Who are the "spirits in prison" from 1 Peter 3:19? Are they humans from Noah's day? Old Testament saints in Hades? Are they fallen angels? Dig with me into this most "obscure" passage from Peter's first epistle.
I remember introducing the Nicene Creed to my small church in Nashville. As we approached the last line I remember the puzzled looks as we recited together, "I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
I remember many a bulletin as a child in which the service order was printed line for line, item for item, song for song. I particularly remember a funny word at the very end of the service: the benediction. But what in the world is it?
We find ourselves today not crossing seas on dry land, raising the dead, or calling fire down from Heaven; but living seemingly normal, average, and even mundane lives. How ordinary.
With all of our attempts to appeal to children, young people, and young adults, we've just missed the point and the problem entirely. In many cases, all we've ever given to our children and young adults is a Happy Meal and play time.
Most preaching in evangelical churches today is anemic at best. Many preachers are content to deliver countless series on anything from "7 Steps to a Happy Family," to "5 Laws of a Balanced Budget." After all, people can't listen very long anymore; they have short attention spans. What possible good could come from a dry dissertation on doctrine?
Christmas and Easter do indeed have a lasting and perpetual hold on even the most staunchly evangelical-Protestant hearts and minds. The problem is, there's more to the story of Christ and the gospel than Christmas and Easter.
Amid all the hustle and bustle and the rush toward Easter morning with candy at the ready and hams basted and bound for the oven; do we ever stop to think of the day when the very agent of creation, the Word of the Father whose power created all things and sustains all things was silent in the grave in the person of Jesus Christ?
There are two times when I can specifically remember bawling my eyes out during a church service and both of them have to do with... angels.
Many of the traditions of Maundy Thursday are centuries old and carry a boat load of symbolism and tradition. But what happens when the meaning behind these symbols is lost?