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Showing posts from November, 2018

Revelation Read-Along

Dear Bible Adventurer-
The written word of God, what we call the Bible, is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the faithful in the ages of scrolls, of parchment, of the printing press, and of digital technology. The Bible is not our God, but it is a manger in which Christ is laid. When we come to this manger like a shepherd, with humble hearts, and at heavenly urging, we will find our hope and our salvation. 
Why Revelation during Advent (or ever)? Advent is an in-between season that often gets overlooked in both church and secular society. The themes of anticipation, hope, peace, restoration, letting go, quietude, and discipleship can easily get lost in either frenetic Christmas preparation or in fear of the more dystopian themes of our news cycle and the biblical readings assigned for this time of year.
When Revelation was written, either very late in the first-century A.D./C.E. or early in the second, the people who followed the Way of Jesus find themselves outside of their society. If they …

Sharper Image (Thoughts on Sanctification)

I've had this image floating around in my head and in my social media feeds for more than a week.

I even wrote a prayer around it here.

Lutherans famously are "weak on sanctification". I even have one colleague who had a t-shirt to that effect in seminary. I cringe.

The most significant theological aspect of Lutheran theology is justification. This "being made right with God by God's own work and not our own" is the whole basement of our belief system, built with the cornerstone of Jesus the Christ.

Lutheran theologian Gerhard Forde said here (in a really good article that I recommend!),
Sanctification, if it is to be spoken of as something other than justification is perhaps best defined as the art of getting used to the unconditional justification wrought by the grace of God for Jesus’sake. It is what happens when we are grasped by the fact that God alone justifies. It is being made holy, and as such, it is not our work. It is the work of the Spirit who is…

Psalm 27 Revisited (Crosspost)

This was originally written for and posted at Revgalblogpals.org on 16 November 2018.


Psalm 27, Revised Julia Edition

God is my opening to life and my deliverance from evil—
who thinks they can scare me?
The Lord is a solid fence around me—
who will try and come through God’s defenses?
When those who oppose God’s will come at me thinking they can do something, it is all over for their evil plans-
Boom! Crash! Rubble.
Though they bring friends to gang up on me, my heart will not panic; though hostilities confront me at every turn, even then I will be confident.
I do have one request for God, though,  one thing that I really, really want:
that I may perceive the presence of the living God
every day of my life,
to gaze on the splendor of the Lord
and to find the Divine in every place I look.

For in times of trouble
God will keep me safe in the Divine dwelling;
God will hide me in the shelter of the sacred tent
and give me a perch upon the rock of ages.
Then I will look down on all those
who thought th…

Both Sides Now

For over ten years, I unlocked this door to go to work. Not always the first person in the building, but usually. Not always the last person in the building, but usually. I unlocked this door to run in and grab my communion kit, a Bible, or an address. I unlocked the door to get ready for a funeral, for a wedding, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost. I unlocked the door to come into God's House and I locked it behind me to go out into God's World. 

I accepted a call to serve a new congregation, which meant leaving my keys for the maroon and glass door behind. From what I learned on both sides of that door, I have come to a new place to serve new people, but the same God. For the first time the other day, I unlocked a new door. Eventually, I will unlock it for all the same reasons and then some new ones. 
Mostly, I think about how God remains the same. I do believe that God's character is immutable, but I also believe that God's actions, throughout history, happen in spit…