Communicating clearly can be a real challenge. Saying the same thing over and over again may not be great communication. The Disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. How should we talk with God? The key is talking honestly and openly with God. Prayer is not about formal language or eloquent phrases. Prayer is talking with God. The more we do it, the better our communication because we become more open with God and more honest about yourself.
Today is Memorial Day, a day to remember the men and women who died defending the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans. It is a day to honor, reflect and to give thanks. Jesus said the greatest act of love is to lay down your life for a friend. Jesus did that for us. The families who lost loved ones in defense of our nation paid a great price too. Our thanks today to all of our veterans for their service to our nation. Never forget those who gave all so that we could continue to live in freedom in this great land.
M&Ms are great, at least for people who like chocolate. Mary and Martha are a great challenge to those who have a type A personality, to those who are driven to always do more, who are always busy. Martha can’t stop being the perfect hostess to listen to Jesus. She complains about Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet listening to Him. Jesus doesn’t tell Mary to get up and help her sister. He encourages Martha to sit down and join her sister. We all need to slow down and make time every day to sit at Jesus’s feet. That is one of the reasons why I try to do this everyday.
Jesus told the story of the Good Neighbor in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The good neighbor isn’t the person with a title or who works for the church. The good neighbor is the person who shows mercy to someone else. The good neighbor may be the one no one would expect to stop and help. But he or she does. That’s what Jesus wants us to do, the kind of person He wants us to be.
The Law is summarized in one word, love. Love God. Love people you encounter. Love is active. Love puts others first. Because God loves us, He acted to save us. Because God loves us, we can act in love for one another.
Jesus told the Disciples they were blessed to see and hear what the Prophets longed to see. Jesus told Thomas that the people are blessed who don’t see Him but still believe. We can’t see Jesus with our eyes, but we can see Him with the eyes of faith. We can’t hear Jesus speak, but He speaks to us through His written words in the Bible. We too are blessed by Jesus.
Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus reveals God the Father to the world. Many of the people who reject Jesus don’t or won’t believe He is God. They reject the all inclusive love of God because they reject the exclusive claim that people can only be restored to God’s family by faith in Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.
There is a difference between childlike and childish. Childlike is trusting. Childish is rebellious. Childlike is accepting. Childish is demanding. Jesus invites us to have a childlike faith in Him, trusting, accepting, believing and following Him.
Today 11 teenagers will “Confirm” their Christian faith at the church I serve. The important thing is not how much they know about the Bible or how many Bible passages they have memorized. The important thing is that they know God loves them, believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior and that their names are “written in the book of heaven.”
God wants all people to be saved. That is why Jesus died on the cross, to pay the price for everyone’s sins. But God is also a God of Justice. Those who reject God’s grace will be judged. We misrepresent God if we only talk about His justice or His love. The Law and the Gospel are the two central teachings of the Bible.