Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

By the time we get to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, we begin to realize how needy we are.

Feed us our daily bread, forgive us our wrongs, keep us from the temptations of the evil one. And if we have prayed the first part of the prayer seriously – that God’s name would be hallowed in the way we live, and that God’s kingdom would come through us, and that God’s will would be done among us—then we have signed up for a battle with evil. We have become part of the struggle of Jesus against the principalities and powers of this dark world. We really do need God to keep us from walking blindly into temptation and to deliver us from the powers that are dead set on destroying us.

Let’s look together at Revelation 17—19, the epitome of the description of evil. It’s as if John is leading us through an art gallery, which has three paintings that graphically depict the situation of the people of God as they face the evil one.

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God Meets Us In The Vulnerable Christ

God Meets Us In The Vulnerable Christ

It’s the third week of Advent. For today’s reflection, I’m republishing a favorite post from last year.  Let’s look together at how we are vulnerable and what that means this Christmas season.

We are vulnerable and we know it.

We have seen high tech space shuttles disintegrate leaving no trace of human remains; skyscrapers collapse; stock markets plummet, rearranging retirement plans; companies bought, sold, and moved with city-wrecking swiftness; viruses spread, kill, and mutate; radicals believe that their god has told them to behead us; babies snuffed out in the womb because their timing was inconvenient; the earth poisoned, polluted, and warmed to its destruction; health disappear at the reading of a blood test; careers end with the slip of a tongue; hurricanes rearrange life for millions; governments fail to deliver financial responsibility; and nations bring the world to the brink of war.

Any serious person who thinks about the way the world is and the way it seems to be headed, has reason to feel vulnerable.

Why We Love Mary

We love Mary because she is a picture of vulnerability. Look her up in your pictorial dictionary. How tall is she? How old? Where is she standing? What is she wearing? What color is her hair? How is it fixed?

At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, you can see Mary through the eyes of the artists of the ages. And in the composite, she is a mature adult, wears velvet dresses (usually a deep red), lives in a larger than average home, has a chair by the window through which light cascades softly, and she likes to read. This is the Mary of classic art. And she appears to be fully in charge of her space.

But we know better.

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Merry Christmas From Dr Dan Boone & Denise Boone

Merry Christmas From Dr Dan Boone & Denise Boone

Dear readers,

May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

Blessings,

Dr  Dan Boone and Denise Boone


 

small.TNU Christmas card 2014_new

Ferguson, Breath, and Justice

Ferguson, Breath, and Justice

When Derrick Rose wore a pre-game warm-up shirt that said, “I can’t breathe,” I sensed that a movement might be underway. When Nashville residents laid down in the middle of Interstate 24 on a busy Thanksgiving traffic night, I sensed that a movement might be underway. When Isaiah Fish, TNU Class of 2014 and M.Div. Candidate at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, wrote me about his social justice concerns, I sensed that a movement might be underway.

Is Ferguson and New York City a one-week news cycle or the beginning of a call for justice from a nation still sinning and healing?

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Jesus Is The Hospitality of God

Jesus Is The Hospitality of God

Christmas in Mexico begins with Los Posadas, a nine-day reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem.

The children gather each afternoon for nine consecutive days leading up to Christmas. One child plays the role of the Virgin Maria. Another is San Jose. Others are the angelos. Others are the Santo Reyes (three wise kings). And the rest are pastores (shepherds). They are decked out in colorful handmade costumes and carry faroles (paper lanterns). They form the parade of Santos Peregrinos (Holy Pilgrims). They go from house to house requesting posada (shelter). They sing outside the front door:

En nombre del cielo buenos moradores dad a unos via’jeros posada esta noche.

In the name of God, we ask those who dwell here, give to some travelers lodging this evening.

From inside the house comes back the reply, “This is not an inn, move on. I cannot open lest you be a scoundrel.” The children go on singing, explaining that they have traveled from Nazareth, are tired, and that Mary is expecting a child. All to no avail.

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Forgive Us, As We Forgive

Forgive Us, As We Forgive

We become profoundly human when we are willing to confess that we were wrong, that we have sinned, and that we need forgiveness.

