Matthew 7: 1-5; Luke 6: 37-38 “Compassionate Judging”

Read the Scripture Perhaps no verse has been quoted by those outside the church to those inside the church more than our passage today: “Judge not lest you be judged.” Do Jesus’ words mean that we are never to make judgements in this life? Do we have no right or… Continue reading

Matthew 9:35-38 “Compassion, Play and Justice”

Read the Scripture The Italian poet Dante is well known for his descriptions of the afterlife. His writings are of course metaphorical. They were never meant to be taken literally. But through his symbolism Dante often exposed his readers to profound truth. For example, he made ice and not fire… Continue reading

“A New Greatness” Mark 10:32-45; Matthew 18:1-5

Read the Scripture Jesus and his disciples are on the road to Jerusalem. As they make their way to the final showdown with the Jerusalem authorities, Jesus tries to warn his followers three times that  they will face suffering, persecution, and possibly death. But the disciples are confused and probably… Continue reading

When Charity Becomes a Dirty Word

Charity is a word which historically has had many meanings and uses. At one point in history, it defined the kind of self-giving love revealed in Jesus Christ (see the KJV translation of I Corinthians 13:13). Today it can refer to the actions of generous people and worthy organizations seeking… Continue reading

Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21 “Morning Star”

Even though our time is not the time of John the Seer, we too need a bright morning star.  In times of such confusion and bewilderment, chaos and upheaval, we need to refocus our eyes on Jesus.  In doing so, we will rediscover the primacy of compassion, rededicate ourselves to the search and affirmation of truth, flesh out our love into action, embrace the necessity of forgiveness, and orient our lives through a primary commitment to God’s justice and righteousness.  In a gray world such as ours as well as in the dark, sinister world of John, Christ can serve as the bright morning star as he enlightens our paths and enables us to see what is in and around us. Continue reading

Gladly (Philippians 2:1-11)

If the eternal nature of God is love and if Jesus came to reveal that self-giving love to the world, God can never be the author of vengeance, violence, or the arrogant use of brutal power. The schizoid Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Jesus is not found in the New Testament and certainly not in the example and words of Jesus. The perpetuation of this distorted vision of Jesus is one reason so many people in our post-modern world have rejected the church. They know better than to embrace such a contradictory image of God. Continue reading

The Prayer of St. Francis (“Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace”)

Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people over the centuries. He certainly is one of my favorite saints. Through the insights of such brilliant Franciscan theologians as Richard Rohr, Francis’ life, teachings, and example have impacted countless persons of all faiths.  As a… Continue reading

Matthew 5:1-12 “Blessed and Confronted by the Beatitudes” Part Two

Within the Gospels, there is evidence that Jesus himself understood “the now and the not yet” of the new kind of existence God was bringing through him. That new kind of existence included self-giving, unconditional, indiscriminate love, liberating truth, deep compassion, lavish forgiveness, profound trust, and costly discipleship. Such a radical transformation takes time. Continue reading

Totalism: Part Five

In Tenacious Solidarity: Biblical Provocations on Race, Religion, Climate, and the Economy, biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann offers this definition of totalism: By “totalism” I mean a system of signs and symbols that make a claim of validity that is all-encompassing, that will allow no challenge or competition, and that will… Continue reading