Showing posts from March, 2010

From Hosanna to Crucify Him

This reflection and prayer from our "Palm Saturday" service followed an exercise where we broke into groups and completed three "stations" of Holy Week.  The Temple (Mark 11:15-18) , The Garden (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62) , and The Courtyard (Luke 22:36-42 ).  At each station, prayers were gathered, and then used in this reflection/prayer. Luke 19:28-40 Palm Sunday – the triumphal entry.  This week began with Jesus, hot off the event of raising Lazarus from the dead, entering the city like new royalty, the people lined up and cheering, expectant and jubilant.  The triumphal entry was the beginning – people were ready to see great things.  But the week unfolded very differently than anyone could have imagined, and five days later the cries of “Hosanna! Save us!” turned to “Crucify him!”  In between, Jesus journeyed through humanity’s web: relationship, love and betrayal, structures and systems, justice and abuses of power, power dynamics and loyalty, of fear and grief.

The Last Dinner Party

John 12:1-12 We went back to the house of the dead man for dinner.  Crazy to be back there again, four days later, the tomb still standing open.   We passed it on the way, still faintly smelling of spices and death.  Here we were, back at the place that had turned the tide. Word was the leaders were just annoyed with Jesus before that, found him an oddity, an irritation; some wanted him gone but others thought he was not that big a threat.  But when it happened, some of them were there, they saw it.   And that clinched it. Lazarus was an upstanding guy, good family, so many had come to pay their respects to the sisters, and really, the whole town was grieving.   And the rumors were circulating – because they had sent word to Jesus days before that Lazarus was sick, and he was only two miles away, and he never came. This was Lazarus , his friend, brother of Mary and Martha –These were his people .   And he didn’t go.  I didn’t understand it.   I kind of agreed with the rumors, at

The unanswerable question, and its counterpart

A few weeks ago, Patheos contacted me and asked if I would write an answer to the question,  Who or What is God? (In 100 words or less)  for a piece they were putting together.  Inside myself I said, "Sure, no problem."  And then I began to think about my answer.  I thought about it walking the dogs. I thought about it in the shower. I thought about it putting my kids to bed and writing sermons.   I wanted to answer their question. I intended to answer their question. But I couldn't do it.  Others did, and you should check out their answers and add your own, if you wish.  I, for one, will be thinking about it for some time.  Maybe I could answer it in 100 words a week? 100 words a day? Can it ever really be answered? Having failed at the first question, here is my answer to a different one.  Who or what ISN'T God?   And I have found, in writing this one, that the pieces are loosening up so that perhaps an answer will come to the first question after all.  As my

Simulating Spring

Daylight savings time changed today, and it is 60 degrees outside. 60 degrees. If you are not a Minnesotan, you can't appreciate the significance of this in our lives.  March's snowfall is second only to December's, and we still have a good month and a half of winter left. But suddenly two feet of snow is gone in just over a week, and the kids are dogs are splashing through the muddy yard and it smells  like spring. Going outside in shirt sleeves makes us giddy, but it creates a strange anxiety when it is this beautiful out this early in the season.  We are a hardy people, strong and flexible. We can take whatever Mother Nature throws at us.  Two feet of snow on Halloween? No problem!  Two weeks of sub-zero temperatures?  We can handle it!  But teasing us about Spring - that is something that could bring these marathoners to our knees.  The way to make it through winter - especially in these last months when the rest of the country is posting pictures of their budding tu

Martha Stewart vs. God

I’m sheepish to admit that I went through my “aspiring to be like Martha Stewart” phase. I love to cook, (and mostly bake) lovely and delicious things, and welcome people to my home and table. Except that my home has two big dogs and two little children and one introvert, and Martha doesn’t talk about how to make handmade centerpieces when the kids are crying and the dogs are running off with your supplies dangling out of their mouths, and the husband is dreading the impending house full of people. The most extravagant meal I ever hosted was a five course dinner with a table full of eminent theologians, including Douglas John Hall. We had moved into our house just a few months earlier, and had not yet built our new, spacious kitchen, which was mapped out with blue tape on the floor of an empty room. The cramped kitchen had no dishwasher, almost no counter space, and room for two people to stand back to back, and was so small that our refrigerator was in the living room. I co