Jesus Christ

PSALMS: Holy History by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 20, 2017

Psalms 78, 105, and 106 tell us about the history of the people of God on Earth, about the electing grace and faithfulness of God and the unfaithfulness and the ingratitude of his people.  Psalm 78 is not addressed as a prayer to anyone.  How ought we to pray these Psalms?  Psalm 106 summons us to thanksgiving, to praise, to commitment, to petition, to confession of sin, to the call for help in the light of the past history of salvation: thanksgiving for the goodness of God, which continues with respect to his people into eternity, which also we contemporaries experience as did our father; praise for the miracles which God works for our benefit, from the redemption of his people out of Egypt all the way to Golgotha; commitment to keep [...]

POETRY: Clasping Of Hands by George Herbert

June 17, 2017

Lord, Thou art mine, and I am Thine, If mine I am; and Thine much more Then I or ought or can be mine. Yet to be Thine doth me restore, So that again I now am mine, And with advantage mine the more, Since this being mine brings with it Thine, And Thou with me dost Thee restore: If I without Thee would be mine, I neither should be mine nor Thine. Lord, I am Thine, and Thou art mine; So mine Thou art, that something more I may presume Thee mine then Thine, For Thou didst suffer to restore Not Thee, but me, and to be mine: And with advantage mine the more, Since Thou in death wast none of Thine, Yet then as mine didst me restore: O, be mine still; still make me Thine; Or rather make no Thine and [...]

SPIRITUALITY: The Mystery Of Christ Unveiled by Gregory Collins

June 17, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries The man Jesus has risen up to name above all names, he was crushed in the flesh of sin, bore the form of a servant, was obedient to death; he became Kyrios (Lord), pneuma (Spirit).  He is, then, the same Lord who walked unnoticed and persecuted through the fields of Palestine and at last ended his life like a criminal on the cross; now he rules the world as king and the church is his bride.  All his life, beginning in the Virgin’s womb, is the great mystery of salvation, hidden from eternity in God and now revealed in the ecclesia (church).  The deeds of his lowliness in that life on Earth, his miserable death on Calvary appear now in a different light: God’s own light; they are [...]

PSALMS: The Law, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 13, 2017

The three psalms (1, 19, 119) which in a special way make the law of God the object of thanks, praise, and petition seek to show us, above all, the blessing of the law.  Under “law,” then, is to be understood usually the entire salvation act of God and the direction for a new life in obedience.  Joy in the law and in the commands of God comes to us if God has given the great new direction to our life through Jesus Christ.  That God could at one time conceal his command from me (Psalm 119:19), that he could allow me one day not to recognize his will, is the deepest anxiety of the new life. It is grace to know God’s commands.  They release us from self-made plans and conflicts.  They make our steps certain and our way [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Glory, by Evelyn Underhill

June 12, 2017

Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory.  The prayer in which is contained the whole movement of man’s interior life, the substance of his communion with God, is summed up in this delighted declaration of the independent perfection, the unspeakable transcendence of the Holy.  Before that reality, that majesty, that energy, that splendor, his own needs, his own significance, vanish.  Abba, Father.  It is true that the Infinite God is the Father of my soul, that I have a certain kinship with the Abiding, a privilege of cooperation.  Higher than my highest, He is yet nearer than my inmost part.  But in the last resort, I stand entranced and abased before the majesty, the otherness of that Infinite God. “He calleth the [...]

JESUS: Confirmed Call, by Mark G. Boyer

June 7, 2017

Scripture:God’s divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble.  For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you. (2 Peter 1:3-4, 10-11) Reflection:The Second Letter of Peter is best described as an essay or literary [...]

PSALMS: The Creation, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 6, 2017

The scripture proclaims God to be the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  Many psalms summon us to bring him honor, praise, and thanksgiving.  There is, however, no single psalm which speaks only of the creation.  It is always the God who has already revealed himself to his people in his word who is said to be known as the Creator of the world.  Because God has spoken to us, because God’s name has been revealed to us, we can believe in him as the Creator.  Otherwise we could not know him.  The creation is a picture of the power and the faithfulness of God, which he has demonstrated to us in his revelation in Jesus Christ.  We worship the Creator who has revealed himself as the Redeemer. Psalm 8 praises the name of God and his [...]

