Palm Sunday: Rivalry Encased in Death (Matthew 26:20-27:26)

Flickr Credit Ricardo Cuppino

“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:24–26)

The Story is not rigged

One of the ways we have heard these last events taught is that it all had to happen this way, but I want to raise the possibility that the game wasn’t rigged for Jesus. That these final events weren’t “destiny” as we often suppose, but rather the outworking of certain mechanism within human society that Jesus sought to unmask.** Continue reading Palm Sunday: Rivalry Encased in Death (Matthew 26:20-27:26)

Jesus, the Risen One (Jn 20)

This is the message I gave on Easter morning.

This morning we celebrate and remember Jesus’ raising from the dead. It is not uncommon on Easter Sunday for those in the church to focus in on the “fact” of the Resurrection. For some, this is the perfect Sunday to bring friends to hear an apologetics style presentation and where their non-believing friends can once and for all be convinced of the “fact” behind the resurrection.

In an article I read this week called: God’s Resuscitations by Kari Jo Verhulst

Several years ago, just in time for Easter, Time magazine ran a cover story called “Fact vs. Faith: A Reporter Investigates the Hot Debate Over Jesus.” Among the points investigated was the factuality of Jesus’ resurrection. In response, many pastors saw fit to use their Easter homilies to redress the article, emphasizing the “literal fact of the resurrection.” But in doing so, they accepted that “factuality” is a suitable category for resurrection faith, thus reducing the “truth” of the resurrection to historically verifiable fact.

And this should concern us as Friends. There’s nothing wrong with bring your friends to worship on Sunday morning, but the real “Fact” of that matter here is that for Quakers, Easter Sunday happens every Sunday or not at all. The Quaker church, if there ever was one, is an Easter church. We proclaim that Christ Jesus himself is present with us, leading us and guiding us. Therefore we should be less caught up in whether or not the resurrection is a historical fact that happened almost 2000 years ago and be more concerned with whether or not the resurrection is a reality in our lives, and in our world today. Because the “fact” of the resurrection is a matter of faith that can only be accessed first not through reasoning and impressive philosophical argumentation, but by the real presence of Christ who is with us. Continue reading Jesus, the Risen One (Jn 20)

Who is Raised?

I’m enjoying preparing for worship this coming Easter Sunday. What a great day to celebrate and reflect on. I came across this quote from William Stringfellow (from Sojourners in 1976) and love it. It made me think, who is it that we think was raised to life that Sunday so long ago?

Most churchfolk in American Christendom, especially those of a white bourgeois rearing, have, for generations, in both Sunday School and sanctuary, been furnished an impression of Jesus as a person who went briefly about teaching love and doing good: gentle Jesus, pure Jesus, meek Jesus, pastoral Jesus, honest Jesus, fragrant Jesus, passive Jesus, peaceful Jesus, healing Jesus, celibate Jesus, clean Jesus, virtuous Jesus, innocuous Jesus. Oddly enough, this image of Jesus stands in blatant discrepancy to biblical accounts of the ministry of Jesus familiar to everyone (by which Jesus is known to have been controversial in relation to his family and in synagogue appearances, to have suffered poignantly, to have known complete rejection of intimates no less than enemies, and to have been greeted more often with apprehension than acclaim).

Sharing from his childhood Stringfellow goes on to say: Continue reading Who is Raised?