patmarrin's blog

Born Again

May
25

"When a woman has given birth, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world" (John 16:21).

Conception must occur before birth can happen. The powerful metaphor Jesus uses to describe the experience his disciples would have to endure to become the church is deeply instructive for us as we await Pentecost.

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Ascension

May
24

"He was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight" (Acts 1:9).

The Ascension of Jesus  fulfills another dramatic ascension described in 2 Kings 2, when the prophet Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind, dropping his cloak and a double portion of his spirit on his successor, Elisha.  

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Can We Bear It?

May
23

"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now" (John 16:12).

What is it we cannot bear? The loss of a child, a broken marriage, a devastating diagnosis?  We each have our list of unbearables -- experiences we believe we could not survive? 

Yet people just like us face and endure all of the above and worse. Even terrible things are endured over time, in stages, and people adjust, cope, make decisions about how to deal with suffering, find community with others, and renewed faith that gives meaning to senseless tragedies and unspeakable losses. 

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A New Way of Life

May
22

"It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you" (John 15:7).

Jesus' departure in his death, which for John is also his ascension and the sending of the Spirit, is necessary for his disciples to experience his presence in a new way. As long as he remains, they are focused on him and a mission only he is able to accomplish.

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The Cost of Discipleship

May
21

"The hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God" ( John 16:3). 

When Paul crosses over from Asia Minor to Macedonia, he makes contact with the Roman colony of Philppi. This will  begin his ministry in a more expansive way until he finds himself in Rome, by way of arrest and transport there to be judged by the emperor because he claimed his right as a Roman citizen.  But this transition will have deadly consequences for both Paul and Peter and for most of the apostles, who were martyred for the faith. 

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Being Christ in the World

May
20

"Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope" (1 Pet 3:15). 

With this Sixth Sunday of Easter, we sense the shape of this long 50-day Easter season as guiding us to the Ascension and then Pentecost. The Jesus of history who lived and died in the first century passes his identity and ministry to the early church. With his departure, they, and now we, become his living presence and activity in the world.

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The Peace of Christ

May
15

“Not as the world gives peace do I give it ” (John 14:28).

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Formed by the Word

May
15

"Whoever loves me will keep my word" (John 14:24). 

We honor someone by saying that he or she "keeps his word." Integrity is about being consistent in word and action. People build their lives around the words spoken to them by someone they loved and trusted. A short mantra or passage of poetry is learned "by heart" and carried like a compass through the storms of life. 

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Living Stones

May
13

“Have I been with you so long a time and you still do not know me?” (John 14:9).

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I Am With You Always

May
11

"Do not let your hearts be troubled" (John 14:1),

Jesus gave his farewell address to his disciples at the Last Supper, the night before he died.  It is understandable that they were deeply upset at the prospects of life without him. He spoke about returning to his Father and about their mission to proclaim and live his message of love to the world.

The shock of his departure affects them profoundly.  "Where are you going?" they ask. "How will we find you."  How can we know the Father you have spoken about?"  "What will happen to us when you are gone?"

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