Posts tagged with: Matthew

A man sowing seed in a field

Falling on Good Soil

Let us not offer Christ the rocky soil of partisanship and the stony path of greed and self-preservation, but let us be good soil into which the words and the stories and the actions of grace can fall, and take root, and grow.

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A stained glass window with a dove representing the Holy Spirit in the middle

Part II: Praying the Beatitudes Backwards

In this familiar passage of the Sermon on the Mount, it is easy for us to insert ourselves and our desire to receive individual blessings. However, Jesus is speaking to a crowd with collective, historical pain. It’s a communal message, not an individual message. What would it look like to turn the message into a prayer of confession with an outward facing Kingdom imagination?

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A crowd protesting in Los Angeles

Part I: The Beatitudes are Not for the Blessed

As a leader, I am a woman of color, but I am not African-American and cannot speak for my African-American sisters and brothers. Yet I can mourn with my siblings who mourn. A Christ-like leader cannot depart from the Christ on this mount. The message of the Beatitudes is ensconced in a painful present. Yet the Messenger of the Beatitudes points to a present and future hope in the midst of dark realities. I am called to mourn the systemic inequities that brought about the death of yet another African-American brother.

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A fountain on a lake against a pink sunset

Do You Turn to Jesus Christ?

When we turn to Christ, we must turn away from all the powers and lies and corruption and emptiness of this world.

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A fishing boat on a rainy, snowy day

I Do Not Feel Courageous

Jesus is not offering a word of condemnation but an invitation in the waters. He invites Peter into a conversation: Why did you hesitate? What made you waver? Why are you uncertain? Jesus invites Peter to get to know himself better during this time. Not for the sake of condemnation, but transformation.

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A woman looking out over a lake and mountains

I Am Afraid

I find myself afraid, too. Afraid of not knowing. Afraid of not seeing. Afraid of the losses. Afraid of the hard leadership decisions. Afraid that Jesus is nowhere to be seen at certain times of the day, like before dawn. Afraid of not knowing when the waves will stop battering our global family. Afraid that this curve won’t flatten and fall. Fear comes in waves.

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a man looking out through a window

A Leader Laments

As a leader, I must acknowledge my human limitations and release any subtle grasp for control in this crisis. Words have often failed me in the last four weeks. The first thing I’ve had to learn to do as a leader is to lament as needed. To identify and name my losses is the first step in the grief process.; to not run quickly to Easter Sunday but sit with the grief of the Garden of Gethsemane: my own and others’ grief. We serve a leader and a Savior that is well acquainted with the grief of both garden and Good Friday.

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Pentecost by Juan Batista Maino, 1620-1625

Prayers from the Epicenter

Even as we are asked to keep our distance from others, help us to find ways to reach out to those who need our support and to those whose support we need.  We are grateful for the gift of technology that keeps us emotionally connected even as we remain physically separated.

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a woman near a grassy field

How to Respond to Anxiety—In Yourself or Others

God, through Jesus Christ, isn’t a distant or unapproachable God. Whether through an on-the-run “Help me” prayer, or an extended, focused season of seeking him, he’s ready for us to reach out to him.

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A salt shaker on a counter

If That Salt Has Lost its Savor, It Ain’t Got Much in its Favor

We are to be the peacemakers, the meek, the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. When we are found in a place, our exercise of those virtues should be just like salt; we should change the flavor of the whole dish.

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Green plants growing in soil

A Method for Measuring Faith, Part 2

Life happens in the moments, and this is why we must have faith the size of a mustard seed. Our faith must be applied and fit into our moments.

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A large pile of mustard seeds

A Method for Measuring Faith, Part 1

The harvest of our year and our decade rests in us tending to our faith as if it were a mustard seed. It is not enough to be faithful about the outcome of a thing. We must also be faithful in the details of our desires. We must apply our faith in a granular and specific manner.

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The sun shining down on a desert landscape

The Dry Place

One of the leadership aspects that stands out to me in this story is the struggle for power. Where does real power come from? The second thing that stands out to me is leadership authority. Under whose authority is Jesus operating? Jesus was not too gifted for his own good. He was offered the temptation, yet Jesus seemed to know where real power came from. It was a test at the beginning of his public ministry. What kind of leader would he be? Under whose authority? Would he reach for the bread of fame? Would he rule by force? Would he take what he wanted when he wanted in whatever manner that he wanted? Would the end results justify the means?

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A dove in flight

The Deep Place

What’s true in the light is still true in the dark. Before Jesus does anything right or anything wrong, God the Father affirms the Son fully and faithfully. It is not an act of performance-based love. It is not an award for best sales or best customer service representative. It is not in response to words of critique by others about Jesus nor words of encouragement from others about Jesus.

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Holy Week and Work: Remembering Jesus in the Products of Work

Several years ago, while visiting a church on Sunday morning, I saw a striking communion banner. It featured a creative and tasteful weaving together of wheat stalks and bunches of grapes. I appreciated the artistry that went into the design and production of the banner and was glad to have seen it.

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