JESUS: God Speaks, by Mark G. Boyer

June 6, 2017

  Scripture:Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.  He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.  When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4) Reflection:According to the anonymous author of Hebrews, God has been speaking even before there was anyone to hear his words!  The author proceeds to outline a [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Prevenience, by Evelyn Underhill

June 5, 2017

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  May that strange directive power of which from time-to-time we are conscious as the controlling factor of life have pity on our weakness and lead us out of confusion into peace. This abject confession of helplessness seems at first sight to be meant for the untried and bewildered neophyte, in whom the gifts of the Spirit have not yet had time to grow.  Actually, it is the culmination of the prayer which was given to the Church of God in the persons of her Apostles; those through whom the sanctification of human history was to be set going, the handful of men to whom we owe our Christian inheritance.  It is this picked band, these channels of the Spirit, already surrendered to the [...]

JESUS: God’s Choice, by Mark G. Boyer

June 5, 2017

  Scripture:Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you Corinthians were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.  He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:26-30) Reflection:In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells the Corinthians that they would not have called fellow Corinthians, but [...]

JESUS: Finding Another, by Mark G. Boyer

June 4, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus, son of Joseph from Nazareth.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:43-45) Reflection:John the Baptist is the model of pointing out Jesus to others.  Philip is the model of finding another and bringing him or her to Jesus.  It is important to notice the pattern: Jesus finds Philip, who finds Nathanael.  Once Philip has found Nathanael [...]

JESUS: Lamb Of God, by Mark G. Boyer

June 3, 2017

  Scripture:The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah,” (which is translated Anointed).  He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John.  You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter). (John 1:35-37, 40-42) Reflection: After Andrew hears John the Baptist declare Jesus to be the Lamb of God, he immediately answers the [...]

JESUS: Suffering, by Mark G. Boyer

June 2, 2017

  Scripture:Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.  Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.  Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while continuing to do good. (1 Peter 4:12-14, 16, 19) Reflection: Just [...]

JESUS: Cross, by Mark G. Boyer

June 1, 2017

Scripture:For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  Where is the one who is wise?   Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and [...]

JESUS: Count The Cost, by Mark G. Boyer

May 31, 2017

Scripture:Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider, whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?  So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (Luke 14:26-33) Reflection:The author of Luke’s gospel portrays Jesus as stating [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Denis Devlin

May 31, 2017

It happens through the blond window, the trees With diverse leaves divide the light, light birds; Aengus, the god of Love, my shoulders brushed With birds, you could say lark or thrush or thieves And not be right yet—or ever right— For it was God’s Son foreign to our moor: When I looked out the window, all was white, And what’s beloved in the heart was sure, With such a certainty ascended He, The Son of Man who deigned Himself to be: That when we lifted out of sleep, there was Life with its dark, and love above the [...]

PSALMS: Classification, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

May 30, 2017

We shall arrange the subjects dealt with in the Psalter prayers in the following manner: the creation; the law; holy history; the Messiah; the church; life; suffering; guilt; enemies; the end.  It would not be difficult to arrange these according to the Lord’s Prayer and to show how the Psalter is totally absorbed in the prayer of Jesus.  But in order not to anticipate this result of our observations, we want to remain with the arrangement inferred from the Psalter itself. [...]

JESUS: Division, by Mark G. Boyer

May 30, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the Earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39) Reflection:Another cost of discipleship is family [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Forgiveness, by Evelyn Underhill

May 29, 2017

It is part of the economy of mercy, the redemptive and transforming work of God, that the Divine Charity already present within the soul should overflow to make good its shortcomings and blot out its sins.  Were this not so, our situation would be hopeless; for we share by nature in the disorder of a fallen world, its implicit resistance to the demands of love.  So here we continue our filial and confident claim on that Charity; a claim which our situation, whether as children or as creatures, compels us to make.  Forgive us our trespasses – our voluntary share in the world’s sinfulness – as we forgive them that trespass against us.  Penitence is ever the fruit of adoring vision.  “The more holy I find God,” said [...]

JESUS: Deny Self, by Mark G. Boyer

May 29, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)   Reflection:A spirituality of  mission that does not examine the cost of discipleship has deceived itself.  Following Jesus costs disciples themselves.  Therefore, the first thing potential followers must do is know themselves so they know exactly what they are going to deny.  The Markan Jesus makes denying self a prerequisite of discipleship.  The author of Matthew’s gospel [...]

