Finding Jesus in the Temple – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Finding Jesus in the Temple – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Perhaps this is something that many can relate to today: not understanding why God has allowed certain things to happen, or even why he feels distant in the midst of these situations. No amount of sermons we’ve heard in the past or pithy sayings we’ve read on Facebook seem sufficient for the pain we’re going through right now. And yet through this beautiful vignette do we not only find one who has gone before us and knows such pain, but also the gentle reminder of where we can find the God who seems so distant: in the temple, which Paul reminds us is no longer an earthly structure, but our own bodies—through prayer, fasting and personal care—and, consummately, His Body, that is, the earthly community of His disciples, through whom His Spirit is alive and working. It is as we seek him in such community—through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service, to use the old Methodist phrase—that we will find Him, and find in Him, Life Abundant.

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Living Stones of the Temple – Sixth Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

There is another difference between our liturgy and Peter’s plea: the first emphasizes our need for the Church. The second emphasizes the Church’s need for us. Both are true. Indeed “all of every age and station stand in need of the grace which it alone supplies”. But also it is only through our participation that this grace is mediated. We are in the church not just because we need it, but because it needs us and Christ calls us to meet that need.

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Suffering, Solidarity and Glory – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Suffering, Solidarity and Glory – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

This, too, is our mission, for we are all called to be Mary’s: to bear the one who has brought salvation and life to the world through his own suffering and death. We do this not only in the way that we bear our own crosses—in perseverance, supplication, faithfulness and hope—but also in the way that we willingly share in those of others and help them through solidarity and charity. CS Lewis has said that pain is God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” And we, as disciples of Christ, are called to turn the blaring, grating and indistinct din of pain into the healing balm of Christ’s sacrificial and saving love, through the same solidarity by which he has shown his love for us.

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Transformed by the Word – Fifth Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Transformed by the Word – Fifth Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

“The followers of Jesus seem to have discovered, as early as the day of Pentecost, that when they spoke to people about Jesus something happened. It wasn’t just that people were interested, or that they decided either to go along with the message or reject it. It was that the ‘word’ seemed to carry an energy, a power, beyond the mere ‘words’, remarkable though they were in themselves. It was as though when the ‘word’ was spoken, something like a blood transfusion was taking place in some at least of the hearers. They found themselves gripped by it, transformed by it, rinsed out by it, given a new sense of the presence of God. (NT Wright, Early Christian Letters)

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Poverty and Glory – Meditation in the Studies of Gospel of Luke

Poverty and Glory – Meditation in the Studies of Gospel of Luke

It was into the hands of the simple, the poor, the despised and rejected that God entrusted not only the care of His most precious Son, but also the announcement of the extraordinary news of his birth, despite the fact that their testimony would not have been received (let alone believed) by many.

This is a reality that we all need to take on board, not only for our selves, but also for others. There is no one so simple, so despised that they are not to receive the extraordinary news of God’s love for them and his desire to bring them into a saving relationship with Himself…
Nor are there individuals who are so simple or whose lives are so obscure that they cannot be bearers of Christ in ways that powerfully impact not only the world around them, but also the world at large.

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Grace and Obedience – Fourth Meditation in the Studies of 1 Peter

Grace and Obedience – Fourth Meditation in the Studies of 1 Peter

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, our obedience to His command is a double response to what he has already done. It is first the response of gratitude, our due thanks for his gift. Second, it is the response of trust. Knowing that he has already shown he has our best interests at heart, we are certain that whatever he asks is for our well being.

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What’s in a Name? – Studies in Luke 1:57-80

What’s in a Name? – Studies in Luke 1:57-80

There is a reality that goes deeper than every circumstance we face and every situation in which we find ourselves. It is the reality found in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s names, and evoked over and over again in Mary and Zechariah’s songs of praise: that God is good and faithful and he loves us with a steadfast love that doesn’t just function generally, but works intimately and personally in mercy. Wherever you are, whatever situation you find yourself in, hold tight to this truth because it is the greatest reality of all.

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Joy and Suffering – Third Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Joy and Suffering – Third Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

This may be a hard word but it is a good word and one which I am confident God wants us to embrace…Peter says, “you may have to suffer various trials so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and honor and glory.” Of course the testing here is not a test to see if you or I pass or fail. Rather it is the sort of test, like an athlete’s endurance trials, that is meant to strengthen and purify what is already there.

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Deepening Our “Yes” – Studies in Luke 1:26-36

Deepening Our “Yes” – Studies in Luke 1:26-36

Mary’s “yes’” to the Lord enabled her to bear the one in whom all men, for all time would find the hope of salvation. What on one level is but a simple act of obedience, is in fact a supreme act of faithfulness to the spread of God’s kingdom here on earth and the paradigm for all of our discipleship and witness since. We are all called to bear Christ in this world—whether it is in our responsibilities to our families (even in the apparently most mundane!), to our job, our friends and our communities—and we do so precisely by saying yes to the Lord and serving him wholeheartedly in every way He has called us. Wherever we are is where He wants us to serve him, right here and right now, trusting that no matter how apparently mundane it may appear, the effects of that faithfulness have eternal value not only for ourselves but for countless others we may never even know.

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A Sure Hope and Certain Inheritance – Second Meditation in the Studies in 1 Peter

A Sure Hope and Certain Inheritance – Second Meditation in the Studies in 1 Peter

Surely Peter knew what it meant to be without hope. He had experienced the crucifixion and the utter darkness of the day afterward. Yet on Easter hope was born anew and Peter…and he would never be without hope again. Nor should we be. He who conquered death has made us “more than conquerors” through the same power by which he was raised from the dead. The same Christ who rose from the dead now lives and dwells in the heart and life of every believer bringing life today and a hope filled tomorrow.

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