Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. We had bookend services, one at 8:00 a.m. in the chapel, the other at 7:00 p.m. The services were essentially the same: readings, sermon, imposition of ashes, confession, communion. Just the essentials.
Sen. Marco Rubio’s rebuttal to State of the Union last night was notable mostly for what it didn’t do: spend more than a hot second on the subject of immigration. I’ve been impressed to see the Florida Republican working to convince conservatives that it’s time for immigration reform. Sure, his urgency may be as electoral as it is moral. But that doesn’t make him wrong.
Still, despite Rubio’s considerable gifts—and despite the low bar set by a thankless speaking gig—he sounded pretty out of touch.
Historians have argued for decades that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the right to own a handgun nor even with the right to use a gun in self-defense. Nevertheless, a counternarrative—bolstered by the National Rifle Association—has triumphed in the popular mind and been codified to some extent in the Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which said that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to possess a firearm.”
When the pope says he's going to step down due to his deteriorating strength of mind and body, it's hard to say much more than that about it with any certainty. That said, I found Rose Berger's post pretty thoughtful.
This week’s readings are generally about the faithful. Deuteronomy describes God’s faithful care of a “wandering Aramean” or “Syrian about to perish”—most likely Jacob. The psalm echoes God’s faithful care of God’s own, safely abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. Paul reminds the Romans how uncomplicated it is to come by salvation: it only takes faithful hearts and faithful speech. And we see Jesus’ profound faithfulness as he survives the devil’s temptations in the wilderness.
Preaching these texts looks easy enough, maybe even uninspiring. It doesn’t get much more basic than faith.