The Ascension is a mysterious story. It opens the book of Acts and is a significant event, as it is referenced through the New Testament. But what does it mean? Why is it significant? Pastor Bob explores what Jesus' ascension means for our own lives (bodies).
Peter is preaching. Cornelius and his crew are listening. But a third thing happens. God's Spirit falls. Sometimes where you don't expect it. Sometimes when you aren't looking for it. We believe that God is always doing a third thing and there is great encouragement that God's Spirit can show up when we might think it unlikely.
John's Gospel begins the resurrection story with the detail that Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb while it is still dark. Caleb suggests that we ought to bring the darkness of our doubts, the darkness of our griefs and of our disappointments with us to Easter. Secondly, he points out that no one recognizes Jesus at first. It is difficult to see the risen Jesus, for the disciples and for us. Until Jesus calls Mary by her name, and Peter by his (three times!), they do not really believe that Easter has changed the world.
Greeks approach Jesus, interested in being a part of his growing movement. Jesus says, "yes, it is time for my glory." But he then goes on to define that glory as requiring death and the cross. In what story does death result in glory? Caleb tells the story of a recent trip he took while in Uganda and encourages us to think about what story we find ourselves in.
This week our text for our homily comes Ephesians, chapter 2:1-10. In this portion of the letter, Paul writes these lines that, through the ages, have been a great comfort to the church: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
We will be reflecting on this simple, yet profound, summary of the gospel. Among the questions we will ponder: why is it so hard for many of us to accept that we have been so radically accepted?
In this homily, Caleb explores the claim that Jesus is making by comparing his own body to the temple. How does Jesus replace the temple? What might God's Spirit being with us in Jesus' body mean for our own bodies?
Grace Chicago had the privilege of hosting Rev. Elizabeth Poest on Sunday, February 18. She preached a sermon on Acts 16 where Paul is in prison for telling people the story of Jesus. Stories have an incredible power, and they are what make life interesting. All of us have a story to tell of God's faithfulness, and as we tell our stories, others are encouraged.
Pastor Caleb breaks down the story of Elijah and Elisha into three scenes. The first is of Elijah's personal struggle where we learn that God uses all people. The second scene is Elisha's calling, which teaches us that when we are given more than we can handle, God provides people to share the load. The final scene is of Elijah's mantle falling to Elisha. God's Spirit is given to Elisha, to Christ, and to us.
Katherine James book, "Can You See Anything Now," won Christianity Today's award for best fiction. Paula published her first book, "No Relation," in November '17. Grace Chicago had the opportunity to host both authors for a reading and Q&A. After Bob's introduction, each author will read a selection from their books and then there is a conversation between the two about the difference between writing fiction/non-fiction, how faith is or isn't obvious in their writing, and what authors/artists inspire their own creativity.
On the 5th Sunday of Epiphany, Pastor Bob reflects on a passage from Mark 1 and suggests that "Jesus presence with us draws us out of the shadows...In Christ, our desires to objectify others are crucified with Christ."