There is nothing more frustrating than missing a turn when you are on a road trip. And there is nothing more problematic than when Christians miss an important turn in our understanding of Jesus. Right in the middle or Mark's gospel is a decisive turning point: Things seem to be getting better and better and better... surely Jesus is moving toward his glorious reign in Jerusalem. This is the moment every Israelite has been dreaming of for centuries. But, then Jesus suggests a change of course: the destination will not be a throne, but a cross, and those who would follow Jesus, must not get their heads around this surprising truth, lest they miss this turn in the road. Join us for week Five in our Series: Road Signs to the Cross.
Week Four of our Journey to the Cross has us encountering the power of Jesus as seen in the story of the calming of the storm.
Today our Road Trip takes us up a mountain: the Mount of Transfiguration, where Jesus shone with glory before his disciples. An amazing sight, and a wonderful side trip on our journey to the cross... but what does it mean? Are we just supposed to be impressed? Or, is there more going on here?
Today we discover that in order to find out what this event means, we have to go back: back to another time, and up another mountain, Mount Sinai. When we compare and contrast the ancient story of Moses and Mount Sinai, with the Story of Jesus and Mount of Transfiguration the true meaning of this event becomes clear.
When most people go on a road trip, they don't want to end up in the wilderness. In fact, if you end up in the wilderness, chances are, you're lost. Not so with God! Time and time again, God chooses the wilderness (of all places) when something special is going to happen. Today, our Lenten Road Trip takes its first detour into the desert where Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan River. What we might not expect, is that at this baptism moment, we come face to face with the Triune God, and are given a glorious vision of who God is, and what ultimate reality is all about.
Video: Into the Jordan
Ever feel like your prayer life is sinking? Tried everything and yet still feel like "It's not working" or "God doesn't feel close?". Perhaps your prayers aren't the problem... maybe its the foundation. Today is Ash Wednesday, and Lent is traditionally a time to examine our prayer life, and if we do we may find that our foundation for prayer is wrong. You see, many people approach God in prayer as if God were our "boss": he owes us. We've done what he asked, now he owes us. We serve him, He answers our prayers - that's the deal, right?
Today we remember that the foundation of our prayer life, and the foundation of our relationship with God is not a "boss-employee" relationship, but rather a "Father-Child" relationship. When we fully grasp what that means, then it changes everything: how we pray, and how we live!
The Beatitudes conclude with the twin topics of Peacemaking and Persecution. What is the connection? As we shall see, the connection is quite straightforward: those people who have entered the Kingdom of God have a whole new life mission: peacemaking. And one sure sign that we are participating in that mission is the persecution God's people inevitably receive. Join us this Sunday as we conclude our 5 week study of the Beatitudes.
Canon Robert Hurkmans has been the minister at St. James and St. Brendan since 2006.