Category Archives: responsibilities
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March 24, 2017 by jmar198013
The rich man—who was used to getting his way—wouldn’t let up. “No, Father Abraham!” he argued. “But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.” Abraham said, “If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” And that gives the story a new twist. Because we know Jesus, the one telling the story, would himself rise from the dead later. But even that wouldn’t convince a lot of people. When you invest yourself in getting more stuff, gaining more status, and winning at any cost—like the Pharisees—you become blind to many things.
March 9, 2016 by jmar198013
Less than a week before Jesus’ death, his friend Mary anointed his feet with perfume that cost a year’s wages. His disciple Judas complained: “That could have been sold, and the money given to the poor!”
But Jesus said: “You will always have the poor with you. But you will not always have me.”
But what if Jesus IS always among us in the form of the poor we serve? Remember, Jesus was a poor homeless man on the verge of death. And Mary poured out a year of wages to make sure he smelled good! What if that’s our example to follow? What if Jesus’ point is we should be THAT extravagant when we serve the poor?
January 22, 2016 by jmar198013
Jesus returned to his hometown synagogue, and preached from Isaiah 61.1-2. The great Jubilee text. Good news to the poor. Release to prisoners. Recovery of sight for the blind. Liberating the oppressed. And Jesus concluded by saying, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus always confronts the church afresh with this challenge. Today is the day to proclaim Jubilee. Today is the day to proclaim good news to the poor, release to the prisoners, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed.
Today is the day to fulfill the scriptures.
January 15, 2016 by jmar198013
John 2.1-11 records the first miracle–or “sign” of Jesus. When the wine runs out at a wedding feast where Jesus and his disciples are present, his mother presses him to do something about it. He has the caterers fill large water jugs to the brim. When the headwaiter tastes it, it has become superior wine–better than the wine they had to begin with.
This sermon suggests that the first miracle of Jesus points the way for the church in a world characterized by need and lack. Jesus’ mother, the obedient servants, even the water vessels show us how God empowers us to respond to the needs of the world.
November 7, 2015 by jmar198013
If the church wants to learn how to deal with widows–and whatever other vulnerable people we meet–we shouldn’t look to the story of the widow’s mites in Mark 12. That widow was being exploited.
Rather, the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath will provide us with a pragmatic, more just, more organic model of ministering to and alongside the vulnerable members of our communities.
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August 31, 2015 by jmar198013
In Mark 7.1-23, Jesus did something stunning: He boldly declared that people had misunderstood an entire chapter of the Bible (Leviticus 11). Now if there’s anywhere you can make the “Bible clearly says” arguments, it would have been the dietary laws of the Hebrew Bible. Jesus offers a radically revisionist interpretation of them. Why can’t we read the Bible like Jesus?
July 13, 2014 by jmar198013
If our sharing in the Lord’s Supper on Sundays isn’t an act of resistance, maybe it isn’t really the Lord’s Supper.