Holy Tension – Br. David Vryhof

adventword_startAs the particularly contentious 2016 election season comes to a close in the United States this week, we are more aware than ever of the human tendency to judge others, especially those whose views differ from our own. This 2008 sermon from Br. David Vryhof encourages us to live in a place of holy tension, depending on God’s grace to show us when tolerance and patience towards others is called for, and when we are being called to noncooperation and resistance in the face of evil. 

 

Br. David Vryhof

Br. David Vryhof

Matthew 13:36-43

Sometimes the longer we ponder something, the more complex it seems to become.  Rather than gaining increasing clarity about the thing we are examining, we begin to perceive layers of complexity and uncover new and hidden dimensions.  Our reflections leave us with more questions than answers.  That has certainly been the case as I’ve pondered the meaning of this gospel parable over the past week. Continue reading

Overhauling the Systems – Br. Mark Brown

Is. 7:1-9/Ps. 48/Mat. 11:20-24

It’s hard to know quite what to make of this: the “woes” to Chorazin and Bethsaida, the damning to hell of Capernaum.  I’m tempted to suspect that this anger actually reflects the concerns of a later generation.  Matthew seems to have been written about 50 years after Jesus’ death. Perhaps Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were Jewish communities that resisted conversion to Christianity, or even persecuted Christian Jews. Continue reading

Overcoming Our Resistance to God – Br. David Vryhof

Matthew 9:32-34

Did you notice how very brief this healing story is?  “A demoniac who was mute was brought to [Jesus],” Matthew tells us. “And when the demon was cast out, the one who had been mute spoke…” That’s all.We are left to imagine the details of the encounter for ourselves – there is no record of dialogue between Jesus and the man, no description of what Jesus actually did to bring about the healing, no comment on the role the man might or might not have played, nor any word on his reaction to being healed. Continue reading