Get Behind Me: "Follow Me" in another tone of voice

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer (Romans 12:12 NRSV) Get behind me. Tone of voice is difficult to determine when all we have is the text. We do have context and that can help. Peter- the rock, the foundation, bearing witness he proclaims this Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God(Matthew 16:16) Now when Peter pulls Jesus aside to say “God forbid it, this should never happen to you (suffering and death)”- Jesus commands him, “Get behind me”. (Matthew 16:23) There is the addition of “Satan”- this should get Peter’s attention and ours. Get behind me, Satan. Drawn up short, reproached, Peter goes from the rock on which the church will be built to the stum

Knowing vs Knowing about

The silent “t”. Over the years I have discovered that having a silent “t” in my first name helps weed out telemarketing phone calls. When I was child I tried to find ways to explain the spelling, “it’s like escargot”. That didn’t always work. It can take time to learn to pronounce a name. Yesterday, I appreciated when someone whose name is spelled in such a way that there could be confusion on its’ pronunciation had her name spelled out phonetically on the Zoom screen. Names are powerful. Getting to know names and know one another takes time. In Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus has questions for his disciples; questions about who other people say he is and who his own disciples say Jesus is. What’s th

We are all beggars

Shortly before Martin Luther died, a piece of paper containing his handwriting was found in his pocket. Among other words on the paper were these: “This is true. We are all beggars.” (James M. Kittelson, Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1986, 2003), 297. We are all beggars. That came to mind this week as I reflected upon desperation. That is what I hear in the Canaanite woman’s plea that Jesus heal her daughter of demons. Desperation. Begging. In great despair and need the Canaanite woman calls out to Jesus. She will not let her plea go unnoticed. She shouts. She crosses boundaries and breaks rules. She kneels. She begs. What drove her th

Faith and Fear; in the Boat and on the Sea..

Trust God! With a fist raised like in a cheer- we said it again and again during Vacation Bible School (VBS). It was the call and response of Wilderness Escape as we engaged via Zoom in online VBS with bible stories; the Israelites escape from Egypt through the Red Sea, the Manna and Quail in the wilderness, and the Ten Commandments given on the mountaintop. God is with us- Trust God. God gives us what we need- Trust God. God guides us- Trust God. This weekend as we hear the disciple Peter being called out of the boat to walk on the water as Jesus is doing- it is a call to trust Jesus. In my sermons this weekend, I will be sharing two personal stories- one from an episode in the ocean as

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