Friday, May 26, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Owe

Five Minute Friday Owe Love
Five Minute Friday :: Owe Linkup

Romans 13:8,10 Owe no one anything else except to love one another,
for anyone who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Love does no evil to a neighbor;
therefore love fulfills the law.

The apostle Paul insists we owe, we "ought" the love of Christ to every one another. He compares love for others to a debt, an ought that we owe them.

Whether we can do it on traditional times of Saturday or Sunday, or if our schedule requires we find another day or extended time during the week, keeping sabbath helps us experience life as gift and not as a chore, however pleasing some employment actually may be at times. We all know the human necessity of working at something and contributing to the greater good so we can earn our keep by getting legal tender in return or possibly receiving "in kind" food or shelter. And honestly, many times that exchange feels very good. It stokes our sense of well-being and worthiness. It *even* sets an example to imitate.

The Ten Words of the Sinai Covenant line out how to love one another, clarify ways our lives together don't start as sweet heartfelt emotion, but as caring concern for each other. Love that insists everyone receives the justice of food, shelter, and consistent connection with community. Love that appropriately calls out violations of another's rights and dignity. Jesus of Nazareth summed it up with love God, neighbor, and self.

When we love our neighbor as God loves us, they begin to know existence as graced rather than as a tough to navigate chore. Do we owe them? Yes. Do they owe us? Yes. Love fulfills the law. Love is all in all.


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Friday, May 19, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Chapter

books on shelves with chapters
Five Minute Friday :: Chapter Linkup

Intro

Thanks to my church springing for the registration, this past week I had the amazing privilege of virtually attending Festival of Homiletics 2023; Preaching Hope for a Weary World was this year's theme. Despite all those years of all those zoom and other distance meetings, I was surprised that being there online was quite satisfying. I'd compare it to something like no-fat salad dressing—did you know Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette Fat Free is surprisingly good? I don't know that any ultra-low fat anything quite approaches a high calorie counterpart, but the good ones are more than adequate because you save so many calories. Sermons, lectures, short worship services at the preaching conference all came through just fine. However, closing worship via electronic screen and sound was so not enough.

Preacher for concluding worship Barbara Lundblad doesn't have her own website, though you can find her on Day1, Working Preacher, Amazon and other places. It was the last event of the 4-day conference, but… it wasn't over. It's not over. There's more! She pointed out how John 20:30 sounds like The End as it announces, "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book," but it's not over because you turn the page and there's a chapter 21 that starts: "After these things…" Although 21 turns out to be the real last chapter of John in our bibles, according to verse 25, "there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." So the last part of the last-written gospel account reminds us our lives are open ended as we travel with Jesus.


Chapters and Seasons

Our host Kate wrote about her daughter finishing high school; an occasion or event like graduation clearly ends a chapter, but everyone expects several more interesting and probably complicated ones will follow. Although any chapter unfolds alongside other chapters in the life of an individual, family, or community, as months and years go by, parallel chapters eventually will end, others open. I don't know how many times I've written about each of us having recognizable seasons that are similar to meteorological and astronomical ones. Sometimes we cycle through them like the planet does; sometimes we never experience a particular season again.

You probably realize scripture originally wasn't divided into chapters and verses. The Wycliffe Bible probably was the first Bible published with chapters, the Geneva Bible first with verses. I'd need to confirm it with a reliable source, but I think even the Reformers had only chapter divisions and not yet individual verses in the bibles they used. Our scriptures may not have started out with chapters, but all of us in developed countries expect discrete and overlapping chapters of adventure, change, disappointment, and surprise.

The worldwide pandemic officially is over, yet like almost everyone as Covid continues, as many have done across the decades, and as I've had to do more than I'd anticipated, I hope to turn the page into a new life chapter very soon. I'm excited to see what the next one brings.


Illustrations

Do you write your story in journals or notebooks with months, days, and years, in chapters or page numbers? Do you blog or instagram or facebook photos or drawings? Or do mostly your memories store your narrative?

