Pauses For Pentecost

EASTER: Anointed by Trevor Hudson

April 26, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. (Luke 4:18) Anointing has a rich history in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, kings and priests were anointed with perfumed oil.  Significantly, when Jesus refers to being anointed by the Spirit of the Lord for ministry, there is no mention of oil.  He is anointed directly by the Spirit of God.  Why does he speak of being anointed, which suggests fragrant oil, if no ointment is used?  The answer is obvious.  When Jesus is anointed, the Holy Spirit is the oil.  What the oil did for the kings and priests who were anointed in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit does for Jesus.  Not surprisingly, oil has come to [...]

EASTER: Truth by Trevor Hudson

April 25, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13) We hear much today about fake news.  As we watch the news on TV, read the newspapers, or catch up on the headlines on our mobile phones, we are never too sure if what we are hearing or seeing is true.  However, this uncertainty about what is true extends far beyond the daily news.  Think about some of the big questions we ask: Who is God?  Who am I?  How does God want me to live?  There are plenty of answers circulating out there on the street.  Which ones are untrue?  Which can we trust?  Deciding what is true [...]

EASTER: Testified by Trevor Hudson

April 24, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father— the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father— he will testify about me. (John 15:26) One moment from my own early faith story stands out in my memory.  I had just made my first public commitment to Jesus at a youth rally.  Afterward, I sat with one of the counselors, who prayed with me.  He then gave me my first bit of spiritual advice.  He said, “Make sure you tell someone soon about the step you have taken tonight.”  When I asked him why I needed to do this, he answered, “If you don’t share what you have been given, you will lose what you have received.”  In the language of the verse above, my counselor was encouraging me [...]

EASTER: Remind by Trevor Hudson

April 23, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26) One of our most prevalent sins is that of forgetfulness.  We suffer from large doses of spiritual amnesia.  We forget who God is.  We forget who we are.  We forget who we are called to be.  We forget who our sister or brother is.  The effects of this forgetfulness reverberate throughout our lives.  Called to worship God, we worship things.  Called to be sons and daughters of God, we live as orphans.  Called to be mature, we remain children.  Called to love, we remain self-centered.  Tragically, we miss the mark God has set for our lives here [...]

EASTER: Counselor by Trevor Hudson

April 22, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. (John 14:16) There are moments when we need consolation.  Someone misunderstands us and makes an unfair judgment about us.  A dear friend betrays us with false accusations behind our back.  We are excluded from our church for some reason.  A terrible depression descends bringing a sense of disconnection from everything and everyone around us.  We lose someone whom we have loved deeply.  In painful moments like these, and there are countless others like them, we need to know someone has our back and is there for us.  We need to know that we are not alone.  We need someone who will be with us through it all. As [...]

EASTER: Fellowship by Trevor Hudson

April 21, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14) Imagine yourself in Paul’s place as he finishes this letter to the Corinthians.  He wants to offer a blessing from the Trinity in such a way that each Person’s main characteristic gets emphasized.  He thinks of Jesus Christ, and grace immediately comes into his mind.  When he meditates on the Father, his thoughts focus on love.  Now what word will he choose to say about the Holy Spirit?  Will it be power?  Or maybe gifts?  He decides against it.  He chooses the word fellowship.  For Paul, this is the most important characteristic describing the Holy Spirit.  The [...]

EASTER: Intercedes by Trevor Hudson

April 20, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26) Sometimes in our praying we come to the end of words.  We don’t have the words to express what we want.  Here is one common example: For some time we have prayed for someone’s healing or maybe for our own.  We pray continuously, but nothing positive seems to happen.  Things remain the same, or they even get worse.  We begin to ask questions: Is it because we are praying the wrong way?  Or have we failed to discern rightly what we need to pray for?  Or is it because we have lacked faith, not prayed enough, or lacked expectation in our praying?  I [...]

EASTER: Abba by Trevor Hudson

April 19, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15) One of the deepest things that the Holy Spirit does within us is to help us to cry out, “Abba,” when we come to God.  It is one thing to acknowledge God formally as our Heavenly Parent when we say the Lord’s Prayer.  It is quite another matter to interact with God intimately and personally when we pray.  Our hearts yearn for this.  When we come to God, we long to know, deep down in our hearts and minds, that we are coming to someone who really loves us, who knows us personally by name, and who has [...]

