September 2020 Prayer Venture

Ninth Sunday in Pentecost, 8.2.20

What prompts us to be compassionate? A few months ago, I brought up the Good Samaritan as someone who left his road in order to enter a new road, a road of compassion for someone outside his tribe.

Can you think of a time when you left your own road, your own plans for the day or your life, and entered the road of compassion?

If any of us are compassionate, it’s because it is a quality of God’s own self. Yet, we know many people would like to believe that God doesn’t feel. That God created the world and then just stays up in heaven, watching, but stays out of human affairs. Stays transcendent. Stays out of our business. We know that Christ Emmanuel – God with us – lived with us as a human among humans, and not indifferent to our sufferings.

Have you ever been asked if you are a religious person? Often, I think the asker wonders simply, if you’re compassionate – are you perhaps more compassionate than most people? Why else would you be religious? The world looks at us religious people and wonders maybe, where’s the compassion?

A few weeks ago, Jesus felt compassion for the people. 36”When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

In today’s gospel, compassion is the mission itself. Jesus sees the people again as sheep without a shepherd. “When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.” What we see is that the compassion doesn’t end with healing. His compassion extends to feeding all of them, including the women and children.

Just before today’s text, we read that King Herod kills Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist as a part of his birthday celebration. Such depravity! Continue reading “Ninth Sunday in Pentecost, 8.2.20”

September 2020 Prayer Venture

Fourth Sunday in Pentecost, 6.28.20

When is a cup of cold water, not just a cup of cold water? When is a cup of cold water a welcome and a help? Today, Jesus directs his words to the apostles who will someday be on the road, sharing the gospel. Jesus anticipates the different kinds of welcome they will receive when the apostles will tell people about Jesus, who have never heard about him. Jesus, the good shepherd, is letting them know what they should expect. Sometimes, he’s telling them, you’ll have good days, and he will be with them in unexpected ways.

            He’s letting them know they will have bad days when he says, “Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.” Continue reading “Fourth Sunday in Pentecost, 6.28.20”

September 2020 Prayer Venture

Third Sunday in Pentecost, 6.21.20

Good morning! Happy Father’s Day to all biological fathers, adoptive, foster, step and anyone who has ever stepped into the fathering role. Have a happy day!

Today’s gospel is challenging. Today, Jesus doesn’t give us an easy message. Instead, he lays out the gospel that’s divisive, like a sword. The GOOD NEWS is not universally embraced. It’s so disturbing families may be at each other’s throats. The gospel may provoke DEATH, because freedom is so threatening to a lot of people. Continue reading “Third Sunday in Pentecost, 6.21.20”

September 2020 Prayer Venture

Second Sunday in Pentecost, 6.14.20

What is a Christian? We think we know what is a Christian, don’t we? Don’t we think a Christian is someone who at the core is charitable? Our role model might be the Good Samaritan, who reaches out in compassion to someone who is a stranger. He reaches out to the stranger, digs into his pocket for a gold coin, leaves the battered man with the innkeeper, and returns to his life. His job is done. Kind of like Superman!

Would it be correct to say we think of Christians are to be the essence of charity? That we are here on earth to learn to be more generous with our money? Continue reading “Second Sunday in Pentecost, 6.14.20”

September 2020 Prayer Venture

Seventh Sunday of Easter, 5.24.20

How do you understand glory? We have a phrase, “covered in glory” and it describes someone’s achievements. We look at a hero of a basketball court like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, and we know their achievements in scoring and spectacular plays. They make plays on the basketball court that seem impossible. When they score, they are covered in glory and their teams share and reflect in that glory. Continue reading “Seventh Sunday of Easter, 5.24.20”

September 2020 Prayer Venture

Sixth Sunday of Easter, 5.17.20

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Last week, Jesus was emphasizing and inviting us to ABIDE with him, to share an intimate relationship with him. In last week’s discourse, Jesus offers the apostles an intimate relationship with him, because they are going to need a shelter from a storm that is coming that will be of hurricane proportions. All violence, cruelty and evil will be unleashed on Jesus, and he will fight it all with LOVE, from the cross. Abiding in him means the apostles can shelter in place, shelter in HIM, when it gets really bad. Continue reading “Sixth Sunday of Easter, 5.17.20”

September 2020 Prayer Venture

Fifth Sunday of Easter, 5.10.20

In today’s gospel, someone has just left the room. Judas. I realize that there’s no mention of him in today’s gospel, but it’s important to include the preceding chapter, ch 13, the one in which Jesus washes the apostles’ feet. We need to know what prompts today’s words from Jesus.

He KNOWS his disciples are shaken, and there will be MORE tragedy to come. Judas has left, and the apostles are shaken. It’s as if the room they are in is filling with a poisonous gas.  The sense of evil is palpable. Jesus has just said to Judas, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Then verse 30 ominously states, “And it was night.” To let us know the forces of darkness and evil are closing in. Continue reading “Fifth Sunday of Easter, 5.10.20”