Adam Marshall-Lopez leads us as we examine both the tension between Jesus and his family (evident in their attempt to take him out of public view) and the “inner” teaching about the unforgivable sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
Our scripture passage for today highlights a Pharisee named Nicodemus whose interest, curiosity and hope appeared to be piqued by Jesus. Jesus tells him that all must be “born again” or “born from above” and Nicodemus struggles with what that might possibly mean. “How can we possibly be born again when we’ve already been born?”
Today is Pentecost Sunday, a day that is recognized as the birthday of the church! Today we discuss the ways God breaks the binary, otherness, in which language, nationality, gender, sexuality, race, culture, ability no longer hold us back from understanding one another, and unites us so that we can be one in the Holy Spirit. This is the birth of a new church. A celebration in oneness.
Today is Ascension Sunday, a day that is not particularly recognized or highly anticipated in our culture at large. I doubt anyone woke up this morning saying, “Yay! It’s Ascension Sunday!” But, despite that fact, it’s a day that is special…significant in the life of the church. Luke writes about the ascension of Jesus into heaven, his return back to God, both at the end of the gospel of Luke and at the beginning of Acts. Curiously, these accounts are somewhat different.
Our scripture today continues in the Eastertide theme of life in relationship with God. Jesus talks about his love for the disciples and their love for one another using the language of friendship. And, even as we read his words, we might find ourselves asking, “How do we, frail, fallible human beings even come close to fulfilling this commandment?”
n today’s scripture passage from Acts, the Ethiopian eunuch was reading precisely these words from Isaiah when the Spirit instructed Philip to approach his chariot and engage him in conversation. The full name of this book is The Acts of the Apostles but it contains so much more than just that! In fact, the Philip in this story is not Philip the apostle, but rather Philip the evangelist, one of seven Greek speaking Jewish Christians who were appointed to tend to the needs of others, especially to the widows in the Greek speaking portion of the Christian community. This wonderful, Spirit-driven encounter reminds us of the ever-widening circle of inclusion that has always been at the heart of the gospel, way back when and all the way up to our here and now.
Our lectionary readings for today include Psalm 23 along with a portion of John’s gospel that reminds us that Jesus is the good shepherd. What does it mean for us to be sheep? What does it mean to have a shepherd?
Into the midst of angst and struggle, Jesus comes to the disciples with a word of greeting, “Peace be with you.” How often are we, just like those early disciples, a mix of joy and disbelief and wonder?