Going Up

Jerusalem is built on a small plateau.  When pilgrims used to make the sacred journey to the city to celebrate the festivals, they would sing, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go up to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122).  Now it wasn’t like climbing a mountain; still there was the feeling of going up.

Jesus feels something like this.  He keeps his eyes on Jerusalem for he would go up there, and then go further up on Mount Calvary to be even lifted further up on the cross.   

There is another meaning to “going up” that Jesus has in mind: to go back up to heaven.  All kinds of feelings of “going up” are felt in this passage.  What keeps all these feelings together are Jesus’s eyes straight ahead of him on his way to Jerusalem.  Jesus would offer himself there.    

From verse 57 you will read about the price that one has to pay for following Jesus.  Eyes any place else but on Jesus and following him will lessen the joy that God wants you to have in your life. One day you  will be lifted up to be with Jesus and all the saints in heaven forever.

Luke 9:51-62

On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Giving not Getting

The details of this reading all add up to this: God is the center of life. The Lord, who cannot be seen, wants things that can be seen to remind us that God is Number One. God wants the people to wear hanging cords called tassels of beautiful blue from the four corners of the basic garment worn by the people. This was a reminder that God was with the people. 

We live in a world where people just want more things. Grasping after things is sometimes stronger than the giving of ourselves  to others.  How about attaching something to yourself, perhaps a bracelet, to remind yourself that life is about giving, not getting?

Numbers 15:8–41

The Saturday passages follow the reading list that Jewish people use in their synagogue worship throughout the world. They are taken from
“The Torah,” the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy that are read each year beginning with autumn.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Loving Those Forgotten

Artist: Aime Morot

What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor
to the man who encountered thieves?”
Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

This is a one of the most beloved of all of Jesus’s stories.  When Jesus tells stories (called “parables”) they usually have characters in them that have very strong contrasts.  The stories are like having light and dark colors placed next to each other.

Samaritans were a very hated group of people.  This makes the shock of Jesus’s story all the greater.  A Samaritan stops to give help to a poor, helpless person, beaten up and left by the side of the road for dead.  The professional religious persons, a priest and a Levite, walk right by the dying person, even across the street—perhaps rushing to the Temple so that they can say their prayers out loud and show off!  

Feel the compassion in the story.  What are you learning from it?  Is there someone who needs you to be kind—someone whom everybody else is ignoring or forgetting about, or maybe worse: someone who is bullied or even beaten up?

Luke 10:25-42

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This being Year C,
the third year in the cycle, we generally read from the Gospel of Luke.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.