Meeting a ghost?

 Last week our group followed Mary and Cleopas (or possibly some other unknowns) on the road to Emmaus and met a rather familiar stranger. They rush back to tell the disciples who they've seen, and, of course, no one quite believes them. The same old story. Until suddenly... (112) Meeting the Risen Lord The risen Jesus appears to the others as well. 1.       Read Luke 24:36-37 Does it surprise you that Jesus’ disciples believe in ghosts? a.       Are wrong beliefs evil, or simply incorrect? 2.       Read Luke 24:38 Why were the disciples afraid? Why might they have been doubtful or unwilling to believe? a.       When something good happens, do we sometimes doubt? b.       What about when something bad happens? 3.       Read Luke 24:39-40, John 20:19-20   What’s so important about Jesus’ wounds? a.       What’s so important about Jesus saying “Peace”? b.       Do we have peace? What does peace enable us to do? 4.       Read Luke 24:40-43 What’s so special about Jesus’ eating? a.   

What happens when that stranger turns out to be a friend?

 It's been a "long and winding" year, but we're getting back to those Gospel Bible studies at last, and here's the next in the series: (111) Some Very Important Meetings Last time (yes, I know, a long long time ago) we read Mark’s cryptic comment that the risen Lord had appeared to “two of them.” This time we’ll join those two, travelling from Jerusalem after the crushing of all their hopes – having heard rumors of resurrection, but clearly not believing them. 1.       Read Luke 24:13-18, John 19:25 Who is traveling, where and why? a.       Some traditions say Clopas was the brother of Joseph, making Mary the “sister” of Jesus’ mother Mary.   Clopas’ son Simeon becomes Bishop of Jerusalem after the destruction of the city in 70 AD, which might make him Jesus' cousin. But what difference does all this make to how we view the story? b.       Was Jesus’ face hidden by supernatural means, or natural? How easily would you recognize someone if you knew they

A Prayer for Open Hearts and Doors

  O Lord May all your people be Transparent witnesses; may we, Instead of closing, open doors That all around us, evermore May see Our God is love not hate; Our God is watching, ever waits To mend our hearts and bodies heal And souls replenish, futures seal To Him To hope, to love, to more Than any dream; Lord we implore That you would free our hearts to sing Till lives with holy mercy ring Restored.

For those we know and love

 For those we know and love who do not see Your blessings, may Your unseen blessings pour over them in abundance beyond our comprehension. For those we know and love who do not seem to hear Your word, may Your unheard words echo louder and longer in their hearts than we can imagine. For those we know and love who do not recognize Your guidance, may Your unrecognized Spirit guide them in paths unknown to us. May You bring them to You, at a time and place of Your choosing, not of ours, and may they see and hear and know and love You who have always seen and heard and known and loved them.

Ready for some exciting news?

 As my mum likes to remind me, without Christmas there could be no Easter... (110) Exciting News! Like newspaper accounts of a startling event, the Gospel accounts of the resurrection aren’t identical—which suggests they’re not made up; nobody sat down and said, “Let’s get our stories straight.” They’re just “straight” from the participants’ varied memories. So, let’s follow each group: 1.        The guards: a.        Read Matthew 27:54, Matthew 27:62-28:4,11-15 Why might powerful Roman soldiers have been afraid? b.        Why might the soldiers be willing to lie? Do you suppose they convinced themselves the lie was true? c.        When is it easy to convince people to believe in a lie? When is it not easy? Would Matthew get away with adding that last sentence if it weren’t true? 2.        The women: a.        Read Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1-2 How might the women’s thoughts be similar to the authorities’ when they see the stone rolled away? b.        Do you su

Reflecting the Beginning in the End

  If life and death are inextricably entwined, then life should be conceived on the date of death, and Christmas should be nine month after Passover... which it is. Our Coffee Break Bible Study Group's still studying the end of our Gospel marathon as the season approaches its beginning. And it feels right. Join us! (109) Beyond the Cross We still have two more stations in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—two more places to pause and pray… But first, let’s revisit what happened in the moment of Jesus’ death: 12.    Read Matthew 27:50-56, Mark 15:37-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:31-37 What might be the significance of… a.        the sun being darkened ( Matthew, Mark and   Luke )? What does darkness mean to you? b.        the Temple curtain being torn? What was the purpose of the curtain?                                                                                        i.       What does physical separation mean to you? What about mental or spiritual separation?        

Is it Advent or Lent?

Advent started yesterday, and the color for Advent is not the white of rejoicing but rather the purple of penance. Christian tradition used to ask us to "fast," not just during Lent, but during Advent as well. Hunger would make us remember the season and pray. Prayer would remind us how much the world needs the coming of Jesus--not just the first coming, but His continuing presence until the second coming also. And the struggle would remind us to take Christmas seriously--it's hard work, preparing to meet our Savior.  So, after all, it's not so weird if our Bible study series feels like Lent in Advent.  And today, having  "walked" the Via Dolorosa last week.  we enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the final "Stations of the Cross." (108) At the Foot of the Cross Th traditional route of the Via Dolorosa goes west from the Lions’ Gate in the Muslim Quarter, to the Old City, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter. The fi