Monday, April 25, 2016

What Does It Mean to Move Forward?

“I can’t do that now because I’ve been baptized!”

This was a statement made by a young man in one of my previous appointments.  He had been baptized after going through confirmation in our church as a 6th grader.  Some boys were getting into mischief and although he was tempted, he allowed this statement to be the direction with which his life would go.  And least for this instance!

Many times, I hear people saying, “Don’t talk like that, you’re in church!”  Or they may refrain from speaking ill of someone on church grounds.  This refers to the idea that certain behavior is not allowable on sacred ground.  We have an idea that God would not approve.    

As we mature in our faith, we realize that when we come to certain spiritual awakenings, we must change the way that we do things if we are to have any integrity at all.  So that while the comment on baptism may remain valid, the idea that church grounds hold any special sway over our behavior becomes inconsistent because we understand that if it is wrong in church, it is wrong everywhere else too.

Fishing on the boat was a little different
for the disciples.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading is John 21:1-14.  This is a resurrection appearance of Jesus but the disciples have difficulty recognizing him.  Could it be because they have gone back to their previous line of work?  When they decide to go fishing, this doesn’t seem to be in the same recreational way that many people undertake to relax or enjoy the outdoors.  With the nets involved, it seems that they are taking up their commercial enterprise once more.  It is almost as if they never encountered Jesus.

Except that they did.

Would it have seemed like they were caught doing something they shouldn’t?  Peter can’t wait for the boat to get to shore but jumps into the water and swims to meet Jesus.  Maybe he imagines the unspoken question from Jesus, "Peter, what are you doing?"  Jesus definitely seems unexpected!  

How does the resurrection interrupt our lives?  How does it keep us from going back to business as usual?

This will be our focus in worship on Sunday at First UnitedMethodist Church of Edmond.  Catch our livestream at 11 am or join us in the sanctuary at 8:30 or 11 am or in Wesley Hall for Worship on Hurd at 10:50 am. 

In Christ,


Photo by Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via, used under the Creative Commons license. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring and Resurrection

If you do some research, you might find that the word "Easter" could have pagan connotations.  It is a word that was used long before Jesus meaning "spring".

Celebrations surrounding the Spring equinox are much older than Christianity or even Judaism.  One of the ways that we interpret the world around us is through our faith.  We recognize that the concept of resurrection comes with the spring.  Vegetation leafs out once again after being "dead" during the winter months.  Animal life that has been in a hibernation state begins to become active again.

There is something mystical about
reconnecting with the wilderness
The reproductive drive seems to kick into overdrive in the spring all through the animal kingdom.  We associate the egg with the new birth and it becomes a symbol of who we are in Christ as we break through the shell of sin and greet life anew.

As the early Christian community began to interpret the world through this new lens of Jesus Christ, we had to discover what it meant.  How are we going to look at things differently now?

The earliest gospel, Mark, begins the story with the baptism of Jesus.

Matthew and Luke were written next and they stress that this is not early enough and begin the story with his birth.

Finally John takes us back to the very beginning - to Genesis itself as we see Christ involved with the creation of the world.  Jesus, a humble peasant, is a cosmic Christ or Messiah who is God.  We have this mysterious sense of the dual nature of Jesus Christ: we believe that Jesus is fully human and at the same time fully divine.

As we understand Christ redeems humanity in the world, we see in John's Gospel the bonding of Christian faith and the very created order itself.

What does this mean for my faith today as a Christian?

How do I see God at work in the natural world?

We'll be sharing in a different understanding of resurrection faith as contained in John 1:1-5 this Sunday at First United Methodist Church of Edmond.

In Christ,