EASTER: Where by Trevor Hudson

April 18, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:7) Many of us live with a split spirituality.  This happens whenever we divide our lives into what we call sacred and secular compartments.  On the one hand, we have the religious compartment of our lives.  This part consists of when we pray, go to church, study the Bible, attend a retreat, and so on.  On the other hand, there is the nonreligious compartment of our lives.  This is the part that involves things like going to work, hanging out with friends, playing a sport, shopping at the mall, and going on vacation.  We tend to connect the Holy Spirit with the first part and not the second. The psalmist encourages us to see our [...]

EASTER: Craft by Trevor Hudson

April 17, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel, son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. (Exodus 35:30-33) Have you noticed how often we “spiritualize” the work of the Holy Spirit?  More often than not, when we speak about the Holy Spirit, we tend to confine the activity of God’s Spirit to what we do at church.  We talk about the Spirit moving in a time of worship, speaking to us through the sermon, or [...]

EASTER: Hovering by Trevor Hudson

April 16, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Now the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2) The first image given to us in the Bible is beautifully poignant and powerful.  It is the picture of God’s Spirit hovering over the primal chaos.  Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit, we know that chaos is not going to have the final word.  There is the always present possibility that God will bring beauty, meaning, and order into the murky mess.  As we read further in the first chapter of Genesis, this is certainly what happens.  The Spirit causes chaos to become cosmos. We are no strangers to chaos.  Sometimes the chaos is internal as we wrestle with [...]

EASTER: Put On by Trevor Hudson

April 15, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10) Putting on our clothes for the day is an early morning ritual we all take part in.  Usually there are a few factors that we take into account as we do this.  What is the weather forecast for the day?  Will it be hot, cold, or mild?  Will the sun shine, or will it rain?  What are the tasks I need to do during the day?  Will I be going to work, relaxing at home, working in the garden, entertaining friends, or meeting important people?  Usually the choice of what clothes to wear boils down to one main thing: Will [...]

EASTER: Death by Trevor Hudson

April 14, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your Earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) As Easter people we become newly created human beings.  Wonderfully, as God places us in the divine birth column, we are given a new identity.  We are now people who have been raised with Christ.  Today’s word reminds us what this means for us.  Not only does it mean that we must think differently but we are also challenged to live differently.  Living in God’s new world involves setting our minds on those things above, as we saw yesterday, and then working out what this practically means in our everyday behavior. In the verse above, Paul’s [...]

EASTER: Raised by Trevor Hudson

April 13, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1) Becoming Easter people involves a radical transformation of our identity.  Here is an image that you might find helpful: When we consciously put our trust in Jesus, our old names go into God’s obituary column.  In that moment, God also places our new names in the divine birth column.  God gives us a new identity.  In the words of Paul, we have now been raised with Christ into a new life in God’s kingdom.  As the New Testament scholar Tom Wright puts it, “You were raised with the Messiah; so you possess a true life in God’s new world, the ‘upper’ or [...]

EASTER: Alive by Trevor Hudson

April 12, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5) Are there moments when you feel more dead than alive?  I am sure you know what I mean.  To be alive is to be responsive to whatever is around us.  It is to interact with people and circumstances in a way that is purposeful yet also joyfully spontaneous. I am always relieved when, on those occasions I go to see my doctor, my knee responds instinctively as she taps the nerve under my kneecap.  With a smile she will usually say to me afterwards, “You are still alive!”  Responsiveness characterizes the very essence of being [...]

EASTER: Lead by Trevor Hudson

April 11, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost “Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18) The resurrection encounter between Jesus and Peter ends on a challenging note.  After Jesus meets the disciples on the shore and shares fish and bread with them, he goes for a stroll with Peter.  As they walk together, Jesus asks Peter three times whether he loves him.  When Peter responds positively, Jesus commissions him with the task of shepherding his flock.  Then Jesus prophesies that Peter will be led into a costly laying down of his life for others. Following the [...]

EASTER: Morning by Trevor Hudson

April 10, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 21:4) Are you a morning person?  Our experiences differ greatly.  Some of us love greeting the new day.  We receive it with joy and are filled with a sense of eager expectation.  We cannot wait to get going with the tasks and responsibilities that await us.  Some take a bit longer to get going.  Others wake up with a sense of heaviness and fatigue.  We wonder how we are going to make it through the day, especially on those gray mornings when it is difficult to get out of bed.  Let me ask you: How did you feel first thing this morning? As this special Easter morning dawns, the disciples are deeply [...]

