April 2018

Vine Tasting

After we have pruned away all that is dead and damaged and diseased, after we have thinned out all that we don’t need so that we can breathe, we can finally head back to Jesus. Because what is left after all that pruning is done is nothing but our true and truly beloved selves. And what is our true self but Christ who lives in us? That’s what it means to get to know Jesus. We don’t go out to meet a stranger. We go in to meet someone we’ve always known. When we find ourselves, we will find him. That’s what it means to abide in him as he abides in us.

The Shepherd of Creation

As I pondered these questions, I looked out at the still water in the percolation pond just a few feet away from the labyrinth. It’s part of a system of ponds that was built decades ago to recharge the groundwater and keep the valley from sinking. It struck me that what the valley needs, our spirits also need right now. In order to be good shepherds of the Creation, we need to let Jesus be the Good Shepherd of our souls. We need to let the living water of his love percolate deep down into our dried up aquifers. You know what happens when you drain an aquifer? It collapses on itself and can no longer hold water. The same thing will happen to our spirits. So we need to let Jesus recharge our groundwater, refresh our commitment to life in all of its amazing forms and variety so that we can obey his command to love, not just in word and speech, but in truth and action, and by the grace of God restore the Creation.

Resurrection Foolishness

They thought the women were fools and so they were. They were fools for love. There is no good reason to believe in the resurrection. It has no rational explanation. I tried to give it one a few years back. In 2012, I preached a sermon that laid out a case for Easter for engineers. But this year, Easter is for lovers. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century: “The heart has reasons that reason knows not of.” Though I like to think that I’m a rational human being, I know that it isn’t a rational act to fall in love. And when we are talking about whether or not we believe in the resurrection what we are really talking about is whether or not we are ready to fall in love. The cross is the proof that Christ fell in love with us. What we make of the resurrection determines whether we are willing to fall in love with Christ.