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Spiritual Reflections

A dynamic spirit


In 1971, a significant book for the study of the Christian Scriptures appeared. Trajectories Through Early Christianity, by James McConkey Robinson and Helmut Koester, explored the diverse and often contradictory theologies contained in those writings. The authors were convinced our sacred authors presented various ways of understanding the implications of imitating Jesus' death and resurrection in our everyday lives. These inspired writers offer us "trajectories" of diverse theologies, not the straight-line "catechism" theology employed by most Christian churches today.

A shepherd to emulate


Sandy, a friend of mine for many years, was a goatherd. He and his family raised goats not for slaughter but for their milk, from which his wife made cheese in abundance to support their growing family. During one of our evening classes on the Gospel of John, Sandy said he could relate very closely to the role of Jesus as the good shepherd.



German pastor and social activist Christoph F. Blumhardt once said that it is not enough to celebrate Easter by saying, "Christ is risen." It is useless to proclaim this unless we can also say that we have died with him and that we have also risen with him ("Christ Rising," from Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, The Plough Publishing House, 2003). Jesus has come from God to live in our midst as one of us. He has endured and conquered the finality of death. He has laid the foundation for a new life and a new world order.

Receive what you are


Students of Scripture must be well versed in the principle of Uhrzeit als End-zeit. Many of our sacred authors employed it. The German phrase can be translated as "The beginning is actually the end." The technique is used when one is trying to direct his or her readers' eyes to a future goal that the author is deeply committed to instilling in their minds and hearts. But instead of just stating, "This is what I expect you one day to become," the writer paints a picture of an ideal past in which those longed-for qualities were already present and practiced.

Risen and transformed


Many of us learned in grade school religion classes that Jesus' resurrection was simply God's seal of approval on everything Jesus taught and did. So if he didn't actually rise from the dead, then the religion he founded and all the rules we learned in our catechism classes weren't binding on anyone. We'd best look for another religion.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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