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Gospel Reflection for April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday

26 Mar

Scripture Readings: Acts of the Apostles 10.34,37-42; Colossians 3.1-3; (Vigil Mark 16.1-7) John 20.1-18

“This disciple who had arrived first at the tomb went in. He saw and believed.”  – John 20.8

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.'” – John 20.18

Mary Magdalene brings the whole community of Jesus’ followers the good news, “I have seen the Lord.” Easter testifies to the power of God’s love. Jesus’ resurrection testifies to the impossible coming to be. Every dawn testifies to the giver of our lives, the Holy Spirit, calling us into song like the birds, calling us into deeper roots like the bulbs, calling us with poet Gerard Manley Hopkins to recognize Easter is a verb.

We Christians welcome Jesus to easter in us. What Jesus has done for us in giving himself wholeheartedly we must do for one another. We weave with our love each day a community of love in our world.

How are Jesus and his Spirit eastering in you?


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Gospel Reflection for March 20, 2016, Passion/Palm Sunday

14 Mar
Photo via Flickr user Thomas Hawk

Photo via Flickr user Thomas Hawk

Sunday Readings: Luke 19.28-40; Isaiah 50.4-7; Philippians 2.6-11; Luke 22.14-23.56

“Surely this was an innocent man.”

(Luke 23.47)

Luke’s passion account emphasizes Jesus’ innocence. When the crowd, the chief priests, and temple guard come to arrest Jesus, he says, “Am I a criminal that you come out after me armed with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you never raised a hand against me. But this is your hour — the triumph of darkness” (22.53-53).

Pilate and Herod can find no evidence of a crime. One of the criminals crucified with Jesus insists Jesus has done nothing wrong. The centurion who is at the cross as Jesus dies expresses Luke’s view, “Surely this man was innocent.”

Innocence is a powerful agent of change. The photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi found drowned along the Turkish coast went viral and raised awareness of the plight of immigrants fleeing the civil war in Syria. Turning the fire hoses on children in the Montgomery bus boycott stopped the violence. We cannot justify the violence to children that we do to other adults.

How does violence against the innocent affect you?

If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection,
please visit the Sunday By Sunday page
to order a subscription or request a free sample.
Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

 

Are We Rome?

3 Apr
Photo via Flickr user Lawrence OP

Photo via Flickr user Lawrence OP

 

Happy Holy Week to you, one and all.

On Palm Sunday, we imagined Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. We wondered what this procession of palms may have looked like. Was it to fulfill a prophecy? How many people caught the reference to Zachariah in the moment? Was it, as Crossan and Borg argue in The Last Week, a procession to challenge the Imperial Procession of Pilate and counter the dominating system? Pilate’s procession symbolized Roman military, theology and political might. Was Jesus reminding us that God’s kingdom counters that of worldly domination?

Did Jesus know what he would find when he got to the temple?

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers. –Matthew 21:12-23

We imagine Jesus turning over tables and try to reconcile his anger with our ideas of his perfection. What, today, is worth our righteous anger? Are we complicit in the dominating system of our day that Jesus was countering by riding in from the East on a donkey?

On Palm Sunday, the youth in our congregation make and sell Cinnamon Rolls in celebration of Holy Week and to raise money for our summer work trips. We pictured Jesus, having to pass our table where money was being exchanged on his way to the sanctuary for worship. Would he turn over our table and call our gallery a den of robbers?

“I’d like to think Jesus would buy a cinnamon roll from us,” a ninth grader said.

Yet the image lingers. Would Jesus turn over my table in anger? This Holy Week, I’m wondering what procession I am truly taking part in. If Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem to die was really about, in part, countering the violence, power and glory of the dominating empire that ruled the world at that time, how can I follow him more closely today?

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