Rabbi Jesus

Luke Chapters 13-16
I have been using my blog during Lent to summarize and reflect on the Gospel of Luke as The Good Book Club has organized its reading during this season.And I will do that today as well, but I am also mindful that today is the 1-month anniversary of the Parkland, FL shooting, for which our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. William “Chip” Stokes (a founding member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence), has called for a Day of Lamentation at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton. As I write this, he and others are there offering prayers and repentance for our neglect of human rights by our own hands and laws.The tag line for the event is, “First we pray, then we act,” which is an important reminder that justice requires both.I pray you will join with the Bishop and me to offer our own prayers for guidance of how best to support responsible gun ownership and stop mass shootings.
As always, Scripture is the source for our learning and understanding of how to follow Jesus or answer the que…

Jesus Gets Real

Gospel of Luke Chapters 10-12
Just like all humans, Jesus is complicated.While many may think of him as a benevolent friend with an avuncular smile and hands offering a blessing, the Scriptures offer a much more vivid and demanding depiction of our Savior.As we get into the heart of Luke’s Gospel, we bear witness to the imperative nature of Jesus’ message and ministry – that decisions must be made and there will be a cost.
One of the unique biblical stories in the Gospel of Luke is the sending of the 70 disciples in pairs in Chapter 10.This is the first glimpse we have of the earliest missionaries sharing Jesus’ message of love, health and salvation without Jesus himself being present. The disciples are instructed to take nothing with them for their material comfort, but simply present themselves and their message to the various towns. If what they say is accepted – on faith – then the hearers will receive the benefits of God’s realm: peace, health and wholeness.Those who choose to …

More and Less

One of the things I love about Bible Study is the opportunity to read one book, one chapter at a time and focus on what it says, rather than looking for themes between several different pericopes (a fancy, academic word meaning “selection”) like we do with the Sunday Lectionary. As I read Chapters 6-9 of Luke’s Gospel this week I was struck by the numerous accounts of Jesus’s interaction with women and the lack of information about John’s the Baptist’s death.
The Gospel according to John, Chapter 4 has Jesus’s longest recorded interaction with a woman, specifically the Samaritan woman at the well.However, Luke’s Gospel has more references to women, starting with Elizabeth, Mary and Anna, all the way to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women who went to the tomb on Easter morning. While a woman is not listed as one of Jesus’s 12 apostles, it is presumed that there were many women who were Jesus’s disciples and followed that motley crew around Israel during th…

Jesus, Full of the Holy Spirit

The Gospel of Luke Chapters 3-6
It has been an interesting experience going back to read significant portions of the Gospel of Luke just for the story and not (necessarily) studying the text with an eye toward preaching on a shorter passage.The arch of the narrative is more evident and interesting details between the different Gospels are brought to life.
One of the most awesome parts of Luke’s Gospel that is never read in the course of our Sunday lectionary cycle is Jesus’ genealogy (3:24-38).This list traces Jesus’ heritage through Joseph for 77 generations with ancestral connections to King David, Noah, Abraham, and all the way back to Adam.Many scholars and commentators have argued about the veracity of this lineage and how or if it can be proven.For others, the more important result is the number “77” itself, as it is the number of times Jesus says we should offer forgiveness.
I find the list challenging because the mothers are non-existent (which is not so in Matthew’s genealog…

Let Us Begin Our Journey

“Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’” Luke 2:34-45
Throughout Lent and Easter, my blog will be dedicated to reflecting on the readings from the Good Book Club ( – a program sponsored by Forward Movement to encourage the Church to read the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts) from the previous week.For this week, there are only 3 days of readings since the program started on Sunday and it was the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent when the Church is called to repentance, reflection and fasting.It is also the beginning of Jesus’ journey toward the cross and ultimately his death, so the juxtaposition of reading about his birth is a bit startling.
No one wants to imagine a baby dying.…

Lenten Resources

Just in case you are unaware, the Church season of Lent begins next Wednesday, February 14th.Yes, it is early because Easter is early (April 1st), based on the timing of the full-moon after the spring equinox (which happens to be on March 20th this year).
The season of Lent is a time of reflection and renewal, and opportunity to strengthen our relationship with God and each other.While some associate that with “giving up” or “taking on,” it is better to think about our priorities and order of our life.Do we give God our time and attention?If so, how much?Would we benefit from more? Absolutely – and Lent gives us the opportunity to make the time to focus on developing our faith.
Fortunately, there are many resources to help us on this journey.I’ll highlight the 3 we will be using at St. Barnabas: On the lighter side of things is Lent Madness – “Want to be inspired by some saintly souls this Lent and have fun along the way? Join with thousands of Christians across denominations who ha…

Ready or not, it’s February!

The older I get (and I know I am not that old), the more speedily time seems to move.  This Friday, February 2nd, marks 40 days after Christmas, which seems like it was less than a week ago.  And this year, due to the timing of Easter, the season of Lent starts in just 2 weeks.  It feels too soon!  I want more time to celebrate the light, more time to enjoy the reality of Jesus’s incarnation. I don’t want to think about his death just yet – he was just born!
Indeed, there is never a good time to think about unpleasant truths nor to escape the reality that time goes on at the same pace it always had; our awareness just changes.  The impatience of childhood gives way to the responsibilities of adulthood, which can feel overly burdensome if we let it. We can give into the model of scarcity – that there is never enough of anything – or we can seek another way.
Thank God there is another way! We can receive the present as a present.   That is, we can accept the gift of “right now” with jo…