Jesus: King of Your World

 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered,
“You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 18:37

What a sight: the King of the World stands before a wicked governor of a province in the Roman Empire.  Look at the contrasts: Jesus’ cloak is soaked and stained with blood; his head streams with fresh blood that flows down his face.  And Pilate…arrogant, proud, yet underneath, afraid of the Jewish crowd outside.

Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday in God’s year of grace.  Before you is your King who silently endures the immensity and pain for you and me so that we could be free of the effects of evil and meanness in our lives.  Jesus wears the kingly color of crimson…and even a crown, for it’s true: underneath all this pain and blood is the holy Son of God, the King of the World.

Is Jesus king of your world?As you move about your days and talk and have fun with your friends—listen to music and respond to the love in your family—this world of yours…Do you let Jesus be the king of your world?In his suffering and death, he was in charge, though Pilate and others didn’t know it.  Do you know that he is in charge of your world?  

John 18:33-37

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

You, the Way, the Truth and Life John 14:6

For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the last of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north.  Year B.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Impact on Our Children

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni.
But his father named him Benjamin.

Genesis 3516-18

We go back a long time ago earlier to a birth that has sadness about it, because it meant the death of the mother, Rachel, when her little boy Benjamin was born.  Our passage today also shares about the death of Isaac, Rachel’s father-in-law.

Then in chapter 36 we pick up the story of what happened to Esau after he lost that special blessing to Jacob.  There are only a few of his descendants mentioned; the really interesting stories are those from the children of Jacob who become the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Much more than a descendant of these ancestors, we are children of God being adopted into God’s family by what Jesus did for us. When you live aware of this fact, think of the impact that you are going to have on your own children!

Genesis 35:16—36:43

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

Benjamin while soul departs 35:18

For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Breath of Peace

When the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said,
“Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:39

When I was seventeen years old and had just graduated from High School, I entered a Catholic community—a religious order—called the Jesuits.  If you ever go up along the Hudson river just past the city of Poughkeepsie on Route 9,  you’ll see “The Culinary Institute of America.”  That is where I lived for four years when it was a seminary.  The large, red brick building faces the river, high above what we call palisades. 

On the path to the river, there used to be a large crucifix: that’s a cross with a carving of the body of Jesus on it.  We used to stop for a moment to pray at that spot.  The cross had a little roof over it to protect it from the weather.  Just beneath that roof there was this saying: “From the arms of the Crucified, the breath of peace moves slowly across the world.”

As you read the story of Jesus’ death on the cross, may you feel that silent breath of the dying Jesus, amid all the shouting and commotion that must have been going on around him.  There’s that idea of silence again…When there’s lots of noise about you that threatens to take away your peace—maybe the noise of other people talking selfishly—may you feel that silence of Jesus inside you, becoming aware of your own breathing that is joined to the Spirit of Jesus.

Mark 15:21-47

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Breath of peace across the world
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the  twelfth of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. Year B.
Fridays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
We read the Gospel of Mark in Year B.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

One Line about You

AnimFireStarter

The Lord had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel
from under heaven,
so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash.

2 Kings 13:14

I don’t know about you, but these chapters about a whole bunch of wicked kings hardly makes this part of 2 Kings my favorite part of the Bible! If we find it lifeless and boring, I wonder how God feels!

But there is always something positive to take out of any part of the Bible. Let’s think about the obvious: this part of 2 Kings is a summary of a list of the kings of Judah and Israel. I was thinking: someday, you and I will be part of a list of all our family members who have gone before us and who will come after us. Our names will become part of a long list like columns in a phone book! Imagine such a list, with a one-line summary attached to each name, just as the sacred writer does in these historical books of the Bible.

Now here’s the question: What is one line about yourself that you would like to have connected with your name forever?

2 Kings 14:23-29

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My whole heart—the offering
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the ninth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

Birth-Pangs of a New World

 When they haul you in and hand you over, don’t worry ahead of time about what to answer or say. Instead, say whatever is given to you at that moment, for you aren’t doing the speaking but the Holy Spirit is.

Mark 13:11

Catch the similarity between the way things are in our current world, and what Jesus is saying about the world of his time. There is an expression that goes: “Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”

The birth of every one of us meant a pain and joy for our mothers that Jesus likens to the wider world’s suffering and coming joy. When we pray, we take on the world’s pain through compassion, love and prayer. Our compassion is part of the birth-pangs of a new world. Today, spend time praying for the world with this image in your heart.

Mark 13:14-37

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Suffering all as birth pangs v. 8
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. Year B.
Fridays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
We read the Gospel of Mark in Year B.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Death of Some Wicked People

AnimFireStarter

Jehu replied, “This is what he said to me: ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king of Israel.’” Then each man quickly took his cloak and put it beneath Jehu on the paved steps.
They blew a trumpet and said, “Jehu has become king!”

2 Kings 9:12-13

Finally, it’s over—the end of a string of wicked kings and a super-wicked woman, Jezebel. God chooses Jehu to be King of Israel. It will be up to him to avenge the wicked kings Joram and Ahazaiah. Then comes the end of Jezebel, that wicked woman who spent years murdering God’s prophets. You might imagine that when her own death would come, it would not be a pretty sight. It wasn’t…the reading today tells the story.

Isn’t it sad that God’s people at that time had so many evil kings ruling them? Yet God is the real ruler and things are going to turn out all right. So too in our own day: though there’s lots of wrongdoing in our world, God will see to it that goodness will triumph. Doesn’t this fact help you to find trust and confidence in God?

2 Kings 9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Pride goeth before the fall. 9:33
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

Miracle Military Strategy

AnimFireStarter

Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”
Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and fiery chariots surrounding Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17

Prophets are people so in touch with God and so dedicated to God’s plan, that God can use them in ways beyond the ordinary. On Mondays we’ve been reading about the special friend of God, Daniel; now for a few Tuesdays, we read about the deeds of Elisha. Because of Elisha’s absolute dedication to the things of God, God works miracles through him on behalf of Israel when God’s people are attacked by wicked enemies. With miracle military strategy, Elisha is able to have a whole enemy turn away, by God’s deceiving the foreign king’s eyes. Once again, like the Gospel for last Sunday, the King of Aram’s sense of sight is used for wrongdoing, so God makes his eyes not worth anything. Then his common sense is confused when Elisha says that the king is attacking the wrong city!

The same God who came to the defense of Daniel and Elisha is ready to come to your defense in ways beyond human effort. When you are up against some bullies or any other situation that is just not fair, start praying and listen closely to what God is already doing for your defense.

Are there any fears that you have about anything that you can take to the Lord in prayer?

2 Kings 6:8-23

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My inner eyes opening 6:17
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…