The last seven days of Jesus’ earthly mission – traditionally called Holy Week – were full of fears and signs. We need to notice both. Mark 10:32 tells us that the crowds following Christ on the road to Jerusalem “were afraid”. Jesus had become famous and he had powerful enemies in Jerusalem (John 11:8; 12:24).…

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In the closing minutes of the film version of The Fellowship of the Ring (part one of The Lord of the Rings), the story’s heroes face a hope-crushing defeat. They get trounced in battle, and scattered from one another. Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn regroup. They are weary and shaken. “So it has all been in…

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What do you do when you’re in a place that you can’t leave? There is a group of Paul’s letters called the Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Paul makes repeated reference in these books to his “imprisonment”, to himself as a “prisoner”, and to his “chains”. (Hence the label.) He probably wrote them…

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One of the good sides of having a heart attack (like I did six months ago), is learning to live with lack: Lack of energy. Lack of concentration. Lack of emotional stamina. And lack can be a good thing, since it pushes you into Christ, in whom there is no lack. As John says in…

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In the late 1920’s American astronomer Edwin Hubble spent hundreds of hours hunched over a table, poring over photos of distant stars. He reviewed thousands of images. He often spent his nights gazing at the heavens through the then new 100-inch reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in California. He collected and organized data. The…

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The last three Christmases I have given myself the same present: a calendar featuring full-colour, 12” x 12 ½” photos of galaxies. One of these is now hanging from the wall next to my desk. This month’s image shows the Crab Nebula. This galactic cloud is the remnant of a star that exploded – a…

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Books of the Bible – like most books – have clear and intentional beginnings and endings. In some cases, the writers link them, using matching words or corresponding ideas in the opening and closing passages. The technique is called bookending: it is deliberate, and it helps form the book’s message. Sometimes, the corresponding ideas take…

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Here is a Savior who waited in line. When he came up out of the water, God spoke. But prior to that moment, Jesus waited his turn. God’s words from the sky in Matthew 3:17 (“This is my beloved Son”) echoed the great Old Testament coronation hymn in Psalm 2 (see verse 7, “You are…

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In Genesis 14:17-24, Abram gathers 318 men to stage a daring all-night rescue mission. Enemies – Boko Haram style? – have abducted Abram’s nephew, Lot, and Lot’s family and servants. The rescue op succeeds. Abram returns the next morning with Lot and household safely in tow. Consider the emotional dynamics of these events. For a…

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When my laptop goes on the fritz I phone my friend Christopher. He does in minutes what I would need hours to do. Why? Because he knows how. He has tech know-how. This morning I was surprised to see a reference to “know-how” in Scripture. St. Paul writes, “I know how to be brought low,…

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