Not to Condemn But To Love the World – Br. Keith Nelson

1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

As your preacher on this seventh Sunday of Easter, I must confess I struggle with a key concept found throughout the gospel and epistles of John.

“The world” in these writings is a multi-faceted term. Its meaning shifts and accumulates layers of meaning every time it appears.

Sometimes the world is simply the material reality around us, the created order. In John’s prologue we hear: “He [that is, Jesus] was in the world, and the world came into being through him.” This meaning aligns with the most ancient usage of the Greek kosmos, which means “a harmoniously ordered arrangement” or even “adornment.” It is a fitting term for creation as Christians understand it, the material expression of God’s love. This kosmos finds its order and beauty in Christ the Word and exists only through him: “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” Read More

Life in the Midst of Death – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

Romans 8:35-39
John 14:1-7

We begin the first of five Tuesday evening sermons in Lent focused on “finding God amid all that troubles us in our lives and in the world.” This evening we explore the ultimate terms of life: “Life in the Midst of Death.”[i] I’m going to start with eternity and then move back-from-the-future into the present. First, a disclaimer. My own experience of life after death is limited. I’ll come back to that.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus said he was going away to prepare a place for us, where he invites us to follow. [ii] This place in heaven is a “mansion” according to the King James Version of the Bible, which is what I learned from as a child. Maybe also you? However the Greek word that was translated into English in the 1500s as “mansion” does not mean what the word “mansion” connotates for us today. For us today, a mansion is like a small palace, like the oceanfront mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. But the Greek word used here is actually much more modest and far more intriguing. The Greek word is simply a temporary dwelling place: an inn for overnight lodging.[iii]Along the ancient Roman roads, travelers’ inns were placed about a day’s journey one from another where travelers would spend the night.

The Greek word for this inn that Jesus prepares for us implies a journey, an ongoing development. Rather than imagining eternity as something static – where we are installed in a private palace – imagine eternity as an adventure in the company of heaven, with travelers’ inns being prepared for us, both for our heavenly rest and for our heavenly adventure, as we move from light to light, from one inn to the next. Read More