Come Together, Right Now…

So when is the last time that you commanded a mulberry tree to get up and be replanted in the sea? Apparently, Jesus tells us in the scripture this week that it is one of the powers that comes with faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed. What are we to make of this? That we should have some sort of magical power to move trees with speech? Are we all convicted of a lack of faith? Because last I checked, I don’t see anyone with the power to talk to trees. I suppose the most straight forward way to see this is that with God, all things are possible. Perhaps the point is not so much that we are given mystical abilities to command plants, but that when we put our mind to something and believe in God’s power within our lives, everything is within our grasp. Given the message of hope that we heard last Sunday

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If It Is Not Okay, It Is Not the End

Hope is a tricky thing. On the one hand it is the very heart of what moves us, what makes us tick, what keeps us going. However, hope cannot be present without adversity.   I am reminded of one of my very favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. As I sat to write this, I had the words of one of the lead characters going through my head. “Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” To be honest with you, as I began to write this, heard those words bouncing through my head and thought they must have been scripture. Instead, they are the words of Andy Dufresne, a man who was mistakenly sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife (which he didn’t do). Those words of hope are offered by Dufresne to his friend Red, who has been released from prison but no longer knows how to live

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Be A Good Little Pharisee

Let’s talk about Pharisees for a minute. We love to demonize them. They are the bad guys who Jesus went up against. We just love it when Jesus pulls a fast one and pulls one over on the Pharisees. But do we really know who we are talking about?   The Pharisees were a religious class in Jesus time (far more prominent after Jesus time, but that is for another reflection). They were not the high priests. They were different from the Scribes in that they didn’t have nearly the power. They were different from the Saducees in their understanding of resurrection and afterlife questions. In a lot of ways, perhaps the best understanding of Pharisees in our modern context would be elders of the church. They were a bit more learned on matters of faith, had a bit of a voice within the religious community, had respect that went with them. All of this is to say, they weren’t

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Many people are uncomfortable with the words of the prophets, as many times those words are filled with wrath and threat. The passage from Jeremiah this week is no different. In Jeremiah 4 we hear the threat of what is to come from the Babylonian armies, if God’s people don’t shape up.   On Sunday, we will certainly spend a great deal of time talking about how we make sense of the wrath and the anger, and what that means for how we live our lives of faith. However, something else about this passage caught my eye this week, and it bears some reflection. Take a read and see if this part of the passage reminds you of another passage of scripture:   23 I looked at the earth, and it was without shape or form; at the heavens and there was no light. 24 I looked at the mountains and they were quaking; all the hills were rocking back