Ascend: Further Up And Further In With the Songs of Ascent
All summer we’ll move our way through the collection of biblical songs known as the Psalms of Ascent (Pss 120-134). These were songs which were sung by God’s people during the uphill journey to worship in Jerusalem, which resided on the highest point in Palestine. The ascent was literal but it was also metaphorical, directing the pilgrims to live upward towards God. These songs have provided lyrical content for the upward call of Jesus’ followers for centuries. And after our most disorienting year, we need to learn to live these songs afresh, reminded that Jesus has called us further up and further in.
The first song teaches us that this world doesn’t satisfy us nor is it safe. We remember that the disciple must turn from the world and its ways and turn to Jesus as we follow him. The journey of discipleship begins with repentance, a no that is a yes.
Let Us Not Mock God with Metaphor
That part of the world that still gives Christianity a second thought will, out of respect for it, conclude that the resurrection is at most a metaphor for inner rebirth and renewal. But taken on its own terms, the belief in resurrection offers us, or anyone, no such latitude. In 1960 the author John Updike wrote a poem, “Seven Stanzas at Easter”—something of a respectful rejoinder to those who can only think of the central event in Christian theology as a metaphor. We take his poem as a mandate for listening to Paul’s most concentrated words about the resurrection. For we, too, in our more concealed and distressing moments are tempted to make the resurrection into something less than it is. “Let us not mock God with metaphor.” A short consideration of 1 Corinthians 15.
We Must Love One Another, or Die - Lent 2021
Through the season of Lent, we are taking a patient walk through 1 Corinthians 13. "We must love one another or die" may be more relevant to our day than any we can remember. This series is out to hold our feet to the fire to its centrality and its nature.
Never has something so central to our identity been so threatened by our circumstances.