One of the great theologians of the 20th century, Karl Barth, said in a Time magazine interview: “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible" (Time Magazine, Friday May 31, 1963). In Luke 13: 1-9, Jesus does just that as he responds to bad news stories in his own day; and so helps us respond to discouraging news in our own time. Click this link to download.
Last weekend, I was given a brochure in Little Tokyo that described Buddhism and its relationship to Christianity and other religions in a most interesting way. “Christians and Muslims believe that they will live in eternity with God if their life on earth has been spent in worthy and useful pursuits…. Buddhists on the other hand…believe that life is an everlasting cycle of birth and rebirth, that what is done during a lifetime determines the kind of life one will have in a future incarnation unless a person liberates him or herself from the cycle.” According to this leaflet -- Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism have something very significant in common…we are all redeemed by our good works. Now this is my question to those of you who profess to be Christians: Is this the gospel message? Does this accurately describe the message of Jesus? I’d like to return to Little Tokyo a bit later…but for now, let’s go to the house of a Pharisee in Luke 7: 36-50 where Jesus is treated with incredible disrespect on the one hand and surprising love on the other...it’s where we learn the one sure sign that we’ve truly understood the message of God's saving grace...and received it. Click this link to download.
Every generation claims to be radical, rebellious, and revolutionary, but in the end what they share is a common struggle with sin and death, and a thirst for meaningful, purposeful life. In The Story of the Wineskins (Luke 5: 33-39) Jesus presents himself as the truly radical and revolutionary one who offers that life to us as the first born....of a new generation (Romans 8: 29). Click this link to download.