Aug 27

Jesus Christ: The Messiah



There’s a great spiritual you might have heard at Christmastime over the years. Each of the verses talks about some aspect or another of the Christmas story, but the heart of the spiritual is the refrain: (sing twice) “Everywhere I go; everywhere, I go, my Lord; everywhere I go, somebody’s talkin’ ’bout Jesus.” I know it’s August, and I know we have long left Matthew’s telling of the Christmas story in the dust, but this spiritual, this refrain, we need them today, now. Everywhere I go, somebody’s talkin’ ’bout Jesus.

Who do people say that the Son of Man is? That’s Jesus’s first question to the disciples. I have on my office bookshelves across the lawn some three hundred books. Back at home, at the parsonage, I probably have another thousand or so—all of them, or nearly all of them, are either talking about Jesus or talking about people who like to talk about Jesus. I teach sometimes at a seminary in Baltimore and another one down in D.C. Each of these has libraries with another hundred thousand or so books, mostly about Jesus or about people who like to talk about Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: you could go down each page and count up how often his name appears, but it would take you a lifetime. Continue reading

Feb 15

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, in Heaven, Holy



Jesus, the Son of Israel, the Son of God, withdraws to the wilderness, led by the Holy Spirit. He has passed through the waters of the Jordan River, but instead of entering the Promised Land, Jesus goes into the wilderness, the place of waiting and wandering and temptation. The heavens have opened, and the Spirit has descended on him like a dove, and a voice has claimed Jesus as God’s Beloved Son. Father, Son; Son, Father. You might expect something equally wonderful to follow on the heels of that stunning revelation: a royal enthronement, a mighty display of power and gifts, a magnificent show of divine love. Instead, the Spirit leads Jesus into a barren land. There is no royal throne, no display of power and gifts, no show of divine love. There isn’t even anyone else around. No, instead, there is hunger. There is thirst. There is temptation. And there is the devil. Continue reading