Back in elementary school, writing a story or a paragraph to a picture the teacher provided was one of my favorite assignments. Today's header illustrates books that collectively contain hundreds of chapters on various topics. (It's also a photograph I've enjoyed editing a few dozen times.) The life chapter of those books ended eons ago, but many of the books have played a part in most of the chapters that followed. By the way, almost none of the books were or even now are as thoroughly read and almost tattered as they look. That's photoshop filters and other effects! Did I say edited a few times?

Some of the books, quite a few memories, even some hopes from back in those days have made it into succeeding chapters. The next chapter? All I know is God has gone ahead of me. I'm still weary, but I'll walk safely and surely in resurrection hope.

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Saturday, May 13, 2023

Five Miute Friday :: Deliberate

house in spring colors
Five Minute Friday :: Deliberate Linkup


Deliberate the adjective, deliberate a verb. Deliberate is almost the opposite of last week's soon prompt.

In Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, speaking for the unanimous SCOTUS decision that separate is inherently not equal, Chief Justice Earl Warren instructed states to desegregate schools "with all deliberate speed." Whatever the historical source of all deliberate speed, and even taking a retrospective assessment of the near countless negative ways "move slowly" affected actual implementation of integrating schools and other public facilities, in many situations deliberate is a much better option than thoughtless haste.

Whether it's morally necessary for everyone's wellbeing and safety, or because of shifting tastes and preferences, change happens most thoroughly and stays put longest when it happens in society's mainstream. New ideas and behaviors usually start at the edges, or at the edges' edges (also known as fringes) with a small number of individuals. Likewise, not all that many offer extreme resistance to change.

I'm writing about change because when a person or group deliberates (together!) and then acts, it's almost always thoughtful action coupled with a sense of purpose and resolve.

I love our FMF host Kate's request:

As we move into another week soon, let's consider: In what ways might you need to be more deliberate this week in the ways you interact with others?

Purpose. Resolve. Mindfulness. And possibly some change from our usual, hasty, ways?

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Thursday, May 11, 2023

Sermon on 07 May

bright flowers bouquet
On the Fifth Sunday of Easter I guest preached again. They follow the Narrative Lectionary that follows the autumn through spring academic year and gives the formal lectionary a summertime vacation. This is Matthew's year in both NL and RCL, thus my references to Matthew. They plan to study more of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount during the summer.

Instead of interpreting for the current context, I decided to introduce Romans; enthusiastic feedback confirmed that was the best decision. As before, this is more notes than it is actual preached words (because I still use notes when I need a prompt).


Romans 1:1-17

• Grace to you and peace from Jesus Christ, firstborn from the dead and the first fruits of the new creation. Amen!

Today we're celebrating live and we're celebrating virtual on Easter five! Easter isn't only a single glorious celebration, it's a fifty-day long season that occupies about one-seventh of the year. Today is the fifth Sunday of Easter, day 29.

We've been studying Matthew's gospel, but today we start several weeks in the letter or epistle to the church at Rome. These weeks will increase our understanding of Matthew when we return to the Sermon on the Mount during summer.

Letters or epistles in the NT were sent to various churches, often in a round robin style where content and comments got added before being sent to the next place. Unlike the gospels that mostly reflect on Jesus' life and ministry, epistles tend toward teaching and doctrines that the OT and Jesus' life reveal. The letters then in turn help clarify Jesus' teachings. Technically an epistles is a sent communication.

Paul/Saul of Tarsus wrote his epistles considerably earlier than the gospels were composed. I always need to remind myself these letters were so much earlier than the gospels, yet they also reflect upon and interpret Jesus of Nazareth's ministry. The NT includes seven Paul wrote for sure; a few others bear his name as author, but weren't written by him. Back then they didn't have copyright concerns, and to attribute what you wrote to a famous person was a compliment that also would get you more readers. The NT also contains letters written quite a while later by other authors. Those would include Titus and Timothy (both attributed to Paul), Peter, James…

Letters or epistles tend toward teachings and doctrines derived from God's activity in the world, from the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ that other sections of scripture narrate.

Romans is the latest of Paul's letters. Today I'll talk about only chapter 1 that reveals some about the rest of the book. Romans includes theology of creation, redemption, and sanctification, along with words about the church. Theology about the Triune God! You could say Romans is Saint Paul's systematic theology. Systematics is the philosophical theology that outlines and structures its topics in logical ways. Among many others, Saint Augustine, John Calvin, and Karl Barth all wrote famous systematic theologies.

