“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:14–18 NRSV)
This morning I want to address the question: what is salvation? How are we to think about this work, especially in the context of what this famous little passage is saying?
Three images: * Healing * Connection and * Light
First, let’s begin this message about salvation and the love of God with something that seems unrelated: a snake on a pole.
[Read John 3:14–15]
This is connected to an obscure Old Testament reference – that I assume you all have memorized – where Moses is told by God to:
“Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.” (Numbers 21:8–9) Continue reading Snakes on a pole or The Rut That I Love (John 3:13-21)
“You are the branches of the true Vine, you Spouses of the Beloved, you Daughters of [Zion] and Sons of Jacob…let the tribulated [rejoice] and sing, let the poor in spirit be glad; let them that dwell in the Valleys [rejoice], who drink of the Springs of the Fountain of Love; where Peace and Joy encreaseth, whether Love to the Brethren is multiplied…For our God is Love, and we must be made like unto him in all things. O little Love, overcome, overcome all your hearts, that Life may fill your vessels, that bowles of compassion and tenderness may flow one into another, that every Soul may swim in the fulness of Love, that all may be filled with the eternal Power, that the new Wine of the Kingdom may be poured from vessel to vessel, that all your Cups may over-flow with the Conslation of God.”
-Dorothy White (A Trumpet of the Lord of Hosts Blown Unto the City of London, 1662)
“In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” (John 2:14–16)
In our text this morning, Jesus bursts onto the scene of passover and gets all civil disobedient on the crowds.
This is not your typical buddy Jesus here and it makes us a little nervous doesn’t it? Rough and rowdy Jesus is not the Jesus we’re used to.
What is this all about?
This scene has often been referred to as the “temple cleansing” which gives you a lovely picture of Jesus with some warm soapy water and a bristle pad scrubbing off graffiti from the temple’s stone walls.
Except that’s not what’s happening here. Continue reading Jesus, God’s Wrath and the Merchants of Truth (John 2)
“…He asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.”
(Mark 8:27–30 NRSV)
Are You My Mother?
In the Story “Are You My Mother?” by PD Eastman a little bird is born while it’s mother is out.
The bird meets a kitten, dog, hen, cow, an old car, a steamboat, airplane and a steam-shovel. And the bird asks, or wonders, about each and every one being his mother.
[Show and explain the story. In each instance there’s a testing of relationship.]
On the surface the bird is on a quest to find it’s mother, but at a deeper level the bird is on a quest for identity.
Our identities are very much hooked to that which we desire and mirror ourselves after. It makes a big difference whether the bird finds his mother to nurture his self identity or he takes a dog to be his mom. Continue reading The Truth of Becoming (Mark 8)
Church services are poetry from beginning to end; they just are poetry.
…Religion is serious poetry — which is not to say religion cannot be light-
hearted. But at its highest it turns important; and important involvement with language, use of language for significant human experiences,
merges inevitably into poet.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for review from Wipf & Stock.
This book outlines the historical development and contours of theopoetics, a theological discipline, or even style, that has emerged since the 60’s. Prior to reading Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer, I knew next to nothing about this unique approach to theology. In a way, as a pastor and theologian, I’m a good test case for the book, which aims at being an introduction but is certainly not entry-level. If you have interest in knowing more about theopoetics and the potential uses for it within faith communities, this is book is really is a perfect place to start. Continue reading ‘I Am Continually With You’ : A Review of L. Callid Keefe-Perry’s “Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer”
My first book to be published is printed and ready for order. You can order it directly from the publisher and received a 20% discount off the retail price.
The book will be available as an e-book and through local bookstores, Amazon and other services in the next 3-6 weeks.
Thank you for ordering! If you read the book and post about it use #convergentmodel on instagram, twitter or facebook so we can track the conversation.
Click here to go to the publisher page.
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:9–15 NRSV)
The Empire Strikes Back?
There are many kinds of kingdoms that have been announced.
All with their heralds, some wielding guns, or wielding knives, and some even wielding Death Stars, and others – like this one we’ve just read about – comes bearing nothing more than a handful of short stories, and teachings and demonstrations of love.
I don’t know about you but Jesus announcing what he calls “the kingdom of God” stretches my imagination to the breaking point.
What is “the kingdom of God” exactly?
Part of the problem is that we don’t have a lot references for Kingdoms today, besides Downtown Abbey I think we’re out of luck. Continue reading Is the Empire Striking Back? (Mark 1)