EASTER: Doubt by Trevor Hudson

April 9, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27) Most of us experience doubt in our journeys with God at one time or another.  Doubt enters our lives through many different doorways.  It could be through repeated disappointment, unanswered prayer, or an intellectual struggle with the reality of the invisible realm.  For many of us, however, it is through the doorway of suffering that doubt enters.  Our own suffering, the suffering of a loved one, or immeasurable pain in the world around us can affect our faith.  Right now, you may be struggling with doubt. Thomas represents those of us whose faith has been [...]

EASTER: Breathed by Trevor Hudson

April 8, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost And with that Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) This moment must be one of the most intimate and intense in the New Testament.  Imagine the scene behind locked doors.  Fear fills the air.  Jesus, standing in the midst of his disciples, breathes on them and gives them the gift of his own personal breath.  This is the breath by which he has lived and loved and spoken.  Yet his breath is also the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Parent’s special gift and presence that Jesus has promised will be given to his disciples.  Breath, in Jesus’s mind, is much more than a symbol for the Spirit.  When he breathes onto and into his disciples, he is giving them the actual presence [...]

EASTER: Table by Trevor Hudson

April 7, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. (Luke 24:30) Have you ever noticed how many times in Luke’s gospel Jesus sits around the table for a meal?  He regularly shared meals with others, whether they are Pharisees, sinners and tax collectors, or his disciples.  We learn more of what he teaches about his Heavenly parent on these occasions than from what he says in the synagogue.  Meals at the table are some of Jesus’s favorite settings for him to make visible to others the good news of God’s mercy and acceptance of all people. Not surprisingly, it is while they are having a meal around a table with the Stranger they had met on the road [...]

EASTER: Burning by Trevor Hudson

April 6, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) Many know this beautiful gospel scene well.  Two heartbroken disciples are on their way home to Emmaus from Jerusalem.  They have run out of hope.  The One they thought was the Messiah has been crucified.  While they walk, the risen Jesus joins them and enters into conversation with them.  They invite him home, break bread with him, and they recognize him.  When he vanishes from their sight, they speak excitedly about how they had felt their hearts burning within them while he spoke with them on the road.  Suddenly, they have a new and hope-filled view of [...]

EASTER: Crying by Trevor Hudson

April 5, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Jesus asked her, “Woman why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” (John 20:15) In his telling of the early Easter-morning encounter, John describes Mary as heartbroken.  She has gone to the tomb hoping to give Jesus her last act of love by anointing his body.  To her great distress, the stone has been rolled away, and the body of Jesus is gone.  She is overcome with anguish and heartache.  Not being able to perform the final ritual is the last straw for her.  She has come to the end of her rope. It is exactly at this point, at the end of her rope, that the risen Jesus comes to her.  This is always where he comes to us.  He encounters us in our heartache and heartbreak and asks us the same [...]

EASTER: Joy by Trevor Hudson

April 4, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matthew 28:8) Eastertide is a time for us to open our hearts and minds more widely to the joy of God.  These women at the tomb, frightened as they are by the events that have taken place, are nonetheless filled with joy.  The joy of the risen Christ has pervaded their whole beings.  Somehow they now know deep down that, because of what has taken place in the empty tomb, ultimately all will be well. Fullness of joy characterizes Easter people.  Remember Jesus’s promises to his disciples on the night before his crucifixion: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete,” [...]

EASTER: Ahead by Trevor Hudson

April 3, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (Matthew 28:7) Where are you going in the next few hours?  Our Galilee represents what we are moving toward.  Maybe you are getting ready to see a client, to attend an important business meeting, to visit a good friend, to pick up your child from school, or to visit a loved one in the hospital.  Whatever your Galilee may look like, wherever you may be going today, Christ goes ahead of you and promises to meet you there.  This is the good news of the Resurrection! When this Easter reality grasps our hearts and minds, it radically shapes how we enter [...]

EASTER: Angel by Trevor Hudson

April 2, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:3-6) Thankfully, we are not left alone to roll away those stones that keep us from coming alive again.  Our Resurrection story tells us that God sends us an angel to help us move them away.  Notice everything that the angel does in our gospel reading.  Besides rolling away the stone, the angel also helps the women at the empty tomb to grasp what has happened.  The angel explains to them that what [...]

EASTER: Stone (Easter Sunday) by Trevor Hudson

April 1, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. (Matthew 28:1-2) Eastertide is all about coming alive to the mystery of our own existence, to the uniqueness and sacredness of those around us, to the unearned gifts of creation that bless us each day, and to the wondrous presence of God that fills all things.  The resurrected Jesus invites each of us to rise up into the fullness of our lives.  Right at the beginning of this journey, we need to remind ourselves that this is the good news the risen Christ [...]