Although Romans' literary format is not a gospel, Paul uses the word gospel. Gospel means good news. Maybe you've seen the stage play musical, film, or TV show Godspell? That's gospel in Old English. In the Roman imperial context, gospel already was a known concept. They referred to the birth of the future emperor a gospel. Gospel most frequently described the returning conquering general's announcement of annihilating his enemies. Just as Christianity subverts, turns upside down, and redefines many existing concepts and practices, the Christian gospel is the Good News of God's redemption in Jesus Christ. Not only is it life rather than death; the gospel of Jesus Christ is the annihilation of death and the reign of life.

As Christians we usually say the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet Paul refers to the gospel of God, so this isn't something new. The good news for creation of redemption and renewal is the way God always has acted. In verse 16 Paul says the gospel is "God's saving power." Because of this, we can follow many gospeled threads through the Hebrew scriptures.

Reading the New Testament, we find different nuances and emphases of Gospel. For Paul in particular the gospel is death and resurrection. The word evangelical is gospel in Greek! As people baptized into Jesus Christ, we are a gospeled community.

Romans 1:16-17 is huge in the history of the church. These verses were a kind of hinge between the church prior to the Reformation in the 16th century and the church after that. Since Martin Luther's excitedly zeroing in on these verses, church and academy sometimes have said we only need to trust or have faith in God, that the medieval Roman branch of the church was mistaken when it claimed or works or behaviors could reconcile or make us right with God. As we study this letter and when we return to Matthew, it's important to remember that Paul never separates faith or trust from obedience or works (our actions). Neither did Jesus. Neither does any of the Old Testament.

Paul calls himself an apostle, but we know he wasn't one of Jesus' original twelve followers. In scripture an apostle is someone who has seen the risen Christ. You may remember in the book of Acts when they're voting to find a twelfth to join the remaining ones after Judas of Iscariot's betrayal, they insisted it had to be a "witness to the resurrection," someone who had met Jesus crucified, Christ risen face to face: Acts 1:21-26 You've probably read the account of Paul's Conversion (also in Acts, chapter 9) when the risen Christ encounters Paul along the road? That event gave Paul apostolic qualification, just as our encounters with the Risen One make us apostles.

Paul introduces himself as an apostle, yet insists it's about BOTH being disciples or followers who learn from the teaching of the earthly Jesus AND about being apostles or sent people of the risen Christ. We've been in Matthew's gospel, where Matthew's Jesus is the ultimate teacher or rabbi. Jesus wants us, his followers to be the ultimate students or disciples, "taught persons." Disciple or apostle, it's a gift of God's grace.

An epistle is a sent communication; an apostle is a sent person.

We'll soon celebrate the day of Pentecost and the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit we receive in baptism that enables us to follow Jesus as disciples and apostles.

I hope our study of Romans will broaden, deepen, and enhance our understanding of Jesus' teaching when we return to Matthew's gospel during the summer.

To God Alone Be Glory.

Amen!
Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles near Westwood Blvd

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Soon

catalina
Five Minute Friday :: Soon Linkup

The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."

"Please, Aslan… what do you call soon?" "I call all times soon," said Aslan.
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Soon. Expected – or wanted – before much longer in calendar time. Most of us want whatever it is sooner rather than later. Desiring something yesterday! is commonplace. Like a little kid who thinks they want to be a teenager, sometimes we don't consider preparation, people, and other necessary inputs for an event or experience to happen.

Are you willing to settle for a lesser one because you can have it sooner? Or is it worth the longer wait for a better one?

We often think of God outside of time as we know it, and God indeed is eternal and transcendent. But in Jesus' incarnation God spent days, years, minutes, and hours like ours. Because God beyond time and space became close at hand immanent within measurable time and space in a body like ours, God knew our longing to have needs fulfilled and wants met as soon as possible.

