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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday John 20 He is Risen!

Every other Sunday is a rehearsal for this one.

Every church should celebrate today.

If they don't, then they don't get what this Christian stuff is all about.

Bring out the loudest music.

Jesus is risen. As my pastor said, RESURRECTION IS LOUD.

He is risen and we can't keep quiet.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday The Passion of the Christ

If I look back far enough I remember the first time that I 'got' Good Friday. I was 7.

I watched some movie about the life of Jesus at a theater. I don't know know which one it was. I have researched but haven't found the answer. It could have been the 1979 version of the Jesus movie that was updated in 1989.

But it was 1979. Movies were not so easily watched then. It was the days before digital download, itunes, DVDS, and even before VHS, if anyone still remembers that. I know the VHS was invented but it had not become household, at least not for families like mine who had little cash to spare. We had a black & white TV with a large antenna.

I had been to church that morning.

But seeing the crucifixion on the was nothing like the Passion of the Christ. It was rated PG. There was not that much blood. But I could not believe anyone would do that to my Jesus. Lumps in my throat. Agony. I cried. I shut my eyes. I decided I could not bear to watch something like that again.

Fast forward to 2004. Everyone is raging about the Passion of the Christ. All the staff at my church went to see it the night it came out: Ash Wednesday. I avoided it like the plague.

But I am a Bible professor and of course all my students began questioning me about it. So I went to watch it. Alone.

I was not alone in the theater but the experience itself was surreal. There was a group of women in front of me: about 20 of all ages that cried like the women following Jesus in the film.

The group behind me was eating popcorn, drinking Cokes and even making inappropriate comments.

I sat alone, shaking. Wondering how anyone could eat and watch something so gory at the same time. This is not just a normal movie for your entertainment! I wanted to shriek at them.

About the time they crammed the crown of thorns on his head, I left. I couldn't take it anymore.

There is no way anyone could have survived that loss of blood as long as it took. They went overboard. I understand why. but I can't watch.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Friday Reflections on the Stations of the Cross. Station 13.

Station 13 Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in the arms of his mother

The Scriptures do not tell us that the body of Jesus was laid in the arms of his mother, but Mark 15:47 says that she was there as the body was taken down. Every mother in the world knows that she needed one last time to hold her child, to remember struggle of his birth, to see his life flash before her eyes. There are no words to express the deepest darkest depths of agony that she felt. There are no decibels to register the sound of her wails.
She had watched him die, powerless to stop the machine of religious establishment, of empire, of men’s fears that led to treachery, violence, and now death. Did she remember his promises of rising on the third day? If she did they were forgotten as his blood stained her robe and her mind neared psychosis with pain.
O Lord, your mother symbolizes every mother who has watched her child suffer. May even in this we know your presence and comfort. 

Good Friday: Reflections on the stations of the cross. Station 9

Station 9 Jesus falls the third time

Even though he has been relieved of the burden of the heavy cross, Jesus falls for the third and last time. This time he has reached the place of his death, the hill called Golgotha, the place of the skull. They are now outside the city. The crowds continue to push and yell and scream. He remains on the ground as the soldiers to begin to strip him.

O Lord our hearts ache and we shake as we know how this story continues. We cannot bear the thought of your intense agony. We recoil in horror at the thought of nails into your hands and feet. 

Good Friday: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross. Station 7.

Station 7 Jesus falls the second time

Jesus falls again. He is deeply exhausted from the loss of blood for he has been flogged with a cat of nine tails. The soldier hit him 39 times on the back with the whip.  His knees scrape the ground. He is dehydrated and shaking. Yet the soldiers drag him to his feet. It was their job to get him alive to the place of execution. Yet he forgives even them.

O Lord, may I have the strength to forgive those who have inflicted pain upon me.

Good Friday: Reflections of the Stations of the Cross. Station 6

Station 6 Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

Church tradition tells us that a woman named Veronica offered her veil to Jesus so he could wipe his face. He wiped his face and gave it back and she saved it with his imprint to remember his suffering. A woman, unveiled, was shameful, but her fear of shame left as her compassion for him outweighed social norm. 

O Lord, would I have been willing to risk my own shame and even my own death to offer compassion to you? Let me remember that every suffering person I meet on the road today is you. And let me offer aid.

Good Friday: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross. Station 4.

They are not going to be in order. That's just me. Today I was thinking about Jesus meeting his mother on the via dolorosa.

Station 4 Jesus meets his mother

Jesus meets Mary, his mother. She looks into his eyes. How can she bear this burden of pain? She remembers the prophecy of Simeon who said ‘A sword will pierce your heart.’ The sword has pierced. She feels the pain of the twist. If she could bear this burden for him she would. But she knows it is his. She says nothing, but he knows her love.

O Lord, sometimes it hurts worse when I see the pain in the eyes of others than when I feel it myself. May I never purposely cause pain for those I love and may I always have someone who loves me to look in my eyes and share my pain when I travel in anguish. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lent 4 C Luke 15:1-32

The lost sheep. The prodigal son.
Just saw Les Mis. Yeah I know I am behind. Victor Hugo captured the story of redemption.

Fontaine the prodigal? Or Valjean the prodigal? Yes.

And heaven a barricade?

Or is heaven simply liberty? Do we all see it in the context in which we lived?

I dreamed a dream.

But my favourite line

To love someone is to see the face of God. In loving Cosette Valjean was redeemed.

Election of Pope Francis I

Well I guess it's time to join every other blogger and talk about the new pope. I am not Roman Catholic. But I am Christian. I am far enough in history away from Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli and even Henry VIII to say that the Holy Father in some sense does represent me though I am Protestant.

Today the whole world  waited for the white smoke. And when it was seen there was no waiting for it to be broadcast in the next morning's news, or for the newspapers to be published. Everyone in in the world knew within seconds that the white smoke ascended via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and every other social media venue represented in St. Peter's Square.

Why did Protestants care who was elected? Didn't 'we' PROTEST the Papacy 500 years ago?

Why did Americans care who was elected? Didn't 'we' declare over 200 years ago that we would be rule ourselves and not allow a religious state to interfere?

Why did the English care who was elected? Didn't the English King say 500 years ago that he would do as he pleased no matter what the Holy Father said? And then make himself the Head of the Church?

Why is everyone so interested? Why do we think it mattered? I want to hear your opinions! Tell me.