March 29, 2020
Death really stinks, doesn’t it? I can remember the first time I smelled that smell. A mouse – or some animal – had died in the wall of the apartment where I was living. After a few days the stench was unbearable. I called the landlord, and he just laughed at me. “It’ll go away in a while,” he said. “Just live with it.” Continue reading
April 14, 2019
There’s something missing from the passage that introduces the Palm Procession this time. Luke doesn’t mention palm branches. For that matter, he doesn’t have the crowd shouting “Hosanna!” either. Yet, we still call it Palm Sunday, and we still sing “Hosanna.”
It’s easy to get distracted by our traditions, isn’t it? It seems we only have to do something twice before it becomes, “the way we’ve always done it.” And we forget to actually pay attention to the story we’re hearing, because we already have in our heads the story we know. Continue reading
All Saints Sunday 11/4/2018
Jesus has completed his journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. The triumphal entry into the city is already fading from memory. We’ve jumped from Mark’s gospel to John’s for this celebration of All Saints Sunday, so the timeline might seem a little crooked. But the trajectory of the story is the same: Jesus is getting closer to the Cross.
Since arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus has managed to make just about everyone angry. The shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” have given way to accusations of blasphemy, and threats of stoning. Jesus has gone back across the Jordan River to the place where John the Baptist was baptizing at the beginning of the story. While he is there, Mary and Martha send word to him that their brother Lazarus is sick. They ask him to come immediately, but he stays a couple more days. We can feel the tension building, even if Jesus seems not to be bothered. Continue reading