On Suffering: Newness of Life

“Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:10 This week’s topic on suffering attempts to answer the question, “Where is God amidst suffering?” We are constantly bombarded with stories of war, famine, disease, poverty, inequity…

On Suffering: Life + Death

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 The cross embodies both death and life. The cross is a symbol of the process of dying to ourselves—dying to malicious intentions, dying to unrighteous anger, dying to words of hatred…

On Suffering: The Juxtaposition of Pain and Joy

“You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.” John 16:20 The coexistence of our world’s violent history and scenic beauty is surreal—like the symbol of the cross and the miracle of a baby’s birth. Both unspeakable pain and tremendous joy help us experience the beauty of Jesus. Perhaps joy is not the…

On Suffering: Brokenness—a thing of Beauty.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 As we experience the things of the world, we will find great trouble—violent injustice, systems of oppression and gross abuse against the vulnerable. But there we realize that…

On Suffering: The Wounded Healer

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21 KJV Jesus was fully divine and fully human—in his humanity he experienced hunger, thirst, abuse, suffering and despair. In his divinity, he turned these seemingly broken situations into reminders of the fullness of his beauty….

On Liberation | Out of Oppression

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,     because the Lord has anointed me     to proclaim good news to the poor. Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 61 illustrates of trajectory of liberation which shows us how the oppressed become the most powerful liberators in our midst. Jesus’ first, public declaration proclaims good news for the poor—calling the oppressed into liberation, from…

On Liberation | From Oppression to Liberation

  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,     to proclaim freedom for the captives     and release from darkness for the prisoners,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor     and the day of vengeance of our God, Isaiah 61:1-2a   God brings about liberation through the oppressed.   We see this time and…

On Liberation | From Liberation to Healing

  [He has sent me]… to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— Isaiah 61:2b   It is in these dark places of oppression that we find healing.   Healing from the bonds of unworthiness and the yoke of expectations, healed from the need to control and conquer, healed from unconscious…

On Liberation | From Healing to Transformation

  … to bestow on them a crown of beauty     instead of ashes, the oil of joy     instead of mourning, and a garment of praise     instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:3   “Those who declared us dead will see the resurrection of the image of God in the humanity of the African woman.”…

On Liberation | From the Transformed into Liberators

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:3b-4 Transforming from the oppressed to our liberators, the once oppressed become…