March 30, 2013

Easter - The Good News of Reconciliation

There are three huge questions:
·         Can we really believe the Good News of Reconciliation?
·         What does the Good News of Reconciliation mean?
·         How do we apply the Good News in this Church?

 1. Can we really believe the Good News of Easter?
The Good News of Easter is that God raised Jesus from physical death to authenticate all Jesus teachings and to create a new way for individuals to be reconciled to God through personal faith and trust in Jesus. Post-Enlightenment people have trouble with the miraculous and tend to dismiss the Resurrection – and its’ implications for salvation as myth. How do we know this is not a myth?

·         Biblical consistency suggests this is not a heroic myth – confusion among apostles sounds like real people

·         Biblical accounts of Resurrection appearances sound real

·         Lives were dramatically changed – stories of martyrs

·         2,000 years of personal experiences of the divine including near death experiences


2. What does the Good News of Reconciliation mean?
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15.22) explains how we die spiritually by our rebellion against God and need reconciliation IN CHRIST to have eternal spiritual life.

March 16, 2013

Lenten Question: How Have I Responded To Jesus?

(Homily notes for Lent 5, Yea C 2013 by Rev. John Gishler)

In Lent we are always looking for self-examination questions to help us get rid of our spiritual garbage and develop a richer spiritual life. The Readings assigned for Lent 5 help us do this by reminding us that God was doing a new thing in Jesus and by giving us dramatically different ways in which people responded to the Earthly Jesus. The question is where does my response come on the scale between the responses of Mary and Judas?

1.  Isaiah prophesied (43.16-21) that God would do a new thing
  •  New as in different from the Covenant of Moses / The Law   
  •  Not a replacement but an addition to, a deepening
  • Water in the desert = new spiritual life in a wasteland
  •  Hebrew Religion had become a barren wasteland for many
  • Not unlike our own time when personal Christian Faith has become a dry wasteland distorted by compromises and conflicts over doctrine and practice for many people
  • We all need to constantly review and renew our Faith

 2. Mary responded to Jesus with extravagant love
  • She honors Jesus by breaking a $ 50,000 bottle of perfume, anointing his feet and wiping them with her hair as a sign of her love.
  • She probably gave him everything she had, holding back nothing, including her pride
  • She anointed his feet – the standpoint of Jesus, who he was
  • Reminds us of “How beautiful are the feet of one who brings good news” (Romans 10.15) – the Good News of Divine Forgiveness
  • Woman’s Hair also a sign of the glory of God in creation
  • Honouring Jesus as more than ‘a good teacher’ – God with us