…he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:19-31 The Holy Spirit within has feelings. Sometimes our spirit mourns. Other times our spirit rejoices. The Good News – we have a great high priest who has felt the gamut of those emotions, Jesus Christ. We are reconciled with Christ by each an every one of those emotions but now rather than use them as a hindrance, we must use them as our strength to do the work to which God has called us. As we proclaim his death, proclaim his resurrection, and proclaim his coming again; in the hearing, our very breath becomes an extension of his life.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6
The event of the unnamed woman is of course told in between the story of Jairus. Aside from the fact that he is a leader in the synagogue, the culture allows him as a man to boldly approach Christ and plead for the life of his daughter. However, many leaders are not convinced of Jesus’ authority to heal in the name of God, but having come to this point, Jairus does what any father who loves his child would do. I believe what is at risk for Jairus is much more than the death of his child. He is not totally free from misperceptions of generational sin and consequence. Perhaps in his mind is fear of his family and future generations of living with the consequence of a misplaced sin. In other words, living without forgiveness from God. Of course we know that today even after we’ve done all that we could do we don’t always win the battle over physical illness. But the culture of the day doesn’t allow Jairus the freedom to accept that his daughter’s death at the age of twelve has a greater purpose and fulfillment. Therefore, breaking through the culture for Jairus was inevitably necessary. However, Jesus, having been interrupted by a touch is delayed in reaching Jairus’ daughter and the child does in fact “die”.
There are days when words simply cannot express the way one feels after losing someone you admire. You search and search but nothing comes to mind. But then you remember the Lord of both the living and the dead are one and the same. If there was ever a time to believe, now is the time. Otherwise you have lost them forever. Remembering Gail….
Romans 14:7-9 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24-27
In its simplicity death is the end of existence and life is the continuation of existence. In death there is not much thought after something has died. In life there is not much thought about the condition of living. The use of this definition is rather cut and dry. However in relationships it’s not always so. Another definition of death is; the personification of the power that destroys life, or the characterization of activity. When I use this definition, Jesus’ words make more sense for me. To pass from death to life means we are no longer agents of this power to destroy, and instead become agents for building upon the condition of living. There is a sense of relief in knowing that this journey is not simply about ending things that I might live, but also, much more about building up so that others may live as well. We build up by studying the word and using what we learn from other believers past and present to help us in our journey. We then pass it on to others in their journey. Perhaps we make mistakes along the way but our resolve to live as believers in the Spirit of Christ makes all the difference in this life, eternal life and the souls of the lives to come.
I am always intrigued by the amount of time and effort some people put into the curb appeal of their home, particularly during secular and religious holidays. This one caught my attention immediately: two “gravestones”, (one a celtic-styled cross, the other resembling chains on a screaming head with the caption “rest in peace”), and a grim reaper breathing over the back of both. Initially my first reaction was judgmental, purely sacrilegious. As readings from the Revised Common Lectionary in the past week have been from the kingdom parables, the one that came to mind was the parable of the wheat and tares (an injurious weed resembling wheat when young, Matthew 13:24-30). Perhaps the display means nothing to someone who doesn’t know or even understand the parable, but to this believer it raised a multitude of questions and concerns not merely from a community level but also every level in which we participate in life. In life or death, the saga of good and evil is a never ending story, but I believe through Christ we have the power in both to resist the breath of the enemy. Depending on your perception this display may invoke initial feelings of judgment, disgust, or even confusion and laughter. Either way there are several messages in this one scene (not necessarily all bad). I could go on and on but I’d rather invite your dialogue and I hope that you will in any way respond.
Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43 The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.