Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ephphatha! Be Opened!

For the umpteenth time, I was reading through Jesus' healing miracles in Mark. (Mark 7:31-37, specifically.)

For the first time, I sensed the depth, the layers, the relevance of the story.

Is it just a Bible tale...or a penetrating story?

The Bible (when read and applied daily) is much more than a book. It is God in real life, God in real time.

Lord Christ,

You healed a deaf and mute man with the command Be Opened!

I take that literally. It was a healing miracle of ear and tongue.
I believe it!

...but Bible stories are for real life, in real time.

Is that command aimed at me?

Be Opened!  ...to your miracles of body, mind and heart.

...but there is even more to the story: It was a very personal encounter of ear and tongue and spit and touch.

Be Opened!  ...to intimacy with God.

Be Opened!  ...to his healing touch.

Be Opened!  ...to his voice.

Be Opened!  ...to his power.

Ephphatha! Amen.

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Monday, July 8, 2013


Ramadan has begun - a month of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims. That prompts a thought about religious pluralism in the U.S.

Today, we have a diversity of faiths, suspicion of faith(s), hostility toward faith and a lack thereof. That's how I would describe pluralism. I wish that definition included a greater respect for faith.

America is now characterized as a post-Christian nation. Many lament this, but it’s probably the natural result of globalization. I believe an informed, inquiring tolerance is the appropriate reaction. Be prepared to explain your faith. Take an interest in what others believe. Show respect for their views.

Some bemoan tolerance, but it is an act of grace. The alternative is choosing sides and estrangement. What’s Christian about that? (Maybe we are post-Christian because the Christians drifted off-message?)

Re-reading Acts 4:1-21 recently, I had an attitude adjustment. The passage contains a strong statement about the primacy of Christianity, but the Apostles were not theological scolds. They were very much engaged with the people of their own multicultural world - with a positive message, a healing touch (literally) and a contagious enthusiasm for their work.

Lord Christ,

I affirm the exclusive claim you have on my soul, on my life, with the words of St. Peter:

Salvation is found in on one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

I worry that some of my brothers have turned that passage into a threat, dispatching non-believers to hell. That’s not a compelling witness!

Now I understand that Peter spoke those words - to a doubting, hostile audience - as an invitation. He had just healed a crippled man and defended his faith with passion. He wasn’t looking for a scrum; he was excited about your teaching and your power!

Help me, Holy Spirit, to follow Peter’s example - to live courageously for my faith, to share it with enthusiasm, to see the opportunities for healing, to be a living invitation to Christianity.

In the name of Jesus - my Lord, my Savior. Amen.

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