In our final MeetingPlace service, Russ Hewett reviews the topics MeetingPlace has covered since the church's inception. The nature of Scripture, the question of hell, atonement, and God's relationship to violence were all considered from a variety of Christian traditions. Amazing growth is apparent in all those who took part in MeetingPlace! Bravo!
Can love be commanded? Jesus thought so. In this message we consider how it is that loving God and loving our neighbors is possible.
The first Gentile that the Holy Spirit sent one of Jesus' disciples to was an Ethiopian eunuch - a member of a sexual minority. We could learn a lot by considering what happened in that encounter.
The Bible is a complex book, but it has a plot...a meta-narrative that can be very helpful in understanding it. However, much of American Christianity has "lost the plot", and in ignorance has elevated sub-plots or even created their own meta-narratives that the early Church and Apostles would have found very strange indeed.
The implications of the resurrection of Jesus are vast and go to the very definition of what is real. In this message we explore some of these implications.
According to the Gospel of Mark, the first people who discovered that Jesus had been raised from the dead did not react with celebration and rejoicing. Mark 16:8 describes their reaction this way, "They went out, and fled from the tomb. Trembling and panic had seized them. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid." In this message we propose that unless we are struck with trembling and panic at the empty tomb, we likely have not understood the meaning of the empty tomb.
We used to sing the chorus, "Open Our Eyes Lord, We Want To See Jesus." We sang it over and over, hoping that Jesus would reveal himself to us. It never occurred to us, though, to ask, "How does Jesus want to be seen?" Jesus answers this question in a remarkable way in John's gospel.
What is "the world" that Jesus came to save? And, how the translation of one little two-letter word sheds light on a 500 year debate about how to be 'saved.' This is the really, really good news of the Gospel!
We consider Jesus prophetic act of "cleansing" the Temple, but propose that he was doing much, much more than that. Following Gil Bailie, we suggest that Jesus was taking the Temple away and replacing it with himself. This has serious implications even today.
Jesus heals a blind person, but it takes two encounters for the person to begin seeing clearly. Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah but Jesus won't let him tell anybody else, then calls Peter Satan! These are both stories of mistaken identity. They have much to show us today.