Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Mark 8:31-38
“We Are Pilgrims”
As many of you know, I’m a walker. I started walking intentionally more than four years ago, and I now usually walk about 10 km every day. While the Covid-19 Pandemic changed a lot of things in my daily life and yours as well, it didn’t stop me from walking.
But one of the things I did early in the pandemic was to get a treadmill to walk on at home. I thought it would be particularly useful for those days when it is stiflingly hot or bitterly cold outside, as a back-up plan for my usual outdoor walks. And this winter, I’ve been using it A LOT. I had no interest in going outside when the windchill was in the minus thirties or forties, and even now that it has warmed up a bit, it has become my default to use the treadmill.
In February, I decided to motivate myself by doing one of the “virtual walks” that are offered online. You walk wherever you are (outside or inside) and use the app to track your progress along a real route. I considered doing the 800 km Camino de Santiago in Spain – a classic … Read more »
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
This morning I want to talk about “Covenant Love.” It’s a pervasive theme throughout the Bible, and it shows up in our reading today from the Book of Genesis about God’s covenant with Abraham, Sarah, and their descendants.
We should remind ourselves that a covenant is a promise or a vow made between people. It’s not quite the same as a contract that is signed as an agreement for services rendered and payment required, with legal consequences when it is broken.
But a covenant is a serious vow or promise made between people to live together in committed relationship with faithfulness and love. And “covenant” is the primary way that God establishes relationships with human beings.
During the Season of Lent in Year B, the Revised Common Lectionary provides us with texts from the Hebrew Scriptures each Sunday that highlight God’s covenant relationship with us as God’s people.
Last Sunday’s text (which we skipped in order to highlight PWS&D Sunday instead) was about God’s covenant with Noah. Although human beings had become so terrible and evil that God flooded the earth to wipe them out and start again, God promised that he wouldn’t do that again.
Recognizing that humans would undoubtedly make … Read more »
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Every morning during this season of Lent, I am receiving an email from the United Methodist Church in the U.S. The email reminds me of the word of the day, inviting me to reflect on a word and take a photograph some time before day’s end. The email also includes a short reflection on the word, usually some scripture, and sometimes a picture as well. It’s not a very onerous Lenten discipline, but it is reminding me every day that this is not ordinary time.
On Monday the word of the day was “covenant” – perfect timing for preachers like me who were beginning to reflect on the readings for today’s worship in which “covenant” is the major theme. I spent part of Monday in the library, studying journal articles from the 1970s and 1980s on interchurch marriage – what happens when Protestants and Catholics who are both actively engaged in their faith and their churches marry one another and have to work out what that will look like.
Although there are some differences in Catholic and Protestant emphases in the theology of marriage, one of the understandings that is definitely shared is the idea of marriage as a … Read more »