My header photo glows in late afternoon, late autumn southland sun. It's the golden hour, and I want to go home soon to a place like that. It seems as if I've settled for lesser work, living, and participation options because I could have them sooner. My endless longing and searching for home that still hasn't happened is old stuff, and best guess it will happen a lot sooner if/when I try to find something similar to those few things that actually have worked well. I've already done the longer wait for one that's so much better than the sooner one. So jump in!

PS: In formal theological terms, with God all times are soon, but we need to live in ways that accommodate our earthbound reality.

The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
Revelation 22:21-22

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Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 2023

april 2023 header
• Peach Blossoms
• Golden Poppies
• Succulents
• Roxy in Easter Egg Bandana she won from a twitter friend

Maundy Thursday St Matthew;s exterior; bread and cup stained glass
• Triduum Act 1: Maundy Thursday in North Hollywood 06 April

four paintings for good friday
• Triduum Act 2: Good Friday in North Hollywood. What a Night! 07 April

He Qi Crucifixion
• Crucifixion by He Qi is a separate line item. He Qi Art website

baptismal font and white flowers
• Triduum Act 3: Resurrection – font and flowers 09 April

purple statice and golden poppies
• Statice and Golden Poppies. The world in spring bloom!

earth day 2023 invest in our planet
• Too funny! I was so intent on publishing this April rundown before midnight, and I knew I'd carefully included all the highlights… but I ended up spacing Earth Day! Here's a Monday morning edit and addition. I trust you'll always #InvestInOurPlanet.

peach blossoms young peaches
• Very early April peach blossoms turned into very late April peaches

living local 2023
California word on golden poppies

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Persist

five minute friday persist
Five Minute Friday :: Persist Linkup

Similar to a visual or musical pattern that repeats itself over and over again, sometimes exactly the same, sometimes with variations, my years have hankered after whatever skills and experiences I'd need to answer and fulfill God's call on my life and gifts. Anyone would say I persisted. When yet another expected situation didn't turn out well or never even began, I persisted in the same direction.

It doesn't take profound powers of observation to notice how creation also fancies persistent patterns. Something about the basic design of the universe? Probably so!

My current persist list includes:

• Keepin' on keepin' on with this "main blog" I started on the middle day of July 2002. I haven't missed a month, though for a scant handful I've blogged only once or twice.

• My mostly scripture, mostly lectionary blog: City Paradise / Urban Wilderness

• More skills for, more experience related to the essential "persist" for my lifelong sense of call and purpose to beautify the inner city and serve the urban church.

• The Beethoven Piano Sonatas. I can play 27 of the 32 to public performance level, though admittedly I've paused that project for now because the five remaining seem too conceptually difficult. I'll get to those soon, I trust.

• My relational persistence definitely is subject to revision. Only a very few times I've decided I no longer can persist leaving the light on for a particular person, though that still says nothing about what I might do regarding them a few years from now.

Time's up! How do you persist?

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Friday, April 21, 2023

Earth Day 2023

Earth Day 2023 Invest in our Planet
Earth Day 2023: Invest In Our Planet

Flowery clip art with legal reuse rights is from Creative Market several years ago. When or if I find the artist name, I'll add it here and link to their CM or other online presence.

Earth Day Official Website

Friday, April 14, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Realize

five minute friday los angeles map
Back with FMF from my usual blog; for now I've happily reverted to the blogspot address and will deal later with custom one. After talking with a very helpful guy from domain registrar to learn everything basically was ok at their end but then still not being able to log in to there from 13 year old iMac to update blogger info with them plus every phone attempt I made to log in sort of worked except after I retrieved text code they sent, browser window reverted to login screen…

Five Minute Friday :: Realize Linkup

• A long time ago I blogged about the book home is always the place you just left with its "restless longing and persistent grace" subtitle as the condition of Longing For Home. I accurately admitted i enjoy being almost everywhere, yet I always have a sense of yearning for where I've just been and sometimes even for almost every place I've ever lived. (Only a slight exaggeration.)

