Entries by Jeffrey B. MacKnight

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Trail Notes 6.21.2015

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This Sunday during the sermon, we’ll look together at the long narrative of the rise of David as the greatest king of Israel. We’ll cover much of the story starting in I Samuel over the summer. We’ll open our Bibles and examine the pivotal place of this epic story in the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament.) 

We also have an account of Jesus stilling a storm on the Sea of Galilee – one of many instances of this miracle throughout the Gospels. What can it tell us about the Christian life – walking with Jesus as our companion?  Jesus and some of his disciples set out on a boat to cross the sea (a big lake really), and a squall comes up suddenly. Oddly, Jesus is sleeping through it – we are even told that he was in the stern of the boat, asleep on a cushion! The utter calmness of Jesus is contrasted with the churning of the storm, and the churning in the hearts of the disciples.  They are scared to death!  hey wake Jesus up; if they are afraid, then Jesus should suffer with them (misery loves company). Once awake, Jesus stills the storm in an instant. 

Of course this parable is not just about a bunch of fisherman in a boat with their rabbi 2,000 years ago.  It is about us. As followers of Jesus, we are in the boat with Jesus – we have cast our lot with him. And yes, the world is quite stormy. We are filled with anxiety, even though we are with Jesus. Why? Doubt, distrust, bad prior experiences all play a part. Our faith is so small and fragile that it is easily upstaged by thunder and lightning and waves crashing into the boat.  Yet Jesus is with us, and Jesus is not troubled. 

It seems to me that the spiritual challenge here is not to get the storm to stop (even though Jesus does this to relieve the immediate terror of his friends). The real challenge is to learn to ride out the storm in the boat with Jesus. We can learn a lot about life during the storm. And if we focus on Jesus’ presence and calm, we can begin to make his calm our own. That’s what faith in him does.  JBM



" Come and have breakfast"

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When I was a kid (before eggs and bacon were condemned as horrible for human health), I remember my mother making breakfast for my dad and my brothers and me before school. The smell of sizzling bacon and toasting bread would waft through the house, and then my mother would call us: “Come and have breakfast.”

These four simple words convey so much:  welcome, graciousness, hospitality, care, love. These are warm memories! In today’s resurrection story, Jesus appears to his disciples, standing on a beach over a charcoal fire, toasting bread. He calls to the disciples in a fishing boat, “Come and have breakfast.”

One of our parish small groups focuses on Economic Justice, which may not seem related to the “bagels and lox” Jesus offered his disciples. But eating breakfast is intimately related to economic justice and wellbeing. 

Churches have always found ways to feed the hungry, and that’s a good thing. As a society, most of us agree that people should not go hungry in a nation as rich as ours. Collectively, we use government policy to promote our values that all human beings should have enough to eat and to live. (Breakfast at school is one such policy that prepares children to learn with full stomachs.” Much in the news these days is the issue of economic inequality: especially the decline in the incomes of Middle Americans, while the incomes of the richest skyrockets. Jesus did not condemn wealth per se, but he always spoke up for the poor to get enough. We who follow him can do no less. 

In Adult Formation at 9:50 a.m. this Sunday, the Economic Justice group will share its work so far on this huge, perplexing issue. I hope you’ll come and explore how we can do God’s will and care for the poor in our society.  JBM


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