God meets with people right at the end of their ropes. He stands to meet us right at the end of the runway of our own capabilities and self-assuredness.
This week we reach a beatitude that at first seems to make no sense. It seems to make no sense because it again flies in the face of the common wisdom of that day and the common wisdom of today. But, it also seems self-defeating and borderline contradictory as a statement. In essence, Jesus is going to say that the dissatisfied will be the most satisfied.
Turning 39, getting a traffic ticket, listening to Radiohead, reading Esther, and how it all reminds me that I forget the gospel.
In the context of #metoo and #churchtoo, and the horrific things we are learning through that, I am seriously before the Lord asking how we might create churches that are safe spaces for broken and abused women. Churches where we go out of our way - like our Lord - to dignify women's stories, to offer the living and restorative water of the gospel, and to give meaningful purpose in mission to women who previously felt like they had no place.
In essence, the text contains a warning from Peter to the church that they shouldn't be surprised when they are rejected and persecuted for the sake of Christ, and in fact they should rejoice in that form of suffering.
Part 2 of the list features everything from Japanese fiction to American pragmatism, making a stop past English Catholicism on the way. There is also a pastor with gay parents and a conservative view of marriage.
The English have a bit of a reputation for being a slightly chilly bunch when it comes to relational warmth, and churches like this one can fight that cultural norm and point to the gospel while doing it.
In this sermon, I covered the concept of Solus Christus (Christ Alone). I felt like I was holding a candle up to the sun.