Part II: Compassion

According to Thomas Aquinas, what we call “love” simply requires that we seek the good of another person. 

Compassion is not always a popular portion of the Christian calling. I reckon may folks will feel somewhat cheated when they arrive in Heaven and discover so many others there as well.

Compassion does not always come naturally. It requires intentional effort and spiritual training. The Athenians watched tragedies by Aeschylus and other playwrights. Such provided exposure to both empathy and compassion.

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New Mathematics

When working with the Bible daily in preparation for sermons, Bible studies, personal counseling, funeral homilies and daily spiritual disciplines - one begins to confront the “new math” of the Kingdom of God. When Jesus came into the world, he brought a very different nexus of reckoning. He turned the world of mathematics upside down. 

Think about the shepherd who risked 99 sheep to look after themselves in the wilderness while he went in search for the one now lost. There is the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with a measure of fine perfume costing over a year’s salary through which she receives his praise. What kind of math is all of this?

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“Death Is Not a Period”

Death is one of the major elements within the Bible.

t was the death of Jesus of Nazareth which crushed the hopes of those who followed. Easter is not the happy chapter in our ongoing effort to hold cherished dreams. It’s not the next thing. Easter is the new beginning only God provides.

When the Gospel of Luke is finally ready to share the Easter miracle, it begins with the word “but.” Chapter 23 ends with the dead body of Jesus being wrapped and placed in a tomb. “But,” begins Chapter 24, “on the first day of the week, at dawn, the women came to the tomb and found it emp-ty.” But. However. Nevertheless. These are words which signal a sacred intrusion into death. The gospel pivots on a great “however.”

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The Road Less Traveled

“The road less traveled” is from a poem written by Robert Frost in 1916. Frost, by his ownadmission found that following such a road made all the difference in his life. A little over one hundred years after his work was published, the truth contained within is still powerfully self evident.

Jesus followed such a road as he journeyed toward Jerusalem for the final time. During the Lenten period repentance and preparation, John 12:20-33 invites us to reflect upon the difference that Jesus’ chosen path had made in the lives of all who believe - all who have followed along that pathway of suffering, sacrifice and surrender...through death to life.

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A parable about greed

Luke 12:16-21 is a parable about greed.

The rich farmer is a fool. He lives completely for himself alone, he talks to himself, he plans for himself alone, and he congratulates himself. His sudden death proves him to have lived as a fool. How different is this rich farmer’s soliloquy from the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus tells us in the prayer how to ask God, “give us this day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). How different is that prayer from the rich fool’s speech.

Let’s pause and think about the “daily bread” petition in the Lord’s Prayer as an invitation to examine the significance of our possessions, to claim them as God’s gifts, but also to see them as gifts that entail responsibilities. The Greek word epiousion “daily” means not only bread for the current day to sustain life, but also our “essential bread” that alerts us to the eternal presence of God.

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