The Risen Christ Is the Vine

Today's readings draw our attention to our Baptism and then to our Lord's command to love one another. Whenever we are able to produce such sweet fruit for God it is only because he has lavishly bestowed grace and forgiveness on us. He has pruned us as a faithful gardener would prune the vines of his vineyard. When and where God intervenes with his care, we bear much fruit and give him the glory.

The Risen Christ Is Our Good Shepherd

What's in it for me? That is often the world's question and ours too. Jesus comes as the Good Shepherd to battle the enemies of sin and death and to protect and defend us, his sheep. He does this all not for himself but for us. For us he lives, for us he dies, and for us he rises again. He took on our flesh and blood not for gain or glory but in order to battle our enemies and win for us the victory only he could win. Now we hear his voice, respond with joy, and in gratitude follow his lead to eternal life. What's in it for me? Jesus answers: "Your salvation."

I Tell You the Truth…Until I Drink It Anew in the Kingdom of God

As the time draws near for our Lord to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world, he does a remarkable thing. He offers his disciples a foretaste of the forgiveness he would soon offer the entire world. In, with, and under the bread and the wine is the true body and blood of Jesus, given and shed for the forgiveness of all of their sins—and ours. He offers that foretaste also to us today.  The Lord engages all of our senses as we walk with him and his disciples through the events that lead up to his trial; those events we remember on this holy Maundy Thursday.

Difficult Lessons of Lent: Understanding God’s “Weak” Battle Plan

Those who accompanied Jesus into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday were people who wanted a king in the style of their hopes and dreams. Instead they got a King who was determined to go to the cross and conquer our foes of sin, death, and the devil. Because he was obedient to death, the Father highly exalted him, at whose name "every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:10). Although the praises of Palm Sunday seem to be in contrast to the sorrow of Jesus' Passion, it is by his suffering that he became the King worthy of eternal praise.

Difficult Lessons of Lent: Salvation Is Not Our Doing

The cross is not some incidental part of the story of God's love for us. The cross is the place where that love is revealed most of all. The love of God cannot be told without the cross and where the cross is raised up; God will draw all people to himself. As Jesus was lifted up on the tree of the cross, so are we lifted up by that tree, raised up from our death and sin through Christ's forgiveness. This is our glory and comfort and this is the message that God has given to us to proclaim to the world.