Forgive us our
debts/trespasses/sins
as we forgive our
debtors/trespassers/sinners.”

What is being said here? Sometimes scripture is the best commentary on scripture. Jesus tells a remarkable parable in Matthew 18:21-35.

Peter is asking Jesus how many times he has to forgive one of the brothers for sinning against him. He even suggests the answer: seven times. Since seven is the perfect, whole, complete number, this ought to be enough. Jesus should congratulate him on being so magnanimously forgiving. The Pharisees drew the line at three, then ka-pow! Jesus raised the ante. Not seven times, but seventy times seven or seventy-seven times—not sure which, but both are a lot more than seven. But the real answer to Peter’s question is not in the number, but in the parable that follows. It goes like this.

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Advent Reflection: Sign Language

Advent Reflection: Sign Language

I find myself sympathetic with Zechariah (Luke 1:5-25). He has heard an awful lot in his brief encounter with Gabriel, the designated angel of Advent.

With our kids, the news unfolds slowly. First, “Honey, I’m pregnant.” Weeks pass and we discover the sex of the baby. Months pass and we begin to discuss a name. Years pass before the child’s life begins to reveal what he will do. Decades pass before the impact of his life is measured.

Zechariah gets it all in one brief six-sentence encounter. Your aging wife, well beyond child-bearing years (like Hannah was in the Old Testament), is pregnant.  It’s a boy. Name him John. The people of God will rejoice at his birth. Like the ancient Nazarites, he will not drink; instead, the Spirit of God will fill him. Repentance will follow in the wake of his words. He will make people ready for the coming of the Lord.

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What I’m Thankful For

What I’m Thankful For

I’m a list maker. It keeps me focused on what else needs to be done. I love crossing them off one at a time until there is nothing else needing my attention.

But the following list is not one I will ever be done with, nor am I crossing these off. It’s a list of things I’m thankful for in no particular order:

  • A faith that has held me when I couldn’t hold it
  • A God who is more stubborn than I am
  • Denise—she is self-explanatory
  • A family that works hard, plays hard, and gives much
  • Hilarious grandchildren
  • The chance to see the future unfold in the eyes of Trevecca students
  • The ability to write and enjoy books
  • Where I get to live
  • Driving a 10-year-old car past 250,000 miles so the university doesn’t have to buy me a new one
  • Three families whose large gifts have made Trevecca much better

That’s 10. I’ll stop there for now. I am a very rich man.


Make your own thankful list and post it in the comments. Don’t forget to download the free Scripture art of Psalm 136:6; you can find it here.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you and yours have a blessed holiday!

Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

With this simple phrase a massive transition happens in the Lord’s Prayer. In these words we move from an omnipotent God to frail humans, which bothers some of us. We’d rather think more highly of ourselves. Words like “frail” and “needy” and “hungry” and “please” don’t sit too well when we are trying to prop up our little self-sovereign kingdoms.

But to be human is to be needy. To pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is to be deeply in touch with our essence, to declare that we are needy humans before our creator.

Bread is a powerful Biblical image for human neediness. The scriptures are full of bread stories, but one of the most revealing is in Exodus 16.

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Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

The day after Thanksgiving has become the biggest shopping day of the year. And now, some of the big box stores are inching into Thanksgiving Day itself by opening on Thursday afternoon. A national day of giving thanks has become a national day of acquiring more. We call it Black Friday. At least we named it well.

I think football is to blame. When over-fed men won’t converse with their families, but pile into stuffed chairs and watch football into oblivion, women go shopping. It is payback for the scant thanks the women got for all their hard cooking. I know; this sounds very sexist. Men do cook and women do like football. I’m generalizing here.

But I’m still sad that stores are opening on Black Friday and Thankful Thursday. Because we don’t need more practice at buying stuff. We need more practice at conversing, playing, walking, and talking—at being a family who exits the rat race for a respite of gratitude. It’s hard to do that while you’re wrestling a bargain toy from a fellow human or snoozing to another NFL game.

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