Mary accepted the angelic message that she would give birth to a son conceived by the Holy Spirit. She did not choose this pregnancy but she accepted it. Her husband Joseph does not believe her story (do you blame him?). He wants to be faithful to the law and show compassion to his wife by divorcing her privately. He may have chosen Mary to be his wife but he did not choose this pregnancy. Yet, like Mary, Joseph accepted Jesus as his son despite this unexpected event.
We all have an interest in where we came from. We are also interested in other people’s stories. We ask each other, “Where did you grow up?” and “Who are your parents?” Yet, sometimes we may withhold some details in our family tree or the events surrounding a loved one’s conception and birth. Not Matthew. In the opening of his gospel, he stuns the world with an unlikely list of names found in Jesus’ family tree. There is no pattern of righteous, just a list of everyday people. Matthew wants us to see what kind of people God chooses to work with. I am surprised and yet I’m not.
When Jesus was visiting the home of a Pharisee named Simon a woman washed His feet with her tears, kissed them, and poured perfume on them. Simon was repulsed and referred to her as “[that] kind of woman” and a “sinner.” Who do we most identify with in this story? I think most church people identify with the Pharisee and for this I have a theory.
Recently, I had trouble going to sleep. I finally feel asleep only to wake up early. Why? I was replaying a scene in my head where someone had been offended and I was the offender. Maybe you can relate. You replay the scene like a choose your own adventure book. You relive the moment but this time, in your thoughts you say the right thing and do the right thing. If only we could change the past, right? Better yet, if only we could forgive ourselves. What if I told you that forgiveness is giving up the fantasy that the past could be any different.
“It is so good to still have you with us Jesus. We thought we’d lost you but here you are in the flesh. Those three days without you felt like an eternity but now that you’ve been with us for about, how long has it been? A little over a month? We couldn’t imagine life without you and we are ready for what comes next. So, me and the guys were wondering when are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel? What was that, Jesus? You’re leaving?”
“I don’t know what to pray for anymore or what I should pray, can you please pray for my mother?” My mother died of cancer in 2007. If you are a person of faith and have ever walked with a loved one as they are living out their last days and the hope of healing diminishes, then you may have experienced a weariness in your prayers. I have. When I struggled to find the strength to pray and what I should pray. I looked to someone else that had what I considered to be a bigger picture of God and his Spirit. Continue reading
I arrived at the Denver International Airport with enough time to casually go through security and make it to my gate with a few minutes to spare before boarding. This is one of the things I love about living in Denver. I can make to the airport with little traffic, it’s convenient. Only problem is this time I met a man who needed my attention, more than that he needed medical attention.