Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tomb Saturday


It was a dark and sad day for the Disciples of Jesus. Their Rabbi was dead and laying in a borrowed tomb and they were hiding from the authorities. What must they have been thinking? Perhaps “How could Judas have done that?” or “What went wrong? Jesus should have been crowned King of Israel by now!”
Sadness and sorrow griped their hearts. What now?  It was the Sabbath so they could not escape the city until the next day as no one travels on the Sabbath. How could they know that the glory of the Resurrection was about to be theirs?
Many of us have had dark days in our lives when it seems that all is lost. Now we look back and think. “I should have known it would work out.”  We do not think that at the darkest times because we are too absorbed in the pain. The old phrase, “This too shall pass.” is often a crutch that gets us through to the dawn that is to come.

Friday, March 29, 2013

GOOD??? Friday

Have you ever wondered why Christians call the day Jesus the Christ died on the cross “Good Friday”???
How could a day full of painful agony and the death of Jesus be called good?

Perhaps the origin comes from the term “God’s Friday” in the same way that good-bye comes from “God be with ye” and was slurred over time.  All that aside as speculation we can consider that because we now know that Resurrections Sunday follows the events of that painful Friday, and knowing that Jesus’ death and resurrections accomplished salvation for all of us, then the term “Good Friday” is most understandable.

Today is a day for us to contemplate the fact that our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus. Because of His sacrifice we are forgiven and we have received Grace. Let this is a day of prayer and meditation for you.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why is it called Maundy THursday

I always thought that the term “Maundy Thursday” sounded strange. As a youth it sounded like Monday Thursday but that made no sense. It actually comes from the Latin term mandatum novum for the foot washing ceremony.

On this day Christians celebrate two very special ceremonies that Jesus instituted during his last Passover meal with his disciples.

The first was the washing of feet. Now this was the job of the lowest servant or person in the house. No one had undertaken the task as they had just argued about who was the greatest among them. Jesus, their Rabbi and leader, used this opportunity to teach them about being servant leaders.

The second was the sacred meal Christians call Eucharist, Communion, and Lord’s Supper. It was a simple act of blessing bread, breaking it and sharing it with the command, “This is my body broken for you take and eat.” Jesus then took a cup of wine blessed it and said, “This is my blood shed for you, take and drink of it all of you and do this in remembrance of me.”

This is also the night that we remember that Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of sliver and the Passion of Jesus began. Spend some time in prayer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Kentucky Law

A new Kentucky law was passed over the governor’s veto. HB 279 says that "government shall not infringe on any person’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless it can show with “clear and convincing evidence” some compelling governmental interest for doing so."  I use to teach World Religions and I think there is a problem here.

Clearly our law makers have not done their homework to consider the number and variety of religions in this world who will now take root in Kentucky and some are already here. Letting people violate the law because of their sincerely held religious beliefs is an open invitation.

There are religions, already in Kentucky, who practice polygamy so now Muslim men  can have four wives and fundamentalist Mormons can have as  many as they like because of “sincerely held religious beliefs” that are long standing. 

Certain Greek religions that used sacred prostitutes may be making a comeback. Native American religions that use mind enhancing drugs to induce “visions” will be come popular in Kentucky. We already have Christian snake handling church in Kentucky that can now violate the law against handling snakes.

So welcome to Kentucky a place of anything goes if it is a sincerely  held religious belief.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

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. It was a righteous indignation that aroused this anger and prompted Jesus to take an unusual action.

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 perfect 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 the cost was too much of a price above the fair market value. 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 on it 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 them. At the money changing tables you could change your foreign coins for Temple coins.  The exchange rate could be very high 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.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Player or Spectator?

Holy Week is a great time for reflection on the value of our spiritual life. Is our experience with God and His church a blessing? Worshiping God is an important part of our faith experience that suffers if we only watch it. To get more out of our worship experience we must become more personally involved in it.

As a former soccer referee I noticed a correlation between church and the soccer field.  Both boys and girls play the game equally well and all the players are in constant motion. Everyone has an opportunity to touch or kick the ball, as soccer is a team effort. There are great rewards for team cooperation in the results of the game. Coaches and referees also get a lot of pleasure from sharing the experience. Spectators who have little knowledge about the game can easily become bored as the ball goes back and forth with little scoring.  Spectators who take the time to be involved with players and coaches learn about the game and enjoy it more.

I find worship has some of the same qualities. Spectators who do not involve them selves in the actions of worship can be board by the experience. But the ones who participates in the singing, praying, and devotions are never board. Those who focus their minds on the prayers, and scripture participate in the actions of worship. Singing out with gusto during the hymns or feeling the emotions of the choir’s anthem lifts the spirit to a new level. Even adding an amen as affirmation to the pastors sermon engages the worshiper in the actions of worship. Natural blessing flow from being actively involved in worship.

On this Resurrection Sunday I encourage you to worship with new energy for action to both share and receive the blessings of worship. Are you a player or spectator in Worship?