The Verbs of Lent: 4

Numbers 21:4-9The 4th Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 15, 2015

“The people became impatient on the road. The people spoke against God and Moses . . .” (Numbers 21:4-5)

The people spoke against God and Moses . . .

words_hurt_too
In the season of Lent, or in the mundane and mayhem of your regular life, what have you “spoke” that hurt another?

I didn’t have to read too many verses (though I did!) to seek a Lent-appropriate verb. This scene from Numbers was familiar, with the Children of Israel—free from the injustices of Egyptian slavery and sojourners in the wilderness—complaining to Moses. Like today’s kids (and adults) on a road trip with a destination that never seems to appear around the next curve or over the next hill, their protests included meals. The food’s bad! Not enough. Not the right kind. Not what you promised. Not what we’re used to eating.

It wasn’t only their stomachs that were growling!

I don’t have to read about the snakes God sent. I don’t have to read about how those wandering whiners were eventually contrite—after a multitude of nasty snakebites—and then spoke again to Moses. They would be good. They could be better.

Me? I got stuck on the verb spoke. Continue reading →

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The Verbs of Lent: 3

Exodus 20:1-17The 3rd Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 8, 2015

“Do not desire your neighbor’s house. Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else . . .” (Exodus 20:17)

lebron_james_nike_advertising_by_lopador-d5gxkvvPick your sponsor.

For over twenty-five years Nike has told us: Just do it!

Run. Jump. Climb. Score. Dive. Slam. Tackle. Dunk. Be active!

As an aging baby boomer who has enjoyed biking, hiking, shooting hoops, and smacking an ace on a tennis court, I can still get all tingly and energized when Nike’s LaBron James or Serena Williams show me how it is done by the pros! Continue reading →

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The Verbs of Lent: 2

Mark 8:31-38The 2nd Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 1, 2015

“After calling the crowd together with his disciples, Jesus said to them, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Jesus didn’t speak the pleasant, sit-at-the-library-table verb “study me.”

Instead, Jesus said, “follow me.”

Following is scrambling across the worst literal or figurative bridges in life, abandoning the safer side for no good reason other than faith.
Following is scrambling across the worst literal or figurative bridges in life, abandoning the safer side for no good reason other than faith.

It’s easier to study Jesus. I relish settling into my cushy recliner, cracking open a friendly book or two, and gleaning details about the context of Jesus’ era. How can we really understand any of those parables he told unless we understand the role of women in first-century Palestine, or the particular garments people wore, or grasp the pre-industrial techniques of farming, shepherding, carpentry, and so forth? I need to learn about Galilean geography during the Roman Empire so that I can (cleverly) determine when the Gospel of Luke is incorrect about a particular location. I wrestle with translating ancient Greek (should’ve taken more than one semester in seminary), but still like it when I find the nuanced meaning of a word in the Gospel of Mark to wow a congregation or shame an arrogant take-the-Bible-literally colleague . . . Continue reading →

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