Two Fish Sticks and a green bottle of Sprite is what I ate and drank on Fridays for lunch in the the 7th grade during Lent Season. Although, we were having fish because there were lots of people giving up meat for the season, the fish sticks and Sprite were a treat for me. This was my first realization of the Lent season and even then I did not really know what it meant. I’m sure there must have been other food served with this delicacy such as French fries and slaw and maybe even a bread roll. Yet,
“Christianity is to have one’s body shaped, one’s habits determined, in such a manner that the worship of God is unavoidable” (Stanley Hauerwas). A spiritual discipline is “an activity within our power—something we can do—which brings us to a point where we can do what we at present cannot do by direct effort” (Dallas Willard). Practicing spiritual disciplines shape us so that we become the kind of person who more instinctively lives the kind of life that is pleasing to our Lord. That is to say, the change our being through our doing. They shape our souls through our
The story of Jesus kicking out the merchants and knocking over tables in the temple fascinated me as a kid. As best I could I pictured the mess he made. I thought Jesus must have been quite the character to do that! I guess that because I got caught up in the action of cleansing the temple I missed what followed–the healing of the blind and lame who came to Jesus in the temple (Matthew 21:14). And I certainly did not make the connection between the two that Matthew wants us to make.
At least 1,248!! That’s the number of chapters Matthew would be if he had given the same amount of coverage to the entire life of Jesus as he gave to the last week of Jesus. As it stands, 20 chapters (682 verses) record the first 33 years of Jesus life and 8 chapters (389 verses) capture the Passion Week. Over a third of Matthew (like Mark and Luke) focuses on what happened from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Why? They want us to pay VERY close attention because what happened is of VITAL importance. And what is the first thing