JESUS: Giving Life, by Mark G. Boyer

May 28, 2017

  Scripture:About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church.  He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.  After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.  (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.)  When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover.  While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. (Acts 12:1-5) Reflection:James, one of the twelve apostles, was killed by Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great, who killed John the Baptist.  The narrator of the Acts of the Apostles tells the [...]

POETRY: Sunday After Ascension, by John Keble

May 28, 2017

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (Peter 4:10) The Earth that in her genial breast Makes for the down a kindly nest, Where wafted by the warm south-west It floats at pleasure, Yields, thankful, of her very best, To nurse her treasure: True to her trust, tree, herb, or reed, She renders for each scatter’d seed, And to her Lord with duteous heed Gives large increase: Thus year by year she works unfeed, And will not cease. Woe worth these barren hearts of ours, Where Thou hast set celestial flowers, And water’d with more balmy showers, Than e’er distill’d In Eden, on th’ ambrosial bowers— Yet nought we yield. Largely Thou givest, gracious [...]

JESUS: Philip Interprets Scripture, by Mark G. Boyer

May 27, 2017

Scripture:The eunuch (a court official of Candace, queen of Ethiopia) asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet Isaiah say this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth,’ about himself or about someone else?”  Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.  As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water!  What is to prevent me from being baptized?”  He commanded the chariot to stop.  And Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Malcolm Guite

May 27, 2017

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory Whilst we were rooted still in time and place As Earth became a part of Heaven’s story And Heaven opened to his human face. We saw him go and yet we were not parted He took us with him to the heart of things The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted Is whole and Heaven-centered now, and sings, Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness, Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight, Whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness And sing the waning darkness into light, His light in us, and ours in him concealed, Which all creation waits to see revealed [...]

JESUS: Living Message, by Mark G. Boyer

May 26, 2017

Scripture:When the leaders of the Jews heard the things about which Stephen spoke, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen.  But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into Heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”  But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him.  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.  While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  When he had [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by John Donne

May 25, 2017

Salute the last, and everlasting day, Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son, Ye whose true tears, or tribulation Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay. Behold, the Highest, parting hence away, Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon; Nor doth He by ascending show alone, But first He, and He first enters the way. O strong Ram, which hast batter’d Heaven for me! Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path! Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see! O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath; And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise, Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and [...]

JESUS: Unstoppable Mission, by Mark G. Boyer

May 25, 2017

  Scripture:Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.  But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out and said, “Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.”  When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching. (Acts 5:17-21a) Reflection:If the mission comes from God, it cannot be stopped.  A spirituality of mission recognizes this, just as the reader of the Acts of the Apostles recognizes it.  Nothing can stop what God wants accomplished.  If authority gets in the [...]

POETRY: My Silence Is The Lord, by Paul Quenon

May 24, 2017

My silence is the Lord, I listen, his silence speaks at all time. When I listen not, my hearing is filled with words and my tongue takes to rambling. My resting place is the Lord a hideaway on a mountain height. The lonely seek and find him. My resting place is the Lord, a low valley by the runlet. All humble steps lead there. “Turn in to my place and sit quietly. Drink from my stream and my vintage. Cast off your shoes, discard your hardships and listen to my evening song: “I seek a heart that is simple. With the peaceful I spread my tent. I will wash your feet and dry them, my silence will be their perfume. “In your quiet steps I will follow. None will know whence we come and where we go. To the world you will be my [...]

JESUS: Peter Bears Witness, by Mark G. Boyer

May 24, 2017

Scripture:Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this lame man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.  This Jesus is ‘The stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’  There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given among mortals by which we [...]

PSALMS: Congregational Worship And The Psalms, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

May 23, 2017

In many churches the Psalms are read or sung every Sunday, or even daily, in succession.  These churches have preserved a priceless treasure, for only with daily use does one appropriate this divine prayerbook.  When read only occasionally, these prayers are too overwhelming in design and power and tend to turn us back to more palatable fare.  But whoever has begun to pray the Psalter seriously and regularly will soon give a vacation to other little devotional prayers and say: “Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which I find in the Psalter.  It tastes too cold and too hard.” (Luther) Therefore, wherever we no longer pray the Psalms in our churches, we must take up the Psalter that much more in [...]