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Showing posts from December, 2020

Emptying Ourselves

"He shall be named Emmanuel, which means, 'God with us.'" God with us! The incarnation of Christ, becoming a little baby, is what Christmas is all about. And it is also about making room in our hearts for this babe born in Bethlehem. Although we are taking a break from studying the parables of Jesus and his kingdom, it seems that this season of Advent can expand our thinking about being kingdom people. Christmas means that Christ has moved into our neighborhood, and more, he has given us a new address: the kingdom of God. It wasn't that long ago that we sat in the park and began our study. The first lesson I taught was on the tax collector and the Pharisee. We saw that the tax collector had the audacity to be real before God. We looked at the mustard seed dropping down into the dark earth and then becoming more than it should be and yeast that when it is mixed into the whole becomes an explosion of something new. Finally we came to the woman in Thoma

Working our way through Advent

The Advent season, of course, is our preparation for the arrival of Jesus. We can take "arrival" in many ways, and traditionally the church has assigned four different "arrival" themes to the four Sundays of Advent. First Sunday: Jesus's Second Coming (November 29, 2020) Gospel lession: Mark 13: 24-37 Key verses: Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Mark 13: 26-27) Second Sunday: John the Baptizer's Announcement (December 6, 2020) Gospel lesson: Mark 1: 1-8 Key verses: He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1: 7-8) Third Sunday: Beginning of Jesus's Preaching (December 13, 2020) Gospel l

Lesson 4 -The Empty Jar

Logion 97 of the gospel of Thomas Yeshua says, "The Father's realm is like a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she is walking on a path some distance from her home, the handle of her jug breaks, and the meal spills out behind her on the road. She is unaware of the problem, for she has noticed nothing. When she opens the door of her house and puts the jar down, suddenly she discovers it empty." I was first introduced to the gospel of Thomas by Cynthia Beaugeault, an Episcopal priest. At first I was skeptical. Why do we need another gospel. But I have learned to love Thomas' gospel. The gospel of Thomas is an important source for the sayings and parables of Jesus. It contains 114 sayings and parables but lacks a narrative framework. The gospel was found in its complete form at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Thomas is one of the earliest gospels and is believed to have been a source used by Matthew and Luke in creating their gospels. The firs