August 26, 2018

1 Kings 8: 1,6,10-11,22-30,41-43 Psalm 84 Ephesians 6:10-20 John 6:56-69 “A Difficult Teaching” In our Gospel reading this morning, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue (the community gathering place) in Capernaum. And he teaches this: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” And when his disciples heard what he was teaching, they said: “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” Like so many of us today, they wanted an easy answer and a simple way of living. They wanted the great results without the hard work. They wanted a quick fix, but Jesus was asking for more from them. If you remember from the last several Sundays… Jesus has just finished his miraculous feeding of the crowd of 5000 or more on the hillside. Most of them appreciated Jesus’ ability to produce food for them, but now he is inviting them to go deeper, to respond to God’s goodness, and to follow him in the challenging way of discipleship. Jesus tells them that they are now invited to eat more than just bread and fish like they just enjoyed. He explains that he has more to give to … Read more »

August 23, 2016

Ephesians 6:10-20 John 6:56-69 “A Spiritual Battle?” The other day I was reading a reflection about our recent national church meeting, the General Assembly, and the writer mentioned that there were a couple of women praying throughout the meeting for the deliberations. Normally, I would have been happy and grateful to know that we were being held up in prayer as we met and made important decisions for the denomination. But the author referred to these praying women as “prayer warriors.” Maybe you have heard that term, or even used it yourself, but it made me a little bit uncomfortable. Given the context of the discussion of some difficult and controversial subjects, I wondered who these women were “warring” against with their prayers. Maybe against me, with my liberal views, or against the evil spiritual forces that were causing me to have such views! I was somewhat suspect of these “prayer warriors,” even though they were probably just praying for wisdom, and unity, and love in our deliberations. This Sunday’s text from Ephesians sets off some of the same feelings in me, because Paul seems to be inviting the Ephesians to get ready for a battle. As a person with more pacifist leanings, it doesn’t sit well when he starts talking about Christians putting on armour… a breastplate, and boots, a shield, a helmet, and even a sword. It reminds me of how uncomfortable I am singing hymns with militaristic language like, “Onward Christian soldiers… marching as to war…” But … Read more »