On Pentecost Sunday, the gospel from John recounts the events of the evening of the Resurrection. It is the first post-resurrection appearance to the disciples huddled in the Upper Room. As the startling and disturbing events of the previous three days had unfolded, the community’s overriding response was fear. They had gathered, but had locked themselves away out of fear of what persecutions the religious authorities might bring against them. It is into this complex of uncertainty, perhaps doubt and hesitation, that Jesus appears.
The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of the Prince of Peace. His reign would lead to eternal shalom, righting all wrongs and healing all brokenness. Isaiah’s words are fulfilled with the arrival of Jesus. When Jesus is born, shalom is proclaimed. He is the King who brings peace and restoration to the broken fragments of our world. Shalom, or peace, is not only the absence of conflict but the presence of connection and completion. What do we all need in order to experience shalom? Continue reading
Over the years I have often been asked about a passage in Matthew’s Gospel: “So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect“. (Mt 5:48). Most people just wonder how in the world we could ever be perfect like God. Kind of a non-starter, so why try. Not only is it possible – it is commanded by Christ and empowered by his grace.
Be perfect, telios, the Greek word does not mean to be without sin, spot or blemish, but rather speaks of wholeness, a completeness, a certain end point, goal or destiny that is ours – in the end. In other words, to look to what God intends for us: our destiny, our divine calling – a project for this lifetime. A project that with the grace of God is ours in the here and now – and forever. A project that will reach “perfection” in heaven as we are then fully, wholly and completely what we were intended to be. Continue reading