Month: April 2012

Easter and Those Bad People

All the hymns we sang Easter morning were full of me’s. Me, me, me, paired with the occasional I. Jesus died for me. Jesus saved me. Jesus sacrificed for me. I am not worthy of what Jesus did for me. What if we changed the me? What if we made it, Jesus died for the man sleeping on the sidewalk whom you just walked by? Jesus died for drug lord...

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Holy Week and the Sour Wine

I always saw the “sour wine” incident as just ugliness. There Jesus is, dying, and those watching run and put sour wine on a stick and offer it to him. Taunting him, it seemed to me. “Yeah, he’s calling for Elijah – let’s see if Elijah comes to him.” This Palm Sunday, I heard the incident differently. When Jesus called for God, the bystanders...

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Holy Week and the Kiss

The Kiss, for me, has always been one of irony: Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. My reaction this Palm Sunday was different. This time, I saw the necessity of the kiss. Judas had to have a sign to identify Jesus because he couldn’t be picked out of the crowd. Jesus didn’t “look like” a rabbi. He wasn’t wearing “leader” clothes—no suit and tie...

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Holy Week and the Best of Intentions

Peter’s betrayal of Jesus has always seemed so predictable to me. Jesus just told you that you would betray him! Weren’t you listening? But this Palm Sunday, I saw Peter differently. Before, I’ve always seen Peter skulking in the courtyard, afraid of being recognized. But what if Peter were in the courtyard because he was trying to stay as close...

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Holy Week and The Other

Most likely, you know that Barabbas, in contrast to Jesus, was a real criminal. I admit I must have conflated him with the two bandits who were crucified with Jesus, because only this Palm Sunday did I hear his actual crime. According to Mark, Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who committed murder during the insurrection. The insurrection,...

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Holy Week and Money

For fifty years, I’ve attended Palm Sunday services. Every service has featured a Passion Play. This Palm Sunday, thanks to the presentation co-produced by Virginia Ralph, I heard something different. Actually, I heard many things differently. I’ll share them with you this Holy Week, beginning with the anointing of Jesus. I’d always heard this...

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