Pentecost

s Pentecost, the great celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s quieter in John than in Acts. There’s no sound of a violent, rushing wind, no tongues of fire, no crowd and foreign languages and accusations of drunkenness. In place of all that, there’s a promise uttered to a grieving group. 

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Resurrection Sunday

Early in the morning, on the first day, God said let there be light. And there was light. And it was good. Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. It didn’t seem good, though. There was no light. All was dark. Mary came to grieve. She came to a tomb, a place of death.

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Holy Saturday

Friday night and Saturday are perhaps the strangest time of this strange, holy week. It is the time that all falls silent. There is nothing to do but wait. And it is not a waiting for new life. No one guessed what was to come. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus see to the burial, tending to Jesus’ mangled body with mercy.

I am captivated by these two disciples.

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Good Friday

War rages. Imperial powers invade and occupy other countries. 10.35 million people are imprisoned around the world. 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water.

Jesus still thirsts. Jesus is still imprisoned. Jesus still resides in occupied territory. This is a story we need today as desperately as we needed it two thousand years ago.

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Maundy Thursday

It’s Thursday. We have followed Jesus this far. He has been anointed with beauty, spoken of death, and his betrayal has begun. Tonight, he kneels and washes his friends’ feet–all of them, yes, including Judas.

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Holy Week Wednesday

The week picks up speed and the mystery deepens. Jesus’ words about death and life are taking on flesh with startling speed. In this reflection, we’re taking Thursday night and breaking it into two pieces so that we can linger longer with the text. Today we are with Judas.

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Holy Week Tuesday

It’s Tuesday. Jesus has entered Jerusalem, and before everything else, he has been blessed by beauty for beauty’s sake. He has received humanizing kindness before the dehumanization and violence that is to come. But the week is rolling on, ready or not. 

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Holy Week Monday

It’s Monday. Jesus has entered Jerusalem. It’s gotten serious. We begin. We enter into this ancient story and rhythm with him.

But first, this happens. It’s almost embarrassing to begin this week this way. It is not dignified. It is not reasonable. It’s physical and intimate and profligate.

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From Now On …

I think the part that most bothered me about this (besides catching people like fish—do you gut them after you catch them?) was that it was all up to me. Would I let Jesus in my boat? Would I follow? Would I fish for people? My salvation depended on my choice alone.

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Prepare the Way

Anytime we read something like, the word of the God came to so-and-so, I’m tempted to imagine this happened in some alternate spiritual universe—one where there are prophets and visions and miracles—not my ordinary everyday world. But the author of Luke is at pains to tell us that this happened here, in the real world, at a specific time in a specific place.

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One Humanity

I don’t believe this is a text just to people who are divorced or considering divorce. That’s not who Jesus addressed it to, and we shouldn’t relegate it to a limited audience either. Jesus is speaking to all of us as he calls forth a way of being that is one flesh, one humanity. This, I believe, is a word of compassion for us all. Yes, compassion.

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Bread is Essential

There is a tendency with this passage to spiritualize it, to contrast the bread that is made of wheat, yeast, salt, and water with bread that is made of love, justice, peace, and hope. All of which sounds nice but can taste like so much air to a hungry person. 

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The Unreasonable Work of Liberation

He must be possessed, they say. Because God’s logic looks like insanity to those of us who’ve become accustomed to the world’s logic. All this disruption, this chaos, must be demonic, they say.

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Just As You Are

Jesus took time for prayer. This isn’t the only place we see that. There are more than thirty references to Jesus praying. Jesus prayed. He prayed like he needed to pray, like it was essential for him.  Which is fascinating. Why would Jesus need to pray? If prayer is connection with God, and he is…

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Binding and Loosening

We start Advent not with shepherds and angels and babies meek and mild. Instead we start with apocalyptic warnings. I don’t like it. I prefer the kids in animal and shepherd costumes—the cute Christmas. But we don’t always get what we want. Instead we start Advent with a passage that is full of images of floods, and people disappearing, and thieves.

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What You Have

We start Advent not with shepherds and angels and babies meek and mild. Instead we start with apocalyptic warnings. I don’t like it. I prefer the kids in animal and shepherd costumes—the cute Christmas. But we don’t always get what we want. Instead we start Advent with a passage that is full of images of floods, and people disappearing, and thieves.

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An Invitation to Imperfection

We start Advent not with shepherds and angels and babies meek and mild. Instead we start with apocalyptic warnings. I don’t like it. I prefer the kids in animal and shepherd costumes—the cute Christmas. But we don’t always get what we want. Instead we start Advent with a passage that is full of images of floods, and people disappearing, and thieves.

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Born into Chaos

We start Advent not with shepherds and angels and babies meek and mild. Instead we start with apocalyptic warnings. I don’t like it. I prefer the kids in animal and shepherd costumes—the cute Christmas. But we don’t always get what we want. Instead we start Advent with a passage that is full of images of floods, and people disappearing, and thieves.

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