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Holy Saturday Reflection

In Peter Rollins’ book The Orthodox Heretic, there is a parable called “Being the Resurrection.” The parable describes a group of Jesus’ disciples who left Jerusalem after the crucifixion, before the resurrection, so they never knew of their Messiah’s resurrection and ascension. They travelled a great distance over many months until they found a place suitable to begin a community. A community, “where they vowed to keep the memory of Christ alive and live in simplicity, love, and forgiveness, just as he had taught them.” Over years, decades, and centuries, Rollins tells that, the community spent “their days reflecting on the life of Jesus and attempting to remain faithful to his ways. And all this despite the overwhelming sorrow in their heart, …despite the belief that death had defeated him and would one day defeat [them] also.”

One day, the communities’ isolation was broken when a group of missionaries reached the settlement. Rollins tells, “Without hesitation, the missionaries gathered together all the community members and recounted what had occurred after the imprisonment and bloody crucifixion of their Lord. That evening there was a great festival in the camp as people celebrated the news of the missionaries.”

During the evening’s celebration, a conversation occurred between a respected elder of the community and one of the missionaries. This elder was in sorrow, despite the great news that his Lord’s life had been vindicated through the resurrection and ascension. This elder, explaining his sorrow to the young missionary said, “Each day we have forsaken our very lives for him because we judged him wholly worthy of the sacrifice, wholly worthy of our being. But now, following your news, I am concerned that my children and my children’s children may follow him, not because of his radical life and supreme sacrifice, but selfishly, because his sacrifice will ensure their personal salvation and eternal life.”

This parable raises so many questions for reflection. Rollins says in his commentary on the parable, that in many ways the community, living their lives in a sort of extended Holy Saturday, described in the parable “affirmed the reality of the Resurrection in a more radical way than many of those who confess such a belief.” Too many Christians profess a belief in the resurrection, but their lives show no resemblance to the life of the Christ the resurrection was a vindication and justification of. How does the life you live reflect a belief in the resurrection of Christ? How are you living a life of resurrection? If Jesus’ life, as the Son of Man or the Human One, was lived as an example to show humanity its full potential, how is your life reflecting this potential as an image bearer, as part of the body of Christ, as someone who has been born again through water and spirit?

Use this Holy Saturday to reflect on the life Christ lived, and the sacrifice he made for us all. Finally reflect on how the example of his life and sacrificial death moves you towards a life of sacrifice, of taking up your own cross to follow him. Resurrection does not come to those who do not first die.


A Study of the Gospel of Mark: Thoughts on Mark 1:21-28

Mark 1:21-28

A Day in the Life: Capernaum, Synagogues, and Jesus’ Authority – Part 1

Observation

Jesus begins His Sabbath day at the synagogue and spends time teaching there. Those hearing Him were “astonished” because His teaching was with authority. While teaching, a man who was demon possessed made himself known. The spirit cried out through the man calling Jesus the “Holy One of God,” and asking what He was going to do with them. Jesus silenced the spirit and cast it out. Those in the synagogue who witnessed everything were said to be “amazed” at the authority of His teaching and his authority over the demonic. Continue reading


A Study of the Gospel of Mark: Thoughts on Mark 1:14-20

Mark 1:14-20

Jesus Begins His Ministry and Calls Disciples

Observation

John the Baptizer is arrested by Herod. Jesus begins his ministry preaching, “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!” Jesus calls Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John as disciples. They immediately leave their jobs and families to follow Jesus. Continue reading


A Study of the Gospel of Mark: Thoughts on Mark 1:9-13

Mark 1:9-13

Jesus is Baptized and Tempted

Observation

The baptism and temptation scenes in Mark are brief for the theological significance packed into them. Jesus is baptized by John. When he rises out of the water, the heavens are opened, the spirit like a dove descends, and God speaks. Mark says “immediately” Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. The passage ends with wild beasts and tending angels.

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A Study of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Thoughts on Mark 1:1-8

Over the past year I’ve been reading almost exclusively in the Gospels. I wanted to get, for myself, a clearer picture of who Jesus was and is, as presented by the Gospels, and to get a better feel for how the writers of the four gospels presented the Gospel in their narratives. I’ve been keeping notes on my own reading, but was also able to start participating in a Bible study group that is currently going through the Gospel of Mark. I’ve been meaning to put more of my notes down in blog form, and thought this was a good opportunity since I am now studying more formally with a group and keeping more formatted notes as a result.

I am using two commentaries to help me study the Gospel of Mark. They are N. T. Wright’s Mark For Everyone from The New Testament for Everyone series, and The Gospel according to Mark from The Pillar New Testament Commentary series by James R. Edwards, Jr. Below are my thoughts on Mark 1:1-8.

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

A couple of years ago, I adapted a prayer, entitled Bounty, from a book containing a collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. I’ve used this prayer at our Thanksgiving celebrations with family and friends ever since. I thought I would share my adaptation for those of you who may enjoy using it at your Thanksgiving celebrations as well.

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Relevant Magazine’s “Why I Am a Christian <fill-in-the-blank>” Op-Eds

Relevant Magazine Politics: Barak Obama, Ron Paul, and the Republicans

Over the past several weeks Relevant Magazine has posted three opinion pieces to their website written by Christians explaining why they believe and vote according to certain political principles. These pieces have all been interesting reads. I appreciate Relevant for giving each of these writers space to explain how Christianity has informed their political identities.

The first of the three posts was entitled The Rise of Christian Libertarians and was written by Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira. The Republican viewpoint was entitled Why I Am a Christian Republican and was written by Matthew Lee AndersonWhy I Am a Christian Democrat was written by David Masciotra. I appreciate Relevant for publishing these op-eds because it is important for Christians to reflect on how their Faith informs their thoughts and actions in the day-to-day, but also in big thought issues like politics. Continue reading