But what can I say about this week's realize prompt in five minutes, more or less? I'll start by telling you a few weeks back I suddenly realized I feel settled in my current place of Los Angeles. I'm still restless. I still need opportunities the huge metro area hasn't offered me. I need to keep reaching out with offers and overtures, but I want to stay in this general area. I realized that despite my anger, consternation, and other emotions about not having opportunities I need to be healthy and well again, I don't even remember the last time I longed for somewhere else or plotted an escape from the second largest city and most populous county in the USA. Together with a few million others who weren't born here, who came here from other cities, countries, and states of being, I've become an Angeleno. And that realization brings freedom. I realize I'm free to stay in LA,

One of my anthems is American Idol Phillip Phillips' chart buster, "Just know you're not alone, 'cause I'm going to make this place your home." I realize to be welcomed (in quite a few places I have been) isn't the same as belonging. I realize I'm physically home, but I still lack belonging.

My realize part 2 is admitting despite the welcome a few truly have given me, I cannot continue more than survival without a space and place to belong, because "belong" necessarily includes some opportunities to contribute to an extent that resonates with my preparation, abilities, and longing. I realize that will be God's deliverance into the broad space – "spacious place" – of Psalm 18:19 when it happens.

"Restless longing and persistent grace" is the subtitle of the book about home; I realize be-longing is my persistent subtext.

Note: I plugged in "realize" where I might not have if I hadn't been trying to address the prompt.
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home is always the place you just left book cover
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Saturday, April 08, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Own

segullah on flower
Five Minute Friday :: Own Linkup

Although I contacted the domain host and the person I talked with did his best to update this blog on the CMS, it still doesn't load correctly and there seems to be zero way to contact blogger directly. If the blog didn't date from July 2002 I might give up and start another, but I don't want to lose all that content and I really really like the blogger interface, so migrating to another CMS with the same name isn't an option. Therefore… I formally Five Minute Friday'ed on my scripture blog again and I'm replicating everything on desert spirit's fire.

Own

When we own something, it belongs to us. Some ownership of an item or object, a success or a failure, is a clear choice—when you purchase something, for example. Sometimes we need to own a circumstance or outcome that happened because of many factors, so that particular owning is a bit complicated.

…if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my special treasure or possession – segullah – סְגֻלָּה – among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:5-6

Just as God claimed Israel as God's own during their desert trek toward the Land of Promise, in baptism God owns and possesses us. We belong to God! God chooses us, claims us, and charges us to be part of the reign of heaven on earth. As the PCUSA's Sixth Great End of the Church expresses it, "The exhibition of the reign of heaven to the world." That means the world sees heaven when they observe us! It's both gift and response ("responsibility") because God's promises have a condition.

Almost immediately before giving them the ten words of commandments that describe how God's people are to live out their relationships with God, known and nearby neighbors, and with strangers (sojourners, aliens, foreigners in scriptural terms), God tells them if they obey and keep covenant, then God will treasure them, "own" them, in a particular way.

Yes, God loves each of us and all creation unconditionally. But keeping Torah and keeping our baptismal covenants carry the distinctive responsibility of owning them by acting for the good of friends, neighbors, newcomers, strangers, frenemies, and even enemies to help create a flourishing common-wealth.

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Saturday, April 01, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Break

bread and cup
Five Minute Friday :: Break Linkup

I first wrote this on my City Paradise – Urban Wilderness blog; it will show up here after I update the IP address.

News break. Breaking day. Day break. Water main break. Lunch break. Break dancing. A break in the routine. Break a bone. Relationship breakup. Break bread. Don't break your promises. God doesn't! I want to write about all of those!

Our host Kate begged for a break in school shootings (others, too) that have become routine.

What's my focus this time?

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

As Jesus breaks bread and blesses wine, he tells us "do this—in remembrance of me."

Bless and break bread, pour out wine? "Do this" blood of the new covenant announcement?

Re-membering means re-collecting pieces and putting them back together to restore a broken whole that weaves together past and present.

When the church obeys Jesus by breaking bread and pouring out wine in his memory, part of the liturgical action includes retelling the story of God's people from creation through redemption in order to make it part of our own history. This remembering becomes about all of us throughout the history of the cosmos. We recollect how God has led us, how even those hard days didn't last forever… we again trust God whose final answer always is resurrection from death that breaks lives, shatters dreams, looks as if it annuls promises.

