We will never interpret culture through the lens of faith so long as we give “the news” more time and focus than Jesus

They rose up and ran [Jesus] out of town. They led him to the crest of the hill on which their town had been built so that they could throw him off the cliff.

Luke 4:29
– Derek Maul on the cliffs outside of Nazareth

This photograph, taken by Rebekah at “The Precipice” outside of Nazareth, is one of my favorite images from our Holy Lands tour. It is the traditional location for Luke 4:29, when an angry mob moved to throw Jesus off a cliff because they did not like what he said in church.

The location offers both a panoramic view of the Jezreel Valley and – as you can see – a precipitous drop of several hundred feet.

Pastor Mac preached from this passage Sunday morning, and right away I could feel the rock outcropping beneath my feet and taste the cool fresh air around me. And I imagined what it must have been like for Jesus to be led to this place and threatened with death because he dared to use scripture as a frame for viewing the social/political/religious landscape around him.

Mac started his sermon by referencing German theologian Karl Barth’s advise to digest news with the paper in one hand and the Bible in the other.

The actual quote is: “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” (goodreads quotable quotes)

As my pastor pointed out, in today’s “post-truth” cultural climate we need to read several different news sources and also keep a current “World Almanac” at hand.

But the most salient point Mac makes (and this is the essence of the thought he left us with at the conclusion of his message), is that we absolutely must be aware of how this whole exercise balances out. In the final analysis, are we spending more of our time guzzling “news”… or are we investing our interest and our attention on following Jesus?

If our primary focus is not faith then we are out of balance.


Baptism this Sunday at HMPC

It was more than appropriate, then, that a message reminding us of what is important, and what really counts in the great scheme of things, had as its prelude a baptism, where two very small boys received the sacrament and were welcomed into the household of God.

So, maybe this: Engage the world through the lens of Jesus – with the newspaper in one hand, the Bible in the other, and a few small children at our feet, looking to us for some guidance on the road ahead.

At Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church Sunday morning

“And a little child shall lead them…”

Isaiah 11:6

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