Abundant Joy

CanaBy Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson, commentary on John 2:1-11, re-posted from January 2016

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee…”

The rich beauty of this week’s gospel sets the stage for the journey into God and discipleship which follows. In his first public act in John’s gospel, Jesus transforms a wedding which has run out of wine into an overflowing, abundant celebration of the best wine. Every detail of this packed scene is worth pondering deeply.
Continue reading “Abundant Joy”

Not as the World Gives”: Receiving Jesus’s Gift of Peace

DiscourseBy Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Readers of radicaldiscipleship.net hardly need to be reminded of the sharp contrast between the pax imperium and pax Christi. It is foundational that Jesus’s messiahship is grounded not in militarism but in love. What it can be easy to forget—or to remember but not practice so well—is the holistic nature of the peace Jesus offers: the “ease of fit” between our inner and outer, our individual and communal lives. Continue reading “Not as the World Gives”: Receiving Jesus’s Gift of Peace”

I give them life of the age to come!

LightBy Wes Howard-Brook & Sue Ferguson Johnson

As we continue through the season of Uprising, the lectionary pulls a passage from John’s gospel totally out of context (John 10.22-30). It finds Jesus in the temple during the festival of Chanukah, the celebration of the military victory of a guerrilla band of Judeans over their Seleucid (Greek) oppressor, some two centuries before Jesus. It is the only mention of Chanukah in the Bible (the books which describe the battles leading to the feast are in 1-2 Maccabees, which are among the Apocrypha and not part of Hebrew Scripture). It comes after a long series of confrontations and challenges in and around the feast of Sukkoth, aka “Tabernacles” or “Booths,” that fills John 7.1-10.21. Chanukah carried no scriptural mandate requiring all male Israelites to journey to Jerusalem, as did the three torah-temple feasts of Pesach (Passover), Sukkoth and Shavuoth (Pentecost), as found in Deuteronomy 16. Thus, we can imagine that those still in Jerusalem during the rainy, winter season would be the “true” Jerusalemites, those most eager to hear a word about a coming “messiah” who would vanquish the Romans with military power and divine authority. Continue reading “I give them life of the age to come!”

My Lord and My God!


By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson, Commentary for April 3 (John 20.19-31)

Today, as we continue through the season of Uprising, we encounter a character often known as “doubting Thomas.” Looking closely at the scene, though, we hear no doubt in Thomas at all. Having missed the other disciples’ encounter with the Risen One, he proclaims: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not [Gk, ou me] believe” (John 20.25). Put a bit more colloquially, one could render his words, “No way I’m going to believe!” Continue reading “My Lord and My God!”