Easter 4 A: Life Giving or Life Taking?

Dear Partner in Preaching, I’m late, really late, with this post and apologize. In light of this, I’ll keep my thoughts brief. There’s a lot in this passage that is suggestive, even provocative. But what struck me most forcibly this time around is the simple, start, and ridiculously important distinction between the thief who comes to kill and destroy and Jesus, the One who comes to give life. And here’s the thing: I think that as stark as that contrast seems, it gets really blurry really fast. Do you know what I mean? Take email as a rather small example: I still remember when email was hailed as a time-saver – “we won’t have...

Pentecost 16 C: Life-giving Sacrifice

Luke 14:25-33 Dear Partner in Preaching, There are sacrifices and then there are sacrifices. At least that’s what struck me when I read Jesus’ familiar words about taking up the cross. We tend to associate Jesus’ talk of the cross with sacrifice. And understandably so, considering that he is on the way to Jerusalem to make the ultimate sacrifice of his life on the cross to demonstrate God’s love for us (to demonstrate God’s love, not to make God loving!). And we assume – accurately, I’d argue – that his talk of “taking up the cross” implies sacrifices on the part of those who identify as his disciples, whether of selling...

John 20:30-31

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. Life. As it turns out. It’s all...

Matthew 1:3b-4

What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. There is, John says, a point to the universe. That is a debatable conclusion these days. Theories about the beginning of the cosmos, evidence of an expanding universe, the discovery of dark matter, and so on...

Matthew 19:16-22

Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus...