Photograph by Lindsey Kramer
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: John 12:1-8
Many of you are aware that our oldest dog, Naomi, has been experiencing inappetence for the past several months. She’s undergone a variety of tests. At one point, an abdominal ultrasound revealed slow digestion. There is a signal from the brain that communicates to our intestines the pace at which food should move through our digestive system. And, if food moves too slowly, all kinds of problems can develop. About 15 years ago, when I was pastoring in Gary, I had an elderly church member who experienced a bowel obstruction. On my way out of town, I stopped at the hospital to pray with her expecting her Monday morning surgery to be a fairly straight forward procedure. I called her husband the next day to inquire how she was doing. “She’s dying,” he said, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He proceeded to explain that the obstruction had shut off blood flow causing her colon to become gangrenous. The surgeon sewed her back up, told the husband they would do their best to make her comfortable, and that they estimated she would pass away in about 48 hours.
It isn’t often that we think about the fact that life requires emptying. Life is about more than acquisition; it’s about relinquishment as well. Life is about flow. We breathe in oxygen, we exhale carbon dioxide. Food and water enter our bodies. What is needed is absorbed and waste and toxins pass through. If the movement, the flow, the process of emptying is impeded, death is inevitable.
Photograph by Morgan Woodard
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Matthew 12:46-50
Generally speaking, most clichés have a kernel of truth to them… at least within their context of origin. We have all, no doubt, heard the cliché “blood is thicker than water.” It traces back to the Scottish author Allen Ramsay. It is found in his Collected Scots Proverbs published in 1737[i] and asserts that, no matter how challenging familial relationships may be they evoke an inherent loyalty that exceeds extra-familial relationships. That cliché is also scientifically accurate since water has a viscosity of 1 millipascal while plasma has a viscosity of around 1.5 millipascals.[ii]
But, there is absolutely no theological or biblical truth to that cliché “blood is thicker than water.” In fact, the opposite is true. It is water – baptismal water to be precise – which is thicker than blood according to our New Testament scriptures and that is the focus of this morning’s message. It is one of the most significant and distinctive early Church beliefs; a belief that, unfortunately – to a large degree – has been overlooked in subsequent centuries. It is a phenomenon that sociologists refer to as “fictive kinship.” Fictive kinship refers to relational bonds not grounded in blood or genetic material.
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On a lifelong journey of seeking to live out God's call on my life and to reflect His grace.
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