Written on the Heart

By Bruce G. Epperly Date Delivered: March 29, 2009 Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:10-12 1 John 12:20-26 Legend has it that before the voyages of Columbus and other European sailors, the far western edges of maps had the words “ne plus ultra,” there is no more, written upon them. Following their journeys to the Americas, these maps…

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Why Was Jesus Killed?

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Mark 14:1b The chief priests and scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth, and kill him. Mark’s most explicit and direct answer to the question, “Why was Jesus killed?” is that the chief priests and scribes wanted him dead. But if we ask the question with any seriousness, that…

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What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

By John B. Cobb, Jr. John 8:31 Luke 4:18-19 The answers to this question are quite diverse. Some say that Christians are all those who place that label on themselves. For statistical surveys that is the best way to go. Many people who are not members of any church call themselves Christians, and that has some…

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What About Rewards and Punishments?

Contributed by John B. Cobb, Jr. Psalm 97 The scripture passages provided in the lectionary for today generally emphasize the idea of God’s justice. This is certainly a central theme for Christians. It was highlighted in the North American “Social Gospel,” which was widely influential in my youth. It has been highlighted again by Latin American…

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Was Paul a Feminist?

Contributed by John B. Cobb, Jr. Romans 16:1-7 Of course, Paul was not a feminist as that term is strictly employed today. Prior to the very recent period, no one was. But in a broader sense, the women who founded Ewha (would not count as feminists by rigorous contemporary standards either. Yet, I do believe that…

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Thinking Highly of Oneself

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Romans 12:3-8 Paul tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we should. That is good counsel. There are many people who exaggerate their own importance and virtue. On the other hand, partly because of Paul’s influence, the problem in the church today may be more a fear of…

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Serving God and Mammon

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Luke story of the rich, young ruler It has been very risky for a long time now to make statements about what Jesus said. Accordingly, I won’t claim that the explicit assertion that we cannot serve both God and Mammon came from him. But unless the synoptic writers seriously misunderstood him,…

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Scales Fell From His Eyes

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Acts 9:1-19 The idea that scales sometimes fall from our eyes has taken hold in Christendom. It describes figuratively an experience that many have had. In this whole passage there is a double change. On the road to Damascus, in the figurative sense, we might well say Paul had his most…

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Prayer

By John B. Cobb, Jr. O Thou, who art both Father and Mother of us all, we thank you for the beauty and love with which we are surrounded here. We thank you that we can live with others who share our gratitude to you and have concern one for another. We thank you that as…

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Is Jesus a New Moses?

By John B. Cobb, Jr. Location: Emory University The lectionary passages selected for today emphasize the connection between Jesus and Moses. Jesus’ ascent up the mount of transfiguration has many similarities with Moses’ ascent up Sinai. In addition Moses comes to see Jesus there. In the Exodus account God repeatedly states that Moses has found favor…

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