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Showing posts from April, 2012

Empire, Imagination, and God's Colorful Characters

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(I am deeply indebted to Walter Brueggemann's breathtaking The Prophetic Imaginationfor guidance as we begin our journey with the prophets...)
1 Corinthians 1:25-28 Hosea 6:1-6 & Hosea 11:1-9
I have a friend whose dear friend in an atheist.They get along well, critically deconstructing things, and respecting each other in their beliefs despite their differences.Except they’ve had a disagreement recently and suddenly it’s gotten tense. Because my friend feels like her atheist friend thinks she’s an idiot for having faith.For believing in what she can’t see, for hoping when the evidence in front of her face tells her otherwise.It’s foolish. It’s absurd. It looks utterly idiotic. We are the ones who say God came and shared life with us, died and then came alive again.  We cling to this and say its true and it means something in a world where to talk this way sounds absurd.
Tonight begins the part of the Story where we begin talking about the prophets.  And they are crazy. They sound i…

The Unthinkable Alternative (aka., A Resurrected God)

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John 20:1-18 (Isaiah 25:6-9, John 1:1-5, 14, 18)
A week ago a few of us from the congregation went to see a Passion play.  It was the story of the end of Jesus’ life and his death and resurrection told again with special emphasis on the relationship between Judas and Jesus.  And it went through all the well known and familiar scenes – the last supper, Jesus praying in the garden and the disciples falling asleep, the trial scene and finally, it came to the cross.  And for several grueling minutes three characters writhed on beams of wood and fake died.The thief asked Jesus for mercy, Jesus got thirsty, he cried out, he forgave them, yada, yada, the whole nine yards until he breathed his last.They took him off the cross and carried him away. Then the scene switched to his disciples gathered in fear and hiding, grieving that he was gone, and believing it was all over.And suddenly Mary comes running to them and makes her pronouncement.His body is not there.
And it struck me, where was the Re…

Palms and Prayers and not the way we'd do it

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Luke 19:28-40
& (Luke 11:1-13)
I fessed up to a couple of people this week that I feel really really silly on Palm Sunday. I feel silly leading the parade, embarrassed waving my palm – not quite unabashed enough to wave it with flourish and devil-may-care attitude, but not wanting to just timidly tip it back and forth.  I feel some pressure to lead this thing, and it makes me begin to wonder what we are even celebrating at all.  Ironically, the people I confessed this to said they didn’t really feel silly doing it; it’s just what we do on Palm Sunday.
This is the only biblical story that we feel compelled – across virtually all denominations and in all places, I might add – to reenact as an entire congregation.  This day, across the nation in churches big and small, countless whole congregations are doing some version of this procession and singing some form of Hosanna to kick off their worship.  It’s only natural, apparently.  We are in this story.  We are the crowd, we see ourselve…