with the whole of his life the divine purpose, which was to bring life, healing and redemption to the whole of creation (see Hebrews 12:2).

We are all called to set our face towards to Jerusalem—to seek to fulfill the divine purpose through the whole of our lives…But we do not do so for the sake of death; we do so for the sake of Life, and Abundant Life, at that.

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