At first it sounds like a good thing, being anointed, but when it comes to being anointed by Jesus, it gets messy.
The Tempter, who sows seeds of envy and rivalry by saying: "God isn't really as 'good' as God let's on...God's holding something back from you...just eat from this tree.... you'll see."
Someone is coming and I am not worthy to tie the thongs of his sandals. Is it the Messiah?
Father Jonathan reflects on the recent series of discussions which St. Paul's hosted, called Islam 101. The sessions were attended by several hundred people from the Bellingham area.
Father Josh gives us excellent insight into "God's Law", and helps us unpack Jesus' admonishment to "be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect". The bar is set impossibly high by design. You will fail. What God loves to see and what Jesus insists is the path to salvation is that we try. And keep trying.
Father Jonathan gives us a crazy thesis: Jesus came to break our hearts. If you follow the teachings, eventually your heart will break. God intends this to happen.
In simple trust, like theirs who heard, beside the Syrian sea, the gracious calling of the Lord, let us, like them, without a word, rise up and follow thee.
Father Jonathan takes us through one of our most fundamental rites: Baptism. What is it? We are the keepers of that understanding.
Muslims saving Christians. Christians helping Muslims. Evangelicals travelling to Afghanistan to set up orphanages, clinics and schools. Pastors and Imams eating, talking, knowing each other. It can happen.
May God bless you and all those you love this Christmas season. And may Jesus the Messiah come to be with you, to hold you, and to nap with you on the couch. Amen.
We struggle to understand what it is to be human; to be "at home" in our Christian lives. Father Jonathan helps us to understand that your life fundamentally proceeds from the ground of God through Christ Jesus. The sin is to fail to recognize this fact.
Father Jonathan puts a unique spin on today's Gospel as he cautions us that Paul is not speaking of the future or the past when he admonishes us to be ready. He doesn't mean get ready sometime in the future. He doesn't mean "did you prepare yesterday?". He means find some silence, stay in this moment, put on the life-upending commitment to Jesus right now. And then do it again in the next moment. Repeat as required.
In the many forms of governance, most agree that a benevolent monarchy is the best. But power corrupts. Most kings and queens have their own interests ahead of their subjects'. As Christians, we actually pray for a benevolent monarchy (Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done).
God loves us. Every one of us. Very few of us actually "get" that. God listens to people who don't always get a hearing from us. And when they speak, we need to listen. Language makes a difference. Hear the hurt and the hated. Resist the temptation to begin by giving advice; begin with self-examination.
Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. The saints are all the members of the Jesus Movement who have gone before us, and through our baptism, we began to join their vast number. So how is your baptism going? Are you moving in the direction of Christian maturity?
Zacchaeus may have climbed that tree simply to see what was going on. He made the effort, and for some reason, may have been compelled to called out to Jesus "See me". Jesus did more than simply notice him. Jesus stopped, lifted his attention, called him down, went to his house, probably ate with him and stayed with him for a time.
It's not difficult to grasp the central message of Jesus' ministry. Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. And if you do this, you flourish. The mystery, of course, is not in understanding these words, the trick is in actually doing it.
Father Jonathan reminds us that we do not need anything else from our church, our intellect, or from God in order to be a powerful Christian. What you need is already in you, but may need strengthening. He offers us the seven steps of compassion as a way to take your faith to the gym and make it stronger and stronger.
When we are blessed by God with prosperity and material wealth, and we finally have enough that we could share with those less blessed, we seem to get another strong urge: to save it for ourselves "just in case".
In today's sermon Father Jonathan reminds us that some of Jesus highest praise is for folks that we would instinctively regard as cheating, ungrateful and wretched people.