Easter Vigil: You Have Only to Keep Still

For a true Easter Vigil service a great many Bible passages are suggested and appointed to lead us up to the glorious drama of the Resurrection.

 

Besides the Resurrection proclamation, the one required and appointed text is Exodus 14:10-31, about the miraculous redemption of the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt.

 

Out of that reading, the verses […]

Good Friday: We Are On Trial

John’s Gospel is so different from all the others, because Jesus the spotlight is on his eternal divinity in all its power.

 

One dominant theme throughout the Passion according to John is that when Jesus is brought up on charges before the High Priest, before Pilate, and even before the crowds, it turns out that not […]

Maundy Thursday: Don’t Keep Safe. Keep Loving!

These epidemic days everyone tells us, “Keep safe.” But our real job is to keep loving, and loving often isn’t safe.

 

Maundy Thursday gets its name from the Latin, mandatum, which means “commandment.” Jesus’ new commandment to us, which encompasses and expands all valid laws known to humankind, is “Love as I loved you.”

 

The Fourth Gospel […]

Holy Week’s Climax: The Three Days

What meaning is there in this time piled high with difficulty?

To the extent that we listen to the earth we might hear a sigh turning into a deep breath. Forced into staying in our homes we have given creation a moment’s reprieve from the ways we have been burning up resources, destroying rain forests, and […]

At the Tomb of Lazarus

John 11:1-45

Gospel for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A

Several times a day my wife and I scan the New York Times on line. These days, of course, we find that almost every article is more bad news about the current pandemic—each story worse than the last. Perhaps the most disturbing article of all was the one today […]

Nicodemus and Us

This is my second “blog in a time of pandemic.” And it fits also in my ongoing series of reflections on the Sunday readings. (I rely greatly in these comments on the scholarship of the late Raymond E. Brown, and I love his idea that “eternal life” that is featured so much in the Fourth Gospel is “the life […]

The Banquet of the Blessed and Unblessed

Reflections on the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

 

Amy-Jill Levine has a nice Youtube presentation on Jesus’ parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son (the Gospel for this Sunday in Luke 15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIxpPZvqGdI&t=6s

Levine would rather call them the parables of the Frantic Woman, the Frantic Shepherd, and the Frantic […]

Try Being Less Spiritual and More Decent

“What then should we do?”

That was the cry of the crowds who were touched by John the Baptist’s message in the region of the Jordan, that God’s ax was laid at the root of the trees, and those that produced no good fruit would be cut down (Luke 3:9).

What are those good fruits? What are […]

Mary Magdalene: The Easter Angel

The Easter Gospel: John 20:1-18

Very often, my wife, Connie, will see me growing cranky looking for something. She says, “What are you looking for?” And no sooner than I name the elusive thing, she finds it. And often it had been hiding in plain sight, right in front of my nose.

Mary Magdalene pulls the same […]

Turn the Page: Reflections on Lessons for Pentecost 24 A

The very first time I assisted with leading worship at my home congregation the very first thing I was assigned to do was to go to the altar and read aloud the introit from the big book lying there. I approached. I looked down at the open book, expecting to see the proper introit. But […]