The English language is made up of words and phrases that helps us to express ourselves with others.
Some of these phrases express a need, such as “I am hungry.” Some of these phrases express our physically state, such as “I do not feel well.” Others, however, simply suggest our preferences for something, such as “I like bananas.”
Of all the words and phrases in the English language, I believe there is one phrase that is more difficult than any other to say. That is because it is a phrase forces us to do the uncomfortable. It forces us to look within ourselves. It also requires us to understand what someone might be saying to us and to take a good hard look at our life.
The phrase that, I believe, might be the hardest for any of us to say is this: “I’m sorry.” Saying “I’m sorry” means to admit that we have done something that has hurt someone else. It means to confess that our actions, words, or thoughts might have caused pain for someone. At the same time, it also means to take the first step towards reconciliation and renewing our relationships with one another.
All of us can think to moments when we have said, “I’m sorry” to someone or have needed to say, “I’m sorry.” It is never easy to admit when we have done something wrong or caused pain towards another person. However, we can all think back to those moments and recognize that in those moments when we’ve said, “I’m sorry” it has led to healing not just in our relationships with someone else, but also within our own soul. Continue reading “Fan or Follower: Followers Turn to God”
John the Baptist was standing with two of his disciples. We don’t know what was taking place before this scene begins. Perhaps they were talking about the day’s activities. Perhaps they were talking about the baptism that took place the day before, when Jesus of Nazareth was baptized in the Jordan River and a voice was heard proclaiming him as the Son of God.
Who knows what was taking place when we receive this causal reference that Jesus walked past them as they talked. At first glance, this seems like a very innocent interaction. Perhaps Jesus had stayed with John and his disciples after his baptism and was preparing to head out and start on his journey. What may have been a simple gathering would soon become a time of introspection and decision for John’s two disciples. It starts with how John the Baptist responds to this passing interaction. John looks at his disciples and says, “Look! There is the Lamb of God.” He basically tells them, “You see that guy there? He’s the One we’ve been expecting. He is the Messiah.”
What would these disciples do? So, Andrew and the other disciple, who we believe might have been the Apostle John, ran off to meet Jesus. When they catch up with him, Jesus asks, “What do you want?” It is a question intended to allow them to search their hearts and respond accordingly. They take a moment and respond by saying, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Andrew and the other disciple weren’t interested in Jesus’ lodging arrangements. They were asking if they could become one of Jesus’ disciples and follow him. They wanted to join with him and learn from the Lord.
Jesus responds to their request with an invitation. He says, “Come and see.” He invites these two disciples of John to come with him and see what was about to take place. To see the life changing things Jesus would do and to hear the words he would teach. To see what it truly means for Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of all. Jesus invites them to follow him. They respond by going with him and following him on his itinerant journey.
In some way, each of us have responded to Jesus’ invitation to “come and see.” Jesus has invited us to come and see what he is doing and, in some way, we have responded. The way we have responded to Jesus’ invitation can be found by taking a deep look within our hearts and examining how we feel about Christ and the Lord’s love. When we do we might see that there are two basic ways we have responded. We have responded either as a “Jesus fan” or as a “Jesus follower.” Continue reading “Fan or Follower”
Saturday afternoon, between sessions of chasing our son off the fireplace ledge, I caught a repeat of one of my … Continue reading Remaining in Christ Even When We Want to Walk Away
Throughout my life, there have been many words used to describe me. Some of these words are funny. Some of the words are personal. Some are words that attempt to identify me through my work or passions.
I’ve been described as a son, a husband, a father, a public theologian, a writer, a pastor, a preacher, an editor, an advocate, as gregarious, a nerd, a poor golfer, a sports fan, and very competitive, especially when it comes to board games.
These are all adjectives that are part of who I am. Each of us here have adjectives that describes aspects about us. Words that shine a light on who we are, where we’ve been, or where we believe our lives are going.
We are fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, workers and retirees, veterans, leaders, and so much more. I am sure we could go on. Each of these adjectives are special and define so much about our lives and what we hold to be important. Continue reading “The Sacrament of Identification”
The wise men of Matthew’s gospel appear to us as mysterious individuals who came from the East to visit Jesus … Continue reading Simple Gifts