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Showing posts from 2012

Mothers and Prophets

MOTHERS AND PROPHETS Oxnard United Church of Christ, 13 May 2012 Every time a child is conceived, God begins creating two miracles. Two: a new life and a mother. Almost all our favorite characters in the Bible are prophets: from Miriam, to Moses; from Elijah to John the Baptist; from Huldah to Anna. God gave us these prophets. God gave us their mothers. I am here this morning to talk about two of these mothers… Let’s start with Hannah. Most of us here probably remember her story. She was loved but she was barren and in a society where barrenness was considered a curse, she cried and prayed and pleaded to Yahweh to remember her and Yahweh did. She gave birth to a son and named him Samuel, which meant, “I have asked him of Yahweh.” And in her prayer in Chapter 2, comparable to the power and the passion of Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1. 46-55, we encounter a mother’s faith, a faith I’m sure she taught her son, a faith that continues to challenge us today… Let me read some of her prayer’s…

LAST WORDS...

LAST WORDS Last words are important to many of us. Famous last words include Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios” and Antonio Luna’s “P___ -Ina!” The thousands among us who watched the coverage of FPJ's wake several years ago will remember the variety of remembrances of people who talked about his last words to them. My late mother's last words to me--when we were in the very cold Emergency Room of the Philippine Heart Center--were: "Anak mainit, paypayan mo ako." And, of course, the most famous last words ever memorialized would be Jesus’s Seven as found in the gospels: Mark and Matthew have one; Luke has three; and John has three. Many Christians do not read the Bible. We read books about the Bible and parts of the Bible. If the Gospels were movies, the way most of us “read” is akin to watching only parts of a movie, not the whole show. Now, who among us only watch parts of a movie or telenovela--5 minutes of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows or 10 minutes of Amaya? The Go…

Women and the Empty Tomb: Making Sense of Mark's Ending

Imagine you are part of the original audience of the Gospel of Mark. Christianity is about 40 or so years old. You are a second-generation believer. You believe, like many in your community, that Jesus has been raised from the dead. You believe, like many in your community, that he appeared to Peter, and then to many others, and then to Paul. Then, this short gospel comes along. It is disturbing. It does not have any stories of the risen Christ appearing to his disciples. Moreover, it ends with women at the empty tomb silent and afraid. You do not even shake the hands of the one who read the gospel. No one did in the whole congregation. Actually, even today, most people don't care about the Gospel of Mark. They would rather read Matthew, Luke, and John. These gospels end right--like Walt Disney movies. Matthew ends with the Great Commission and the Risen Christ's promise of Immanuel. John has the "Do you love me" cycle, and a beach scene to boot. Luke has special ef…