The Reality and Generosity of God

Matthew 6:19-34

Heaven and Earth through Jesus’ Eyes
We start a New Year not in a freezing crowd in Times Square, but in a crowd on a mountain with Jesus. Even the poorest among us can hardly imagine this crowd from Galilee towns. No medicine, police, grocery, banks; few schools; no political voice, no technology. But still like us, human, hoping, wanting a better life, identity, wanting help to understand. What do you say to powerless, struggling people, gathered because of suffering, desire?
Jesus does not condescend with platitudes. He teaches them, reshaping theology, ethics, anthropology, cosmology through powerful images that still challenge every real listener.

Walking Together in Shared Life

Ephesians 4:1-6

Going for a Walk Together
When Paul writes Ephesians, he can’t walk, as he has through his ministry. He’s in prison. But he loves the image of walking, prominent in scripture, and uses it throughout his letter. For Paul, it’s not where you go (travel, prison) but how you walk – “worthy” of your calling, the invitation you’ve received from God in Jesus. Paul saw all kinds of people come into these communities shaped by the event of Jesus, and he saw transformations: Eph 2:1-10. We were dead people walking, in delusion, futility, shaped by the air we breathed. God in his Love gave us life in Jesus, raised us with him. It’s Grace, a gift we receive by faith. A new creation, a new walk, toward every good action. Minds made new. Walking in love, as “children of light.” Becoming wise adults who learn to think for themselves, to discern God’s will, “humbly to walk with God.” Learning from a Shared Walk

Living the Expectant Present with Jesus

Matthew 6:25-34

Living in the Present with the Past and Future
We begin 2016 with Jesus’ call: “Seek first God’s kingdom....” Most of us consider ourselves either committed followers of Jesus or seekers, interested in his teaching. He is clearly giving a challenge, but what does it mean? How do I seek that kingdom? What if I can’t find it? Why does he talk about not being anxious? Isn’t he asking the impossible? I’m worried!
A striking thing about Jesus is how focused he is on the present moment, the person in front of him, the present need/opportunity, living now! He lived in a nation with a long, difficult past. The future holds conflict, persecution, death for himself and many of his followers. We haven’t done well in the past, we face a fearful tomorrow. No anxiety? How can I seek?