Saturday, March 15, 2014


A post about some practical ways to show love and give help to someone who's depressed.  (Thanks for posting the link, Lora.)
And a related post about a few "natural treatments" for fighting depression.

Friday, March 14, 2014

So, They WERE Told, and Quite Clearly

Continuing on the theme of "but I always pictured it that way,"
somehow I always figured the disciples were caught off-guard by Jesus' arrest and trial and crucifixion. 

Pastor has told us again and again that Jesus told them repeatedly what was coming.  There are even several story-headings in my Bible that say "Jesus predicts His death" or "Jesus predicts His death a second time" or "third time." 

But there at the start of Matthew 26, already halfway through Holy Week, it's there again, in plenty of specificity.  Two more days.  At the Passover.  Delivered up to be crucified.

It's not even like the guys had to remember for a couple of weeks.  Or wonder how it was going to happen.  How much plainer could He be?!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Blood of the Passover

Blood on the doorposts and lintels. 
The Angel of Death passed over those houses.

Maybe it was pictures from Sunday School lessons.
Maybe it was something I saw in a movie.

I always pictured in my mind the people painting the blood onto their door-frames.  You know, smearing it on in a rather tidy, complete way.

But Exodus 12 says the people were to dip the hyssop in the blood of the lamb and "strike [or touch] the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood."  The lintel.  The two doorposts.  That makes three applications of blood.

What happens in baptism?
I baptize you in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"This Cup Is ... "

"This is My blood ..." Jesus says in the gospels written by Matthew and Mark.

But from Paul we read this very cool (and yet mind-boggling) thing:  "This cup is the new testament in My blood" (Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11).

This cup IS ... a ...

Not "this cup contains ...."
Not "my blood is ...."
Any testament or a covenant is a word.
A promise.
This cup is a word.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Sometimes it takes a while for the pieces to come together for me.

Piece #1:  Psalms 113-118 are a unit (the "Hallel" or "praise") used in connection with the Passover.

Piece #2:  When the Lord called Abram, He promised that, in Abram's seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Piece #3:  The Jews of Jesus' day thought they were the bees' knees, and that Gentiles weren't worthy.  Now, granted, that promise to Abraham was getting a mite "back-in-time" from their perspective.

Piece #4:  The Jews of Jesus' day were still singing the Hallel at Passover.  You can even see record of it in the chants of Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. 

Piece #5:  Psalm 117 is about the Gentiles praising the Lord for His merciful kindness.

Wouldn't this mean that the people singing this liturgy should've gotten it that God's love is for the whole world and not just their own little selves?

(Shhh.  You don't suppose there are things in that we blow right past in the liturgy, singing without realizing what we're saying?...)

Heading Out for the Gathering

In Acts, we read a couple of times about how Paul wanted to go to Jerusalem for Pentecost.

You know what it sounds like to me?  It sounds like the great Lutheran migration to Fort Wayne in January (or maybe even here in June).  It requires planning and travel.  Other work must be arranged around the pilgrimage.  For those who can go, they eagerly anticipate the worship and theological discussion and seeing friends.  Those who cannot make the trip know they're missing out on something, but nevertheless stay where they are and do what's necessary at home.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Which Came First?

I find it fascinating that Exodus 12 comes before Exodus 14.

Now, for everybody who learned to count in kindergarten, you're looking at those numbers and thinking, "That is one dumb thing to find fascinating."

But look at what's happening in the story.
Exodus 10:  The 8th and 9th plagues (locusts and darkness).
Exodus 11:  God announces the 10th plague on its way.  Moses and Aaron go tell Pharaoh.
Exodus 12, part 1:  God institutes the Passover celebration.  He gives them the rites and rubrics.  He lays it all out, how they are to celebrate this festival for the rest of forever.
Exodus 12, part 2:  The 10th plague.  And the Israelites hustling out of Egypt.
Exodus 13, part 1:  More about the liturgy of Passover and also about the redemption of the firstborn.
Exodus 13, part 2:  Traveling from Goshen to the Red Sea.
Exodus 14:  The Lord's deliverance of His people.
Exodus 15:  The song of praise about the deliverance.

You would think that God would rescue His people FIRST.  And then they'd respond.  You'd think the event itself would precede the instructions of how they were to celebrate/remember the event.  But no.  God does it backward from our way of looking at it.  First comes the WORD which tells them how to celebrate what He hadn't even done yet. 

It's almost like His word makes things happen or somethin'.

It's like God thinks the liturgy to celebrate/remember these events is as important as the event itself.  (If I brought this up in Bible class, this is where my pastor would probably point out Luke 24: 46-47 where Jesus says that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer/die/rise AND necessary that it be preached.)

Tough Love

Joseph rules over Egypt.
A famine causes widespread hunger.
Rumor is that food can be bought in Egypt.
Jacob's sons go to buy grain.
They bow before Joseph.

And what does Joseph do?  "He acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them."

He loves them so much that he cared more about their salvation and their repentance than he cared about the comfortableness of BeingNice.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Jesus Sinners Doth Receive

Luke 15: The tax collectors and sinners crowded around Jesus, soaking up His preaching.  The "good guys" were crabby.  "Eeeeuw -- this guy hangs out with sinners.  He even eats with them.  [shudder]  Yish."

So the exact same words -- "Jesus sinners doth receive" -- have various meanings.  It could be a complaint (as from the scribes and Pharisees).  Or it could be a simple statement of fact.  Or it could be high praise and thanksgiving to a gracious Lord.