Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dark Sabbath

It was a dark sabbath for the followers of Jesus!

Jesus spent the Saturday resting in the tomb and it may had been the time of transformation. The pain was over for Him but for his followers the pain was great. How could this have happened?

They had believed that Jesus was the promised one and now what? But there was one clue for them that it was not quite over. Jesus had sung the first line of a favorite psalm of victory that begins "My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?" What we know as psalm 22 starts in pain but ends in a great victory. Was Jesus telling them that in this death was his victory?

How many of the doubted it and how many held out the hope? How often do we doubt in the midst of despair? For the followers of Jesus it was a dark Sabbath of despair and doubt - and I am sure of some true hope as they remembered his teachings.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Paradox

As a youth I wondered why they would call it "Good Friday" when the most awful thing happened on that day. It was a paradox that I did NOT understand. This was the day of the week that Jesus was crucified and endured such horrible pain at the hands of the Romans.

Later I understood that out of that most terrible event came the very best result.

The paradox is still almost too much for me to deal with and I still wonder why it had to happen the way that it did. We could blame it on the Jews of Jesus day saying if only they had accepted Jesus as the Messiah but it would have turned out so different if they had. Would the gentiles [non-Jews] have accepted the faith in ONE God?

It was this earth shaking event that changed everything and for me the paradox of Good Friday makes all the difference.

Today is a day for fasting and prayer! Think and pray about what happened for YOU!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apostle Peter

The Disciple of Jesus that is often regarded as the number one Apostle is Simon Peter and yet on the night when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Peter denied knowing Jesus not once but three times.

Peter gives me a lot of comfort. He was a C+ student of the Rabbi Jesus and yet he has a place of honor. We see him with all his questions, weaknesses and foibles and he was just like us.

So there is hope for me too.

My Church's Leader




General Minister and President Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins has been named to President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Watkins, who is among 25 faith and community leaders appointed to the Council, was in Washington, D.C. earlier this week to attend the group's first meeting.

"I am glad to be part of such a diverse group that is seeking common ground where we can make a real difference in the lives of people," said Watkins. "It's good to see the government connecting with faith-based and community organizations to help meet people's needs."

The Advisory Council is part of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In a press release from the White House, that office is described as "a resource for nonprofits and community organizations, both secular and faith based, looking for ways to make a bigger impact in their communities, learn their obligations under the law, cut through red tape, and make the most of what the federal government has to offer." To read the White House press release, go


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who Heard That Prayer?

In the Gospel According to mark 14:32-52 Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane while his disciples slept.

The prayer he prayed is recorded in the gospel so who heard that prayer, remembered it and wrote it down? Remember the disciples were sleeping and did not hear the prayer.

Verses 51 & 52 say, "A certain young man was following  him, wearing nothing bet a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked."

Was it that young man/perhaps still a boy who heard that prayer and remembered it? Was he the one who wrote it down later on?

Tradition tells us that the upper room was in the home of John Mark's parents. Was Mark that young man? Did he in his loin cloth hear Jesus and the disciples leave and follow them? Did Mark hear that prayer and when he wrote this gospel in later years included himself as a "Certain young man?"

This is speculation to be sure but it fits well into the story.

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Angry Jesus???

On Monday of Holy Week we remember the day when Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem and got angry. Yes even Jesus felt that very human emotion of anger.

When people came from distant lands to visit the Temple during Passover they needed two things in order to worship: an animal to sacrifice and temple money.

According to the laws found in Leviticus the sacrifice had to be perfect with out blemish. Each animal was inspected by a priest to be sure it was acceptable. If it wasn't you had to go find one that was and make an exchange. Off duty Levites on the Temple mount itself and even in the temple had pre-approved exchange animals that you could have for a price. Perhaps too much of a price. Perhaps a disapprove sacrifice one day might be on sale the next as pre-approved.

Because you could not make an offering with money that had the face of a human the Jews minted coins without a human image on them and it was referred to as "Temple Money." If you got to the temple with foreign coins you needed to exchange for a price your foreign coins for Temple coins.  The exchange rate could be high. 

Many worshipers felt that they were being cheated right there in the temple. So when Jesus over turned the tables scatting coins and animals he was most likely cheered by people wishing they could do the same thing. In the Gospel according to Mark Jesus said, "It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations but you have made it a den of robbers."

Righteous indignation became anger and Jesus drove them out of the temple.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

Lets have a ticker tape or these days a confetti parade! We have watched those kind of parades on TV, like when the first astronauts were welcomed back 40 years ago. They splashed down the day my eldest darling daughter was born, so I do remember. Excitement in the air and wonder for the hero of the day.

That is how it was when Jesus was welcomed into the city of Jerusalem. Instead of confetti it was palm branches. What a glorious day to enjoy. People went home and told their family and friends and then you know what? They went about their business as usual. Yes that was a bit of fun and excitement but then work had to be done.

Is it business as usual for us too? Do we welcome Jesus into our lives on Sunday and the rest of the week we act as if it makes no difference? I am thankful that Jesus came into my life and changed the way I do business every day.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Psalm 118:26