The Invitation

Luke 13:10-17 – The 14th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, August 21, 2016

 The synagogue leader, incensed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded . . .” (Luke 13:14)

man_aloneThe synagogue leader remained, still reeling from the unexpected confrontation. The words he’d challenged the Nazarene with kept repeating inside his mind, as if a giant muscled an anvil back and forth, slinging it against the sides of his head:

There are six days during which work is permitted. Come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath day!

He could’ve done better than those sentences. He was, after all, the leader . . . their leader. The one the congregation trusted. The one people looked to for an example. Wasn’t he the one who knew the laws, the scripture, and the difference between right and wrong?

He should’ve kept it simple and ordered the interloper to leave!

Get out of my synagogue. Now!

He should’ve shamed Jesus. Reminded him who really knew the law!

You dishonor God and the Sabbath and all of the laws of Moses and do not deserve to be called one among the Chosen! You are not a teacher, but a charlatan and a disappointment!

He should’ve reminded him who was superior! This wasn’t Jesus’ home, and no one had invited him to be here! Continue reading →

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Words Become Flames

Luke 12:49-56 – The 13th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, August 14, 2016

“I came to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish that it was already ablaze . . .” (Luke 12:49)


On the morning I started writing about Luke’s hot passage, the outside temperature was 75 degrees.

My clock read 4:05am. Yeah, I start working in the darker part of the morning.

According to the weather-guessers, the heat here in lovely Fresno, California will reach 99 degrees by noon. Within a few hours past midday, as the earth lurches around the sun, 108 degrees is the predicted high.

I read Jesus’ warning:

I came to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish that it was already ablaze.

Come to Fresno, Jesus. You’ll get your wish.

Here, in the middle of the golden state’s Central Valley, sidewalks can serve as short order cooks for fried eggs.

Here, between the cool ocean beaches to the west and the cool higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada to the east, we bake. We broil. We wither and wilt. With the sun slamming Fresno during the summer, I wonder if some residents wear Ray-Bans to bed. I don’t take my dog out for a second walk of the day until 8:00pm or later when it’s “cooled” to the high nineties.

We are ablaze. Continue reading →

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Jesus and the World’s Last Gasp

Luke 12:32-40 – The 12th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, August 7, 2016

“You also must be ready, because the Human One is coming at a time when you don’t expect him.” (Luke 12:40)

John.TeddyWhat is the best idea born and bred on American soil?

I’ll usually first say the national park system. I’m proud that Yosemite, in my geographic back yard, was where Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir schemed to radically protect wilderness.

What about Thomas Jefferson and his co-conspirators scribing the Declaration of Independence?

Jazz? Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Miles Davis . . . cool!

Mormons? Joseph Smith’s divine revelations and discoveries were in western New York, and led to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Continue reading →

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