Archive for March 4th, 2018

2 Peter 1:16-18: Made-Up Stories

Peter Paul Rubens: Transfiguration

Monday, March 5, 2018

We move toward the Easter promise, standing on the rejected cornerstone, stretching forward in hope. The story of Jesus’ transfiguration reminds us that the promise is real and tangible. Hope is justified.

We have not depended on made-up stories in making known to you the mighty coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes we saw his greatness. 

As he witnesses the transfiguration, Peter says to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Jesus asks his followers to hold their mountaintop experience in their hearts until he has risen from the dead. Mark records these words: [Peter] hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Although at first they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant, the disciples later recounted the encounter. Today we benefit from Peter’s witness.

We were there when he was given honor and glory by God the Father, when the voice came to him from the Supreme Glory, saying, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased!” 

Jesus climbs the mountain to examine his coming exodus. (Matthew 17:1-13Mark 9:2-10, Luke 9:28-36). We journey through Lent in expectation of our own encounter. Peter witnesses to the event of Jesus’ transformation. We witness our own makeover in the possibility that Easter opens for us so that we too may say . . .

We ourselves heard this voice coming from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.

Peter witnesses boldly for us. Are we willing to witness for others today?

These verses are the GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION BIBLE. When we compare other versions of these words, we – like Peter – do not rely on made-up stories. And we discover ways to share our own story of faith and conversion with others.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Transfiguration-Rubens.JPG 

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Isaiah 28 and 29: The Fate of Samaria – Part IV

Third Sunday of Lent, March 4, 2018

David Teniers the Younger after Francesco Bassano: The Good Samaritan

We might look to the fate of Samaria to see if we discover ourselves in the story. We might be a society that works at maintaining openness to God, or we might look for the quick ease and comfort of filter bubbles that repeat to us the words we want to hear. In this season of searching, we look for fidelity, and we refuse to panic.

Thus says the Lord God,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
    a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
    “One who trusts will not panic”. (NRSV)

In the story of the Good Samaritan with which Jesus teaches us, we might be the Levite on our way to the Temple, consumed with following the letter of the Law and closing ourselves to the Spirit. We might be the Samaritan moved with compassion to help a broken traveler. Or we might even be the traveler. In this season of hope, we rest in expectation of God’s goodness, and we trust in Christ.

“Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion,
    a solid granite foundation, squared and true.
And this is the meaning of the stone:
    a trusting life won’t topple”. (MSG)

In the story of Jesus, we encounter the rejected cornerstone that God promises through the prophet Isaiah. We see the redemption of Samaria that Isaiah foretells. We meet the firmest of foundations that saves us from toppling. In this season of repentance, we attempt to imitate God’s merciful love as we forgive those who harm us.

This, now, is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I am placing in Zion a foundation that is firm and strong. In it I am putting a solid cornerstone on which are written the words, ‘Faith that is firm is also patient.’” (GNT)

As we ponder the fate of Samaria, we discover ourselves in the story. We rise to step upon the shoulders of the promised, precious stone. We stand firmly on the granite underpinning of Christ’s promise, and we refuse to topple.

When we compare varying translations of Isaiah 28:16, we find fresh sustenance for the times we panic. For a modern story of The Good Samaritan, click on the image or visit: http://www.martyduren.com/2015/11/17/the-good-samaritan-a-retelling/ 

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