Thursday, June 11, 2015

A New Creation

For the next four Sundays the church hears readings from the Apostle Paul's second letter to the Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is crammed with great stuff!  Ok, I am a little excited about this. I can't help it. All I ask is that you give it a chance. I think maybe its contagious. At least I hope and pray it is.

I've outlined below the readings for each week. As I mentioned in last Sunday's sermon, I would like to ask you to do a bit of preparation for the sermon this coming Sunday by reading the appointed text. I've also included a brief excerpt of the verse on which I will likely focus. Although, please be advised that the Holy Spirit sometimes has other plans!

If you are not in the practice of sharing these posts with friends, now would be a good time to give it a try.  It is an easy way to engage in a bit of evangelism. Help share the light of Christ with others.

Third Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, June 14, 2015
2 Corinthians 5:6–17

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: 
everything old has passed away; 
see, everything has become new.

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, June 21, 2015
2 Corinthians 6:1–13

See, now is the acceptable time; 
see, now is the day of salvation! 

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, June 28, 2015
2 Corinthians 8:7–15

For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, 
yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, July 5, 2015
2 Corinthians 12:2–10

Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, . . . So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

I don't care which came first, this little peep is just so cute!
A New Creation

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Take a Deep Breath

The moments following death, at a funeral for instance, normally provide the occasion to listen to these words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4.
16So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:16-8)
But it is time now, as we are living, that we are wise to dwell in these words. Spending time, allowing ourselves to be seasoned by their counsel can provide needed perspective and an environment for healing when we know ourselves to be experiencing affliction, tribulation, or distress. Certainly these words of Paul preach themselves when introduced in the context of ultimate concerns. But what about more everyday moments of rut running? How can our mundane maladies be treated with the balm of these promises?

Most often it is our sense of sight that provides the evidence we require to make up our mind about most things. But what about the things we cannot see? What then? Are we to postpone conviction and hold faith at a distance?  Paul contends that we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. Maybe he means that when we are functioning faithfully we are able to see more with and through the gift of faith then with the concrete certainty of material evidence.  I believe that’s it.

What need would there be for faith if we could simply confirm a hypothesis with irrefutable evidence?

Today I’m at home trying my best to rest and recover from a nasty case of bronchitis that has developed into somethings exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms. My doctor originally thought I had pneumonia, but after reviewing the results of my chest x-ray determined that there was no visual evidence for such a diagnosis. In the meantime, I am to continue the treatments and medications that she prescribed when she thought it was pneumonia. I guess it is better to err on the side of caution than not.

Being reminded and mindful of the crucial role that breath plays in living, I can’t help but think of the gift of the power of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us as Church. This Holy Inspiration, this Breath of God that is given to us really is the gift of life and the power we need to remain vital and faithful to our calling. We can’t see it, but we know what happens when we become restricted and block the flow. Breathing deeply of this mysterious unseen gift of God is blessing and occasion to give thanks and praise.

June 7, 2015

All-powerful God, 
in Jesus Christ you turned death into life and defeat into victory. 
Increase our faith and trust in him, 
that we may triumph over all evil 
in the strength of the same Jesus Christ, 
our Savior and Lord.

Genesis 3:8-15
Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 4:13--5:1
Mark 3:20-35