Words Jesus said. . . and meant (2)

The gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus was crucified between two criminals, one who scoffed at him and one who respected Jesus. It was this second criminal who admitted his deeds deserved punishment–and then asked, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”

In that moment, while hanging on the cross, Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

39 Lent--Holy Week--Words of Jesus--This day paradise(click on image to enlarge)

 This story reminds me that Jesus reaches out to all, and welcomes all into his kingdom. The “bad thief” was also welcome, but he wasn’t interested. In fact, he mocked Jesus. It is the “good thief” who welcomes Jesus–and who is received into the kingdom of God.

I also notice that Jesus didn’t make special demands on the “good” thief, in this last moment of his life. Jesus forgave him right then and there–and promised him eternal life, communion with God forever in heaven.

As I think about this today, I think about the symbolism we can apply to our own lives today. Jesus is alive, present in our midst. Do we mock him? Stone him? Crucify him?  Or, do we welcome Christ, ask forgiveness, seek grace and the kingdom of God?

Something to think about.

Until next time, Amen!

 

 

Things Jesus Said…and meant

During this last week before Easter–often called Holy Week–I’m going to post words of Jesus. Here’s one thing Jesus said while being crucified: 

38 Lent--Holy Week--Words of Jesus--Forgive them (click on image to enlarge)

That anyone would say this while being tortured and cruelly executed is a truly remarkable thing. It reminds us that Jesus forgives our sins even in the most horrendous of situations. No sin you commit is so big that Jesus cannot forgive it. Christ’s love is more powerful than sin itself. 

This is a key message of Christ, and one that should make us think about how we treat others…Do we show mercy and forgiveness to others?

Something to think about…

Until next time, Amen! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Augustine, Love, and Spiritual Cosmetics

When ancient spiritual writers talk about “beauty,” they are often talking about something deep, virtuous, and lovely in the soul. Surface beauty is fleeting, but the deeper soul-beauty can last forever.

32 Lent-Week 5--Compassion--Augustine

“Love is the beauty of the soul”…I think what Saint Augustine is telling us is that love is what makes our souls beautiful. He’s talking about that genuine love–the kind of love that Christ has for all people, the kind of love that is willing to die in order to save another’s life. This kind of love could be called “spiritual cosmetics” … only it’s much deeper and more profound than cosmetics could ever be…

True love for one another is what makes us beautiful–and Christ proved he believed this by staking his life on it.  I often think it’s the teachings of Jesus–his love of others– that really brought on his death on the cross. People don’t like hearing stuff like “love your enemy” or “forgive one another.” Certain people also felt their own earthly power was threatened by Jesus’ popularity–and his teaching, they thought, threatened their own earthly power.  I don’t know. I’m just thinking aloud here.

Until next time, Amen! 

Kindness, Compassion, and Forgiveness–Ephesians 4:32

This week I’m pondering the theme of compassion / love:

31 Lent--week 5--Compassion--Ephesians (click on image to enlarge)

The New Testament is filled with the message of compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. These things are not always easy to practice, but they are the way of Jesus. Those who would follow Christ, are called to be “at work” in the ways of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Until next time, Amen! 

Mother Teresa and forgiveness

When one takes up a Lenten practice, it is easy to say “oh, I’ll do that”…but then a little time passes, and it’s sometimes difficult to keep it going.  So I missed a day here and there of posting quotes. The way my mind works, missing a few days makes me tempted to give up the new practice.

HOWEVER, that’s the good time to just get back to it. Yesterday was a busy (and awesome!) day, so I didn’t get to post this quote… so here you go: words of wisdom from Mother Teresa:

30 Lent--week 4--Forgiveness--Mother Teresa

Hope your Lent is going well. Persevere. Hope and trust in God…

Until next time, Amen! 

Martin Luther quote about forgiveness

Today’s quote about forgiveness intrigues me… I wonder what Luther was specifically thinking about when he wrote it?

28 Lent--week 4--Forgiveness--Luther

Perhaps those of you who are preachers or have sermon experience might have some more insight into this… Why is preaching about forgiveness dangerous? Do people get angry at you for telling them to forgive one another?   Or…???

Until next time, Amen!