Most Christians can agree on basic teachings such as “love your neighbor” and “Jesus is Lord,” even though we might disagree about what those things mean. But there’s one teaching that was central to the belief system of the earliest disciples of Jesus that is very controversial today — so controversial that some Christians embrace it with relish while others avoid talking about it at all. That teaching is the prophecy of the coming apocalypse — the end of the age, perhaps even the end of the world.
In the past few hundred years, technology has profoundly changed the world. From heavy industry to nuclear weapons and the rise of artificial intelligence, what are the spiritual implications of these developments? Christians have long expected the end of the world. In this week’s service we ask: Will modern technology bring heaven on earth or the apocalypse? We also tell the story of Dorothy Day, a Catholic activist for peace and social justice, who opposed the dehumanizing extremes of capitalism and the threat of nuclear war.
The past few years have been a time of tremendous change. Imagine if, like the legend of Rip Van Winkle, you had gone to sleep in 2015 and woken up in 2021. After an extended bear-like hibernation you stumble out of bed and start a pot of coffee brewing.
While waiting for the caffeinated beverage to percolate, you go outside to look around. In your suburban neighborhood, people are walking down the street wearing face masks. They’re not criminals but old ladies. On somebody’s car you notice a bumper sticker: “Re-elect Trump for President 2020.” Re-elect? Trump? you think to yourself in disbelief.
There’s a time and a season for everything. Some times are full of struggle, while other times are filled with the blessings of renewal. In the world today, we’re dealing with a lot of challenges. This is especially true for the Christian church, which is in deep decline. In this week’s service, we talk about the hope for renewal of the church. We also tell the story of C.S. Lewis, who lost his faith but later regained it and became one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century.
Today is Easter Sunday, the holy day when Christians each year celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. After he died on the cross, his body was placed in a tomb. But in the midst of their mourning, his followers were astonished to find the tomb empty, and saw remarkable visions of Jesus alive as a powerful spiritual being.
Last week, we talked about “The Incredible Power of the Cross.” But as inspiring as the cross can be, it’s not the final chapter of the story — either for Jesus or for our own lives. In today’s service we reflect on the Biblical testimony of the resurrection. We also tell the story of Desmond Tutu, a courageous minister and human rights activist who has devoted his life to the cause of justice, reconciliation and renewal.
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week — the week when Christians each year commemorate the final days of Jesus’s earthly ministry, culminating in his martyrdom on the cross. Palm Sunday marks the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem for the festival of Passover, when crowds of people acclaimed him as a great prophet who could deliver the Jews from Roman oppression. They scattered palm branches at his feet, welcoming him as if he were their king, as he humbly rode into the city upon a donkey.
By Friday, Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders as a false messiah and crucified as a rabble-rouser by the Romans.