While we should always give thanks for the blessings God gives us, our gratitude should ultimately be for the grace that has opened our eyes to realize our need of Christ. Whatever material blessings we have or lack are from the providence of a good and faithful God. Our bounty is not the fruit of our hard work, self-sufficiency, and national superiority.
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? In this post we look at an obscure event in the career of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, the loss of an anchor in the Detroit River nearly two years before its tragic demise. We’ll also take a brief look at ancient anchors, and the Bible’s use of nautical imagery in reference to historical storms and as a metaphor for life’s difficulties. All aboard!
It’s helpful to understand the language that different churches use to describe Mary, and it’s fun to ponder what she was thinking when she told Jesus the wine had run out at the wedding feast. There’s even more value for us when we think of Mary’s request as a model of prayer. Are we mindful of the hour of Jesus’ passion when we pray, or do we just blurt out prayers assuming that God exists to meet our personal needs in the way we want them met? Hopefully we’re learning, as Mary was, about cruciform praying. Our requests, like hers, need to be in step with the hour of Jesus’ passion, when he prayed three times, “I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Many Christians are familiar with the tradition of remembering Jesus’ Seven Last Words from the Cross during Passion Week. The seven last words tell us what the cross meant to Jesus. They also ask us what the cross means to us. Jesus’ last words confront our deepest fears, and call us to face them in the power of his victory.
How do your typical prayers stack up next to Jesus’ model prayer? The Lord’s prayer is one of those passages of Scripture where the old saying “familiarity breeds contempt” is applicable. Not that we would necessarily hold the Bible in contempt, but we do tend to react with a nonchalant “ho-hum” to well-known texts. We think we already know all about such texts, but our current issues and experiences always sensitize us to see “new” things that have been there all along! We can always use a reminder that centers our prayer-lives on what really matters for eternity.
In this post we focus again on the Gospel of John, where power figures largely into the story of Jesus before Pilate. The Jewish leaders were not empowered by Rome to carry out capital punishment on their own, so Pilate the governor enters the story. Frustrated by Jesus silence, powerful Pilate threatened him with crucifixion (John 19:10). That’s when Jesus spoke truth to power. When Jesus spoke truth to power, Pilate spoke power to truth. But Jesus true truth trumped Pilate’s false power. There are many ancient remains in the Mediterranean world that testify to Rome’s powerful past. There are living churches all over the planet that testify to Jesus’ past, present and future power. That’s the truth.