As part of the Easter Sunday sermon this year, I mentioned how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides us with an opportunity to become children of God. I then pointed out how in spite of the popular sentiment often espoused that “all people in the world are children of God,” the Bible draws an important distinction about this issue. While we are all created in God’s image and all loved by God, and while God desires all people become His children, only those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ are actually declared to be children of God.
Although I am not a Roman Catholic, there is a lot I admire about Pope Francis. His devotion to God and his love for people is inspiring. Out of that devotion and love, the Pope demonstrates a deep concern for the poor and will often speak out against systems of economic oppression that bring great harm to the poor. Much like the prophets of ancient Israel, and much like John the Baptist and Jesus, Pope Francis uses strong words and imagery to draw attention to the ongoing plight of those who dwell in poverty.
Last week President Obama spoke at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event where religious leaders (predominantly, but not exclusively Christian) gather to hear inspirational speeches about the role of faith in civil life along with personal testimonies about how that faith has impacted individual lives in a positive and meaningful way.
It is customary for the President to be in attendance and to speak at this event. And President Obama has honored that custom in previous years, as he did again this year. But this year, the President sparked controversy over comments he made related to the way in which good religions can be twisted and perverted into ugly tools of violence and hatred.
Have you explored the Christian discipline of “spiritual reading?” One of the ways we nourish our souls and deepen our faith is through reading good books on the spiritual life. Summer is a great time to dive into some good books. Here are some ideas to get you started.