Monthly Archives: May 2016

May 24, 2016 Psalm 42:1-6, Luke 12:13-34, Psalm 42:6-11, (21)

How many kinds of greed? Money, property, power, position. We talked a lot about worrying. Does it border on prayer. What is the opposite of worry. Is it shalom? Is anxiety pulling us apart? He talks to the crowd then to the disciples. No one denies a responsibility to those in poverty. But how much is enough. If wealth is everything to you it is a problem. Strive for his kingdom and these other things will be there. How much good would we do if we gave all our wealth to the poor? How much is enough? We need to give until it isn’t the main thing in your life. Can we be a blessing as we deccumulate from a lifetime of accumulating things. Is income inequality an issue for both rich and poor. How many people are really in a situation of bankruptcy and have no alternatives to continue life. A poor man walks  in at this point. Is this an omen? Was that a sighting of God? Is he part of the neighborhood we serve and can we better support it better? Maybe we can change things, or is it futile? Brian says my witness is what we do not demand. do we have the wrong performance standards when we try to help others? How do we help the poor? Can you put yourself at risk by helping others? Yes but how much does it hurt us compared to the rich who take advantage of us. Jesus spoke about all kinds of greed, not just that of the wealthy. The passage suggests that greed takes all kinds of forms and can be an issue for rich and poor alike if we focus our life on some aspect, like a collection, money, position. power, etc.

May 17, 2016, Psalm 11:1-7, Luke 12:1-12, Psalm 12:1-8, (26)

Today is Syttende Mai!! We discussed hypocrisy. Verse 10 is a problem because a sin is against the Holy Spirit is denial of God. You cannot deny the Holy Spirit, is there a difference between the two. Is this a denial of the Trinity. Who is the audience here? It is the disciples, who thought that they were better than the Pharisees. He admonishes his disciples that whatever he says will ultimately get out. Are we to fear God? Yes from the point of being awestruck by God or the concept of God. God is approachable through the Son, Jesus. Jesus here is giving good advice. Haven’t we always had the Holy Spirit? Yes even from Genesis 1. Verse  6-7 from the Message says if you knowingly attack God, by taking aim at the Holy Spirit that will not be overlooked by God. Who determines if we are preaching the right thing. Some say it is the group of which we a part, like the ELCA. But can’t we proclaim we are a prophet and speak out against everyone else? Brian says there weren’t many prophets and they usually didn’t want the job. Verses 6-7 gives us the image of Jesus caring for each of us right down to each hair on our head. It is a great comfort that we as individuals matter to God. There is a big moment for Abraham that God cared about him. This is the one time in the church year when we focus on the spirit. The spirit brings us to God. I cannot by myself come to god. I have this gift but it comes not because of me but in spite of me and for me. Do we have individual spirits or is there just one spirit.

May 10, 2016 Psalm 78:55-66, Luke 11:37-53, Psalm 78:67-72 (22)

Here Jesus took the lawyers to task for worrying about the procedures and outside trappings and not be concerned about your inside thoughts and actions. We puzzled over the reference to Zechariah being killed between altar and temple. We should emphasize the blood spilled in the Old Testament which has been replaced by the gospel of Jesus. There is value to using the same version of litergy, etc. So that it sticks. But maybe you get fresh insights from different thoughts on the way to interpret a text. The Jews are laying wait to get him to discredit him. We also talked about the Q source for material in Matthew and Luke. There are parallels like this in Paul’s epistles as well. Why are the Gospels ordered as they are? Mark starts with the geneology of Jesus and John finishes with what happens after Jesus. What is Holy. There was such concern about external purity, but not our internal being. How intertwined are the purification laws with the holiness of an individual. Hal said we should use wholly instead of Holy to emphasize the whole building and not just the outside. Are we the teachers of the law or the people Jesus identified with.  Tom suggested that the concept of entropy suggests that there is a tension between nature taking over and man exerted control over the environment. Brian emphasizes I cannot on my own understand the grace of Jesus and his teachings.

May 3, 2016 Psalm 78:17-32, Luke 11:14-36, Psalm 78:33-44, (22)

Jesus was casting out demons and the crowd asked if he did it with the power of the devil. Jesus asked if he did it in the name of the devil how can it be in the name of the devil. A house divided cannot stand. Lincoln used that verse in his speech. Having a demon could have meant deafness, muteness, as well as mental defects. Does verse 27 argue against worshipping the Virgin Mary. We got into a discussion of versions of the Lord’s prayer. Gene pointed out the newer version has been around 34 years. If it becomes too familiar it becomes mindless and we need to be part of us. Luther’s catechism has been changed. We briefly talked about the Heidelberg catechism. It is very long. It also convicts us of not being able to come to God. Jonah was a prophet but he was reluctant. It seems that the generations all think badly of the generation before or after them. Jesus says he is the sign to the people as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites. Who is the sign of the people today. Maybe our sign is still and always be Jesus. The light should flow out of us. This interior light can radiate out from our enthusiasm. There is a back and forth about asking for signs and believing even if a sign hasn’t been given to us. Pain is real suffering is a choice. Should we be mindlessly follow or should we always be mindful about our relationships with Christ and with others. Did our free will cause the struggles with our faith.