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)

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service

Today has been great. We had a really great meeting with the Camas-Washougal Homelessness Task Force this afternoon. A visitor from New Life Friends Church came and talked to us about a variety of ministries they are doing and some of the nuts and bolts of how to go about helping those in our community. I also planned our Ash Wednesday service, which I think was the first one (ever?) at Camas Friends (though it certainly wasn’t new for all people). I was really looking forward to hosting the worship time and introducing our church to Ash Wednesday because it has played a meaningful role in my own spirituality. The service was simple, with some prayers, scripture reading by different folks, silence, and of course ashes. Instead of marking people’s foreheads with the ashes I decided to have the ashes in a bowl and invited people to run their fingers through them that way while I said “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Continue reading Ash Wednesday Prayer Service