Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Continuing to Celebrate the Resurrection

The death of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross was agonizing and drawn-out torture, ending with a final cry of anguish as a Roman spear pierced his side and his heart. Because he had accepted without argument the false accusations, the hatred and rage and vicious

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Jews and a Few Others?

Most scholars lay out a chronology for Holy Week with Jesus entering Jerusalem on Sunday to the acclaim of thousands of his followers and fans. The palm branches are mentioned in Psalm 118, especially v. 27, and the donkey ("foal of an ass") in Zechariah 9. Jesus was deliberately

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Lent Is About Giving Up

Lent is often thought about in terms of giving up sweets, or red meat, or alcohol, or movies, in an attempt to create an ‘attitude of repentance.' Those items are external to us, even though we can be awfully attached to them. What’s deepest is our

Thursday, March 28, 2019

What's Manure Got to Do with It?

There’s a parable in Luke 13 that we non-farmers may have a hard time understanding, featuring a fig tree that won’t bear figs, and a farmer that won’t cut the tree down. What’s going on? The people listening to Jesus heard an agricultural problem — the tree was messed up, and the

Monday, March 25, 2019

Set Someone Free Today

In Luke 13, Jesus notices a woman who has had "a disabling spirit" for 18 years, and sets her free. He does so on the Sabbath, the religious day of rest. His opponents complain he ought not be doing such work on the Sabbath, and Jesus argues that, if releasing a farm animal for water on the Sabbath is allowed, then surely releasing this woman is allowed also.

This is not just an argument to draw different lines in a

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Give Up What???

“Lent — isn’t that where you have to give up something?” asked the barista at Starbucks the other day. Yes, giving up chocolate or something else pleasurable is part of Lent, but not the purpose, or even the main feature.

"Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, reminds us that,

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Which Way Now?

Jesus’ disciples had a hard time figuring him out. Even as he "resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) they were thinking he was preparing for revolt: since he was “the Anointed One of God” (9:20), surely their missions in chapters 9 and 10 were to build up a larger