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The Peace Pulpit

To find Jesus, disciples must walk with the vulnerable

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Once again, we have lessons that are intended to help us understand how to be a disciple of Jesus -- what it means to follow Jesus. To put this in context, it's good to remember from the last couple of Sundays what our scriptures have been teaching us. Last Sunday, you may remember, the first lesson was from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The prophet proclaims, "God has taught me, so I speak as God's disciple. I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning, God wakes me up to hear, to listen like a disciple."

Love, not power or violence, is the way to the Reign of God

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As we begin our reflection on this week's scriptures, I think it's important to remind ourselves that last week, Jesus, after performing an extraordinary miracle -- healing a person who was deaf and mute, and causing terrific amazement -- told the person who was cured and the disciples, "Don't tell anyone about this." This has come to be known as Jesus' attempt to keep the Messianic secret, that he was the Messiah.

Simply following God's rules does not make you holy

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If we listen carefully to the scriptures today, I think we will discover what it really means to like a holy life, what it really means to follow God's law, and through that law, to become holy. I remember back in the seminary, for 12 years, I was taught to follow the rule. They had a rule that guided our day in all its details. Just follow the rule, and you will become holy. We were taught the rule expresses the rule of God, so all you have to do is follow that and you will become holy.

Choosing to follow Jesus in every way is a hard choice

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As I mentioned at the beginning of the reading of the Gospel, this concludes a series of five Gospels that we've had now where Jesus started by first performing what John calls a sign, a sign that John at the conclusion of this Gospel says, "There were many of these signs given that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God." So this extraordinary event that took place in the desert was a sign of who Jesus really is.

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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

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