Monday, March 27, 2023

Perpetual Resurrection


Resurrection takes many forms. Religiously speaking, we associate resurrection with the bodily raising of Jesus or others and with the general resurrection of the dead on the last day. Through the Apostle’s Creed and other affirmations of faith from the most ancient to the most modern, the Church affirms that we believe in and anticipate the resurrection of the body.  

Our religious views of resurrection point us to continuing regeneration in every aspect of our lives. New beginnings emerge from every ending. The affirmation of resurrection becomes an affirmation of life itself and the power of life over death in every circumstance. We can only “die daily,” as Paul declared (1 Corinthians 14:31 KJV) if we also are resurrected daily. The Bible uses physical resurrection as a metaphor for spiritual renewal. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Anointed by the Lord

Christian anointing is sign of spiritual blessing, healing, and consecration. The spiritual anointing of the Lord is manifested outwardly in unique ways for each person as the Holy Spirit empowers and guides us. The Scriptural word from which Messiah is derived literally translates as “The Anointed One.”

Jesus accepted his Messianic mission in his home church at the Nazareth synagogue after reading from the prophet Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19 KJV).

The anointing of the Lord in our lives is cast in today’s Bible readings within the rich history of anointings throughout human existence since time immemorial. The sacramental anointings continuing in the rituals of today’s church celebrate the ongoing action of the Holy Spirit to persist in carrying out the mission of Jesus in every generation.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Life-Giving Water

Living Water is a metaphor for the endlessly flowing supply of God’s regenerating love poured into and through us by the Holy Spirit.   

Are you thirsting for “things that could not satisfy” as Richard Blanchard’s song puts it? Or do you know someone who is?

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.     (John 4:11 KJV)

Living Water is a Gift from God. God’s love and God’s Spirit and God’s Salvation represented in this Gospel reading, is the free gift Paul referenced in Romans 6:23, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  If only we knew! If only they knew! If only everyone could realize at least in some small measure how wonderful the gift encompassed by the phrase “eternal life” really is, what a difference that would make in everyone’s personal lives and in the whole world. Just think how different the news on TV would be if everyone wanted the gift God has already made available, instead of pursuing things that only bring harm to themselves and to others and to Creation.

Asked and given. The woman at the well asked for this living water, even though she understood even less than we think we understand today about what it means. At the moment she said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water” (John 4:15 KJV) her new life began.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Echoing the Call to Reclaim, Revive, and Renew

The invitation to Reclaim, Revive, and Renew has been called by The United Methodist Council of Bishops for this Lenten Season. We echo their call, which is itself a reverberation of the calls and invitations to Humanity throughout the ages. Today’s Bible readings, especially the Gospel reading, are major landmarks in the everlasting cycle of regeneration reflected in the blooming flowers and budding trees of Springtime. 

God’s purpose is the salvation of Humanity.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.     (John 3:17 KJV)

Any Bible interpretation that makes it seem like God is unable to eventually meet the goal for which God sent Christ into the world is erroneous on its face. There are plenty of ways to misunderstand the Bible. Jesus explicitly said he did not come to condemn anyone but to save everyone. Any interpretation of any other passage in the Bible that seems to contradict this clearly stated objective needs to be rethought and re-understood. Perhaps some Bible passages even need to be put on a shelf for future reflection after more information can be obtained to help us reconcile them with the mission of Jesus.

Staying in the UMC

 I remain United Methodist for the love that holds us together in freedom and service.

“Staying in the UMC” articles are being posted on the conference website.  Here is mine: