Archive for April 2014

Holy Saturday

April 19, 2014

Holy SaturdayDoes Holy Saturday have a role of any importance in Holy Week, or in our spiritual lives?

I think it does, especially if you’re a person like me who has tended to struggle with faith. Holy Saturday is for holy doubters.

Jesus’ disciples had every reason to doubt. Just when it looked like he was going to take control (e.g. on Palm Sunday), he gets himself killed. There went their dreams. There went the future. On this darkest of days (maybe even darker than Good Friday), they had lots of good reasons to doubt God’s wisdom, love and power.

Or maybe they were the problem. Maybe what they doubted was themselves. What if they had stayed with Jesus to the end? Were they the reason God had abandoned Jesus to his fate? If Jesus’ hand-picked, personally-tutored followers couldn’t remain faithful to the Messiah, how would anyone else? Had they just blown it (like Adam and Eve had) for the rest of the human race? (more…)

Helping Others See Jesus

April 15, 2014

WheatKernalSir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:21).

Since the beginning of the year our congregation has been exploring what it might mean to be an Acts 29 church – in other words, to be a church that picks up where the church of Acts leaves off. (There are only 28 chapters in Acts.) We’ve identified four core activities that flowed through the life of that early church – worship, discipleship, fellowship and witness. On Sunday I suggested that we devote each of the days leading up to Good Friday to one of these core activities. Yesterday we talked about worship. Today I’d like to share a few thoughts about discipleship.

In the gospel reading traditionally assigned to Holy Tuesday, some “Greeks” who were in town for the Passover tell Philip they would like to see Jesus. Jesus isn’t interested in becoming a spectacle or tourist attraction, but he does say that “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Instead of being an ego-trip, for Jesus being glorified means being lifted to his rightful place as King and Lord of all. Unless that happens, darkness and chaos will continue to have their way. It is for this world that Jesus must be glorified. (more…)

For Love

April 14, 2014

MaryAnointingJesusBut in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15).

Yesterday I suggested that this verse be our theme for the week, for this holy week. (The Greek word for “set apart” is the same word we translate “holy.”) I also suggested that we devote the next four days to reflecting upon and practicing the four core activities we’ve been exploring as a congregation since the first of the year – worship, discipleship, fellowship and witness.

So today some of us are focusing on worship – worship not just as a religious activity, but as a regal activity. The person who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and was eventually nailed to a cross was a king; in fact, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Yesterday I suggested that whenever we pray this week, we first of all acknowledge the lordship of Christ and our allegiance to him.

That’s what we do when we worship; then there is why we do it. In the gospel reading assigned to Holy Monday (John 12:1-11), Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anoints Jesus’ feet with an abundance of expensive perfume. She does it because she loves him, because she is overwhelmed by his love for her. If worship is about allegiance, it is also about love. (more…)