On today’s podcast, we are talking about Romans 4:13-25. This is part of a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a community in Rome. At that time, Rome was the capital city of the biggest empire in the ancient world. In the short passage today, Paul is reflecting on the promises God gives to Abraham. The whole story of the Jewish people leading to Jesus begins in a promise that God made to Abraham around 4000 years ago.
The question for Paul is what does it mean to be in relationship–or covenant–with God? Is our relationship grounded in our ability to fulfill the commandments of God? Or is it grounded in our trust in the reliability of God’s promises? For Paul, we really need to grasp this distinction if we are going to have a rich and deep relationship with the living God.
Join the conversation! How do you remind yourself to trust in the promises of God? Please add your own thoughts and insights in the comments below.
This week, we turn to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. After his baptism, Jesus is driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. This story reminds us that, while the wilderness is an important place of purification and spiritual growth, it can also be a place of grace. For this reason, people have long retreated to literal and figurative deserts to pray, wrestle with sin, let go of unholy attachments, and encounter God.
The 40 days of Lent that began with Ash Wednesday call us into a kind of wilderness. There, the stuff of everyday life is stripped away and we are invited to meet God honestly. It is important to note that we do not enter the wilderness alone; like Jesus, we go with the Spirit of God, and with God’s words of love ringing in our ears.
How has God met you in the deserts of your life? What stark landscapes of the heart is God inviting you to explore this Lent? How are you discovering the love and grace of God in the wilderness?
Join us this week for a conversation about the Transfiguration of Jesus, as recorded in Mark’s Gospel. If this story sounds familiar, you may remember that we talked about it from a different angle back in August. The Transfiguration is worth revisiting, though, because it is one of the key stories in the life of Jesus and his disciples. It reveals something about God through Jesus. It also gives us insight into our own lives as part of the wider human family.
How do you discern a greater reality and the glory of God behind the everyday? Add your own thoughts in the comments below.
Mark 1:14-20 begins with Jesus entering the region of Galilee, already proclaiming the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. As he walks along the shore, he sees four young fishermen and calls them to follow him. Immediately, they leave their nets and their father to join Jesus on the adventure of faith. When Jesus calls his disciples, he also gives us insight into what it means for us to strive to follow Jesus 2000 years later.
Join us around the virtual table as we talk about calling, discipleship, and what repentance really involves.
Jesus’ formal ministry begins when he is baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Mark 1:1-12 tells us that as he rises out of the water, the Holy Spirit alights on him. Then, God’s voice proclaims from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” As we remember the baptism of Jesus this week, we can take the opportunity to reaffirm our own baptisms and to hear God’s voice saying the same thing to us.
Join us around the virtual table as we talk about baptism, creation, and God’s love for us.
Matthew 2:1-12 tells of the visit of the Magi, mysterious strangers who follow a star to find the child Jesus. There, they offer him gifts that symbolize authority and holiness. This story brings into relief important insights about Jesus’ mission. It also foreshadows the conflicts his values will have with those who seek earthly power for power’s sake.
Epiphany, which means “revelation” or “enlightenment”, marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas. Join us around the virtual table as we talk about God’s revelation in the feast of the Epiphany and the visit of the magi.
This week, we travel back to the book of Isaiah, one of the major prophets of the Old Testament. This section of Isaiah was written to a people newly returned from exile, but today’s passage also calls us forward to the coming of Christ. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus quotes it to announce the heart of his own mission when he begins his ministry. Join us around the virtual table as we talk about God’s hope-inspiring plans for us in Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 and the coming of Christ.
How does God call you to Jesus-style justice and reconciliation? Please join the conversation! Add your reflections in the comments below or visit the Hope Canteen on Facebook.
John the Baptist explodes onto the scene in all his dramatic fur-wearing, locust-eating glory in this week’s Gospel reading, Mark 1:1-8. His voice cuts across centuries to set the story of God’s redemption in motion. Join us around the virtual table as we talk about John the Baptist and the beginning of God’s Good News breaking into the world.
How do you prepare your heart for Christmas? Please join the conversation! Add your reflections in the comments below.