Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

The Lectionary Gospel for this week is Mark 10:17-31, often called the story of “the rich, young ruler,” although his youth and status don’t appear in Mark the way they do in the versions of this story in Matthew and Luke. In all three, though, he goes away in sorrow, even though he really wanted to follow Jesus…

…or maybe he just wanted to get Jesus’ affirmation. After all, he had been to Sunday School, so he knew what he was supposed to do to get to heaven--keep the commandments.

So he starts by buttering up Jesus, calling Jesus “good.” Jesus sees through it. “Don’t call me good. Only God is good.”

I think it is necessary to hear that clearly to understand the whole rest of this story. No one but God is good. We cannot claim eternal life--which is life that starts now, not at the body’s end--through our own righteousness. We are all sinners. We enter the Kingdom of God only through forgiveness, not by keeping the commandments, and certainly not through our possessions.

You never see a U-Haul on the back of a hearse.

John Robert McFarland

I started this blog several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] The grandchildren, though, are grown up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I am still trying to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

My new novel is VETS, about four homeless Iraqistan veterans accused of murdering a VA doctor, is available from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Books-A-Million, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $8.49 or $12.99 for paperback, according to which site you look at, and $3.99 for Kindle. Free if you can get your library to buy one.

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