Showing posts from April, 2017

Liturgies of Life and Death

“IN LIFE AND IN DEATH, WE BELONG TO GOD…”  We are called to share life with each other, so on a Wednesday evening a few weeks ago and one year and three days after we laid hands on Marty and commissioned him to a ministry of dying, we anointed Marty once again, and told him his baptism will soon be complete.   The sanctuary gradually filled up with church members, Marty’s family and his “bar friends,” most of whom sat together on one side of the sanctuary, like it was a wedding. I told the crowd we were here to tell stories, to celebrate Marty’s life and assert our presence with him as he moved closer to his death, and to affirm that in life and in death, he belongs to God. And then service opened with his favorite song, What a wonderful world , and as our musician sang out in a clear, sweet voice, I felt the lump in my chest work its way up to my face and I began to cry. I looked at the rows of bar friends across from me also crying - these strangers, church membe

A Tale of Two Easters

Matthew 27:57-28:20 There are always two stories going on in any situation, and Easter is no exception. I suppose we might say we have the religious story of Jesus rising from the dead, which people either fully believe and trust in, believe in as some kind of theoretical idea or metaphor, or completely reject. And right alongside it we have the story of the Easter bunny. A fun day to celebrate Spring and eat marshmallow peeps and jelly beans.   Often, with powerful and dangerously true stories, there is a childish and commercialized version, safe for mass consumption, and, especially for, commerce – something mild and marketable. There is no money to be made in empty tombs and rising from the dead – (unless it’s zombies. There is big money in zombies). But Jesus wasn’t a zombie; he was fully alive, real, out there in the world ahead of them.   And even without the whole bunny thing, Matthew’s own version of the Easter events contrasts two stories of Jesus’ death and resurre