Heard at Café: 01/21/2020

Tonight, we got to hear a talk from Jeremy while eating salted caramel brownie bites and drinking hot apple cider (shoutout to Benji for his family's amazing recipe). The talk came from John 6:51-52 and 56-67.

51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

This passage seems a little strange; Jesus is talking about eating flesh and blood. We see here that some of Jesus' disciples leave him because they're not able to comprehend what he says in these verses. When we look at verses 68-69, though, we see Peter's response to Jesus' teaching.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Simon Peter essentially says that he's going to stick with Jesus even though he doesn't understand what Jesus had been saying. It wasn't that he understood what Jesus' words meant or even that he knew exactly who Jesus was. All he knew was that Jesus had the key to something greater, and it was to this that Peter held on.

The reality of faith is that we're going to doubt, but we can hold on because there's something more there for us.

Jeremy explained to us tonight that maybe doubt is a part of faith. This is Peter's example in this passage: he brings the doubt and the faith together. We can be honest about what we don't know and don't understand, and Jesus is still with us through that.

It's in our struggle and in our doubt that we can become more confident not only in God but ourselves. It's important, though, that when we have questions that we engage with it and take steps towards understanding. That's how we love God more and find our place with Him.

Heard at Café: 01/14/2020

Tonight's Café included London Fogs (delicious) and scones (super delicious).

We also heard a talk from Jeremy on Mark 12:28-34.

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Prior to this passage, the teachers of the law had been testing Jesus: asking him questions in order to trip him up. In this passage, we see a teacher of the law asking what seems to be another one of these questions. In response to his question, Jesus gives him more than what he asks for: not just one commandment, but two. Jesus tells the man that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. This is telling us that in a changing world, we can start with these two commandments as our guides and our building blocks.

"Love the Lord your God" is a commandment that comes from a passage in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:4-9. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

This passage would've been words that the teachers of the law knew well. In Jesus' time, the Pharisees had become grounded more in rituals and sacrifices rather than the meaning behind them. Jesus is reminding them of this command and telling them to stay anchored in this one key idea. It's a commandment that we've already heard many times before, but the story in Mark reminds us that everything else flows from it -- that the rituals and sacrifices have no meaning if we don't have the love behind it. 

The commandment also says that we should love the Lord our God with ALL of our heart, ALL of our soul, and ALL of our strength. This kind of love should permeate everything; no part of us should remain unaffected.

Jesus is ultimately reminding us of what we already know. He tells us to be rooted in these ideas of loving God, loving our neighbors, and loving ourselves.