Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Only say the word and I will be healed Luke 7:1-10

We are not worthy of God's life transforming action. Faith trusts God can change our circumstances because of who Jesus is and what He's promised.

Luke wrote of a powerful man who trusted Jesus ability. His slave was dying so he sent to Jesus for help Luke 7:1-2.

Jesus had just preached to a great crowd on the plain (Luke 6:17-49). On His way Jewish elders came looking for Jesus on behalf of this Roman Centurion. He was an occupier who treated them well. The centurion asked them to seek Jesus' help. The local elders spoke to Jesus. They believed the centurion deserved God's help. They listed good things he'd done showing selfless love ἀγαπᾳ agapa for them as a people. He even built a synagogue Luke 7:3-5.

Do we believe like this? Do we think Jesus only acts because we are worthy? The elders made this case to Jesus. Do we believe our works make us righteous enough for God to act on our behalf? Or do we have faith to trust that God will acts in our lifetimes to reveal his glory in our world.

The centurion sent emissaries to Jesus. They came with a simple message of faith.

Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;  therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. Luke 7:6b-7a NRSV.
This is faith in God's power. This is faith in Jesus as God who has ability to heal the whole world. Faith is not presumptuous or self-seeking. Faith is confidence in Jesus and what He will do to transform the world. Weekly Roman Catholics repeat this word in their liturgy. Weekly they hear this simple promise of faith. And Jesus praised this faith--this confidence in what God can do Luke 7:8-9. Faith in Christ is the starting point or miracles and the starting point of hope for the broken. Faith in Jesus was the starting point for the Centurion who's servant was healed Luke 7:10.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Supernatural is natural for God John 16:12-15?

Jesus spoke about what He shared with the Father and the Holy Spirit in John 16. He spoke with inside knowledge of God's very being. We humans use words like person and personality, identity and community attempting to clarify all the details about how one God could reveal God's very self in three distinct ways. The best explanation I know of is a children's bookthat compared the mystery of God being 3 in 1 to an apple's skin, flesh, and seed as 3 distinct parts of one apple.

For Jesus being one with the Father and the Spirit is normal and natural, but for us this is a mystery. Jesus spoke of the things his friends couldn't yet βαστάζειν bear John 16:12. In faith we know God is one acting in the universe as three. We live with ambiguity about how or where one person of God starts and another stops. This is Jesus' true nature but for us this is a mystery.

Jesus didn't offer a solution to the mystery. It's not a logic puzzle we can solve. Instead He made a promise that the Spirit will ἀναγγελει declare it to you John 16:13-14. The Spirit won't explain away mystery; the Spirit will declare God's work in our lives as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The mystery isn't done and gone; but the experience of God working in our lives grows. The Spirit will emphasize God's work as three distinct persons with one common will and one common goal. An old teacher wisely points to the communal nature of God starting with the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit is always communal. Why? Because God is communal. Being-in-communion. The Spirit joins father and Son. The Spirit joins us to God.” Pat Keifert Talking About Our Faith p62
We look for explanations, for the point where one starts and ends. And God isn't worried about that at all. Rather God is at work seeking the redemption of what He's made.
Pax, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jesus promised the Spirit John 14:8-17, 25-27?

Jesus is, by nature, supernatural. Time, space, even death don't limit him. When he says he'll be with his followers it's a promise He'll keep.

Jesus' friends experienced God's presence daily. Still they had so many questions. They heard Jesus speak and saw him heal. They were witnesses of God's power and still they wondered even as they watched Jesus. Philip request to Jesus, "Show us the Father" reveals the depth of the mystery and their struggle to understand. Jesus response was direct,

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:9 NRSV
Jesus' point is clear. His followers had already seen the Father through his work. And those who believe today likewise see Jesus through the work of Holy Spirit. It just comes naturally for a Triune God to work this way. We humans might call God's work supernatural. But for Jesus being one with the Father and Holy Spirit is just his natural way of being. We Humans wonder how God can act supernaturally in our world; but the supernatural is part of the everyday for God.

When you get closer to Jesus you'll come closer God the Father. When you come closer to the Spirit you'll come closer to Jesus. We have so many questions about how or why the Holy Spirit acts in our lives. The thing to remember is who it all starts with. It all starts with God. For us God's nature and activity are shrouded in mystery that makes a little sense through the eyse of faith. Jesus didn't see mystery in God's work through the Holy Spirit. For Jesus, and for believers, by faith, it just makes sense. By faith we know God is at work through the Holy Spirit. By faith we understand the Spirit doesn't come from world (John 14:17). By faith we understand the the Spirit comes directly from the Father and Son. We understand by faith the Spirit is our forever advocate who we can turn to in any struggle to find support and hope (John 14:16).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

continually blessing God Luke 24:44-53

Jesus left His friends and was carried up into Heaven. And His friends went away together. The gathered in worship in the temple to bless God. We can live like they did. We can live blessing and praising God. We today are invited to be with him at all times--just as his friends were 2000 years ago Luke 24:50-51. Truth is any part of our day can be lived in and for Christ's glory. I don't think that we should confuse our work or time with family as worship--but our work and time with family can be for God's glory. Adn through prayer any moment can be a moment of connection with Jesus

Faith in Jesus in no small way a recognition of Jesus presense. Jesus is already always present--with us. His invitation is to live like His presence matters. We are invited to live in every moment with Jesus as his representatives. Some say we are asked to be Jesus with flesh on for the people of our world day

Jesus friends weren't alone as He left to return to His Father. He left them together as the church. And the Holy Spirit would soon come to kindle the fire of faith in them into a light that saves. May we live as they did--carrying Christ's light in our being for the world (2 Cor 4:5-6). Peace and thanks for reading, John.