Jesus clearly tells us not to practice our piety before others in such a way that draws attention to ourselves (a very strong temptation in the age of social media). However, Jesus ALSO tells us to let our lights shine before others so that others see our good works and give glory to God (Matthew 5:16). So which one is it? Are we to practice our faith privately or publicly? Jasmine addresses this question in her Ash Wednesday sermon.
When the disciples first begin to follow Jesus, they don't know exactly who he is and what his mission is all about. It's as if they see him through a glass darkly- blurry and indistinct. It's only after his resurrection that the picture comes into focus and the disciples finally see Jesus as the Eternal Word of God made Flesh. There are, however, individual moments on their journey with the Lord when they catch small glimpses or insights into his true identity. Today's reading from Luke's Gospel is all about one such moment of special revelation. While three of Jesus' closest disciples are praying with him on a mountaintop, they see their Lord transfigured, engulfed in the glory of God. Today, we'll take a closer look at this story.
In last week's Bible Study, we talked about how NOT to pray, focussing particularly on what Jesus has to say in Matthew 6:5-8. In this Bible study, we'll focus on the model prayer that Jesus offers his disciples- that which we call "the Lord's Prayer" or the "Our Father" (Matthew 6:9-13). If you're a Christian, you've said this prayer countless times in your life. But, how often do we truly think about what we're saying? Today, I'll take a deep dive into this prayer, verse by verse.
The Gospels tell many stories about how Jesus healed the sick. However, in his earthly ministry, Jesus did NOT heal every last soul in Galilee, Judea and the surrounding regions. In fact, on at least one occasion, Jesus left town BEFORE everyone had a chance to see him. What does that have to say about Jesus and his mission? That's what Jasmine focusses on in her reflection on Mark 1:29-39.
Jesus begins his teaching on prayer with the words, "WHEN you pray" not "IF you pray." Clearly, Jesus wanted his disciples to make prayer an integral part of their lives. But, is there a proper way to pray? Or, to phrase the question differently, is there a wrong way to pray? The answer to both questions is yes. In the first of this two part series on prayer, we will take a closer look at Jesus' teachings regarding how NOT to pray, focusing particularly on Matthew 6:5-8.
Because Jesus is indeed loving and compassionate we may be tempted to mistake him for a tame Messiah- one who stands in our corner, always taking our side. However, the truth that comes across so clearly in today's Gospel reading (Mark 1:21-28) is this: Jesus has come to confront and cast out the power of evil in this world. That includes the evil that exists in our communities and, indeed, within our very own hearts.