Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pieces of a Conversation

I know, I haven't written forever, other than uploading sermons, which is like the lazy pastor's blog. But I have subscribed to newproclamation.com, which is "your essential online preaching companion" - it's actually a decent preaching resource site with a community forum that is just starting to grow. Anyway, below are three comments I have made in the last three days, loosely related to the upcoming Gospel text: Mark 8:27-38, which you can read here.

September 11, 2006

With my first look at the texts for this next Sunday, the question that sticks out to me is “But who do you say that I am?” How do our words – what we teach, proclaim, and share – open up others to meet Jesus the Messiah? What do our actions as followers of Jesus reveal about our Lord? Or do our words and actions obscure others’ vision of Christ? If we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus, then, if others are attracted or repulsed, then they may at least catch a vision of the Crucified One.

September 12, 2006

Rev. ____,
I think that what you say is very true. I know that when my wife and I share our faith in simple words and daily practices with our children, it makes a difference for them - God becomes a part of our daily conversation and life. Just last night, my daughter (who will soon be four) asked, "Are God and Jesus part of our family?" When I answered yes, she asked, "Are God and Jesus part of everybody's family?" If Christ were not a part of our everyday conversation (and we are by no means perfect in that regard), such questions would not come up.
It works for me, too. It is often as I share my faith in caring conversation that my faith is strengthened and clarified. It is often as I prepare a sermon that I am challenged to walk my talk. I imagine that Peter was changed when he was moved to confess that Jesus is the Messiah.

September 13, 2006

Kierkegaard wrote, "A life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts." If it is also true that our thoughts, our lives, our beliefs and actions, tend to be formed by the company we keep; then the question becomes With whom do we walk? Who do we have our morning coffee with? Whose books and blogs do we read? Is our circle small or large? Does it extend through time to the past and through space to other peoples in the world? It also matters Who is at the center of our circle, Who is the focal point, the one in whom we trust and to whom we pray.

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