By Paul Koch

There is nothing worse than the feeling that comes over you when reality beats back your wish dreams. When you imagine what something would be like—how it would look, act, or feel—and then you experience it in real life and finally take it all in only to find that it’s not what you imagined. In that moment, your expectations, your ideal is shattered. And in a way, a big part of what our Lord does as he walks the earth is tear down the images and dreams people had concerning the Messiah. Everyone was waiting for the Messiah, eager to receive the Anointed One, and they all had their own detailed understanding of just how he would act and what sort of things he would accomplish. Would he be compassionate, kind, and forgiving? Would he be a critical judge and immovable threat? A liberator of the people of God? A deliverer from oppression or a political king? Everyone took the title of Messiah and filled it with their own wish dreams, and everything went along wonderfully until it crashed into reality.

By Hillary Asbury

People are sometimes very surprised to find out that my church has a service on Thanksgiving. I love it though; I grew up with it being a normal thing and for whatever reason I find it to be a very comforting service. There’s something grounding about celebrating a Christ-centered Thanksgiving. Its about something more than gorging ourselves with food, about more than time with family, and even about more than expressing gratitude for the many blessings we have enjoyed that year.

By Cindy Koch

There is something beautiful about a debate. Even if it is with the tiny mind of a two-year-old, it is a valuable and precious conversation. The exchange of ideas, as eloquent or as basic as it may be, requires both people to be introspective. Why do I think this? Why does she think that? How can I get someone else to see my point? Maybe, possibly, I am wrong. The questions and tactics flow back and forth, from passion to passion. And there is a true beauty in the discussion.

By Hillary Asbury

The Harrowing of Hell is just one panel of a larger altarpiece which depicts several vignettes from the Passion of our Lord. In the painting, we see a cut out scene of a dark cave, and several of the faithful departed huddled within. Two men, perhaps Noah and Abraham, kneel before Jesus.  Behind them stand John the Baptist who is, as always, pointing to Christ and turning to his companion (likely King David) to tell of the coming of the Savior. In the back corner we see Adam and Eve, patiently awaiting the fulfillment of that long-ago promise.

By Paul Koch

I recall many years ago I was doing a Sunday morning Bible study at my previous congregation in Georgia. We were working our way through St. Matthew’s Gospel that happened to be the text that corresponds to our reading today of Mark 10:2-16. So, we began by talking about the harsh realities of divorce. Divorce seems to be a plague of sorts in our land, it’s no longer rare or shocking. All of us have come in contact with the realities of divorce. Either you have been divorced or your parents have, or you know someone who has gone through the hurt and struggle of divorce. And it is easy if you haven’t been divorced to speak with a certain self-righteousness about the whole thing. Then again, it is also easy to justify divorce to the point that it can seem a noble or necessary thing. During that Bible study in Georgia, I was no doubt more on the self-righteous side of things when a member brought to my attention the simple fact that most of the people sitting there had been through divorce. In Bible Study on a Sunday morning a small southern town, those who had not been divorced were certainly the minority.