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Bystanders.

As I read the story of Jesus’ Last Supper, betrayal, trial, persecution, suffering, and death last week, I couldn’t help but notice a few characters that escaped me before. You may be familiar with the main characters – Jesus and Judas, Peter and Pilate, the chief priests and the scribes – but did you know that in Mark’s gospel alone there are 7 bystanders who are complicit in the crucifixion of Christ?  
These bystanders typically are spokespeople for the crowd. Though mere individuals, they speak for the masses. Through their inaction, they are witnesses to injustice. Through their questions, they fuel hatred. Through their comments, they demonstrate coldness and indifference. 
While arguably not as evil as Judas the betrayer, Pilate who had Jesus flogged, or the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’ robes, these characters are burdened with a more subtle form of sin – the sin of inaction and apathy. 
My fear for God’s people today is that we have once again assumed the role of bystand…

Skating on Crutches

Eat.

Mine.

One of my son’s first words was, “Mine.” He is one-and-a-half and the youngest child of our three. He has two older sisters who have routinely snatched toys, food, blankets, and stuffed animals from his hands. And so, early on he picked up this simple word and has shouted it with ferocity far more than any other thing he has said.
“Mine!” John shouts while devouring grapes.
“Mine!” John announces as he points to the swing. “Mine!” John cries as his sisters rip toys from his hands. “Mine!” John asserts as he meanders through the playroom.
From the throne of his highchair our high king, John, daily declares, “Mine. Mine. Mine,” as he pounds his chest and points around the room.
The thing is, most of the stuff John thinks is “mine”, actually aren’t. And, even the stuff that is his is only his because he received it as a gift.
As I look around the world right now I see a whole bunch of big people shouting, “Mine!” As tax codes are discussed in congress, people of all brackets say

Best & Worst

To my fellow disciples who are simultaneously superheroes and their own worst enemy: 
My daughter Delaney had a food allergy attack a couple of weeks ago. She snuck a cookie she knew she couldn’t have, took a few bites, and placed the rest back in the container. She then spent the next 5 hours extremely sick (really, really sick). Needless to say, the event was dramatic, scary, frustrating, depressing, and chaotic. It put us all on edge and brought out the best and worst of us. 
My wife and I were at our best as we cared for our daughter. Seemingly experts by now at all-things-allergy, we responded with tact and discipline. We treated her and monitored her. As she grew sicker we cared for her, calmed her and reassured her. We also kept up with the other two kids in our house that still needed to eat, bathe, be entertained, and go to sleep. 
Unfortunately, we were at our worst as the stress of this instance prompted us to throw barbs back and forth. I volleyed the first shot: How could yo…