Do we need bread and wine to remember Jesus? Well, throughout the records of Jesus' life we find Jesus feeding strangers and feasting with friends; Jesus tells us people will come to the banquet from the east and the west, the north and the south … and about giving his broken body for the life of the world. The Welcome Table, the Calvary Cross, and the Reign of Heaven are tightly bound together.

When Jesus breaks bread and blesses wine, he tells us to do what he does—"in remembrance." Do we need bread and wine to remember Jesus?

We are breakout people! Wherever we go we become a living and a life-giving memory of Jesus. In us, Jesus again becomes alive in the world and we become a living connection to the heaven of God's reign on earth. Will people recognize us as the body of Jesus Christ when we break open our lives and hearts, share our substance and pour out our lives? I hope so!

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Friday, March 31, 2023

March 2023

march header collage
• Header collage: mid-March peach blossoms; Lion King banner outside the Pantages Theatre. A friend and I had planned to see Lion King, but it ended before we got tickets (long story). LA Phil tickets; late March peach blossoms.

Urban Wilderness Lectionary Project for March

• March has a string of special days; the entire month celebrates Women's History, with International Women's Day on the 8th—a midweek Wednesday this year.

• A friend got tickets and chose LA Phil's New Music Group for Tuesday March 14th. John Adams has won a Pulitzer and multiple Grammy awards. His autobiographical Hallelujah Junction for two pianos was the unforgettable highlight! This was my first time inside Disney Concert Hall and I'd previously only heard LA Phil at Hollywood Bowl.

John Adams' Hallelujah Junction book

• Every March 17th we remember Saint Patrick, patron of Ireland whose day makes everyone Irish.

Holu Fun Fest
• On Sunday March 19th it rained a little on the local Festival of Colours / Festival4India / #HoliFunFest that celebrated the full moon, a full range of natural colors, and the newness of spring.

• This year's spring equinox happened on Monday the 20th, along with the Persian Nowruz, another time of new beginnings. A few years ago I captured some Nowruz pictures in Westwood's Little Tehran or Tehrangeles; if I find them I'll add them here.

• Two days after the solstice the annual World Water Day rippled across the planet especially to raise awareness of fresh water without easily measurable saline content. For several years I've designed for WWD, but not this time—follow the tag to see some of my previous WWD interpretations.
Lake Balboa
Lake Balboa
• Six days later on Saturday March 25th several of us – including Sweety dog – walked around Lake Balboa. Of my dozen photos, these are the really irregular ones.

colorful crosses
banners handout header
• On the last Tuesday of March, I facilitated an afternoon banner workshop at the Synod Bishop's Colloquy. These color-filled free range crosses are from audience participation in the first morning presentation.
Glendale center stained glass
Living Loval 2022

Friday, March 24, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Follow

I will follow you wherever you go I will follow
Five Minute Friday :: Follow Linkup

• Luke 9:57 I will follow you wherever you go … I will follow you.

• Matthew 8:19 I will follow you wherever you go … I will follow you.

There have been saints and martyrs in all eras whose passion for love, mercy, justice, and the reign of heaven on earth has led them to follow Jesus to the extent of forsaking their earthly lives. Jesus told us to follow him; a classic perspective says we follow Jesus to the cross, then to the empty grave, which feels especially appropriate during this season of Lent.

My header image isn't quite a labyrinth, yet if you follow the words you'll find yourself at the center that's also source and destination. My footer photo is the labyrinth a friend in Previous City designed and built for his Eagle Scout project.

If a stranger asked, what would you tell them following Jesus is about? You could tell them it's like a labyrinth that guides you unimpeded without dead ends but typically has a few surprising switchbacks that momentarily make it look as if you've gone backwards. You could say it's like following words of life – love of God and love of neighbor – to create healthy local community and ultimately, a global commonwealth.

You could tell them both religious and political leaders in Jesus' imperial context with its violence, poverty, and despair considered Jesus a major threat. In that case, what would following Jesus here and now look like?

You could tell the inquirer to follow you into worship where the sacraments / ordinances of baptism and holy communion are politically, socially, and culturally subversive. If you follow the visible words of the sacraments you'll find yourself at the center that's also source and destination.

Exodus 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do."

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university city san diego labyrinth
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