I invite you to join me in this Maundy Thursday meditation. It may be helpful for you to close your eyes, take a couple of slow deep breaths and relax your body to the best of your ability. We will travel back in time to an upper room in the city of Jerusalem during the Feast of the Passover.
It was early morning and the cool night air reluctantly began to give way to the warming rays of the sun. I sat in the window watching the streets below mindful of a growing hustle and bustle as shops began to open and vendors prepared for the day. (more…)
The procession with palms, a Passover dinner, and words that Peter will live to regret:
“I will never deny you. Never. Not me.”
Today we enter the swirl of Holy Week, entering again into an ancient story of hope and betrayal, courage and cowardice, fear and tragedy. We descend again into the valley of the shadow of death, and then beyond. (more…)
In the opening sequence of the Sound of Music Julie Andrews sings about the hills of Austria and how they are alive with the sound of music. You can almost hear the ancient, ancestral voices filled with history and the majesty of God in the stirring notes of a song that springs from the earth. In each note there is glory, there is beauty and there is a vision of a life that is joyous and free. And these are just the hills! The mountains the family eventually have to cross to reach freedom come much later in the story. (more…)
Picture this scene if you will: Jesus walks into the synagogue in Nazareth, opens the scroll, and reads the scripture from Isaiah – the one you heard last week about feeding the poor, freeing the captives, giving sight to the blind, and all that.
He closes the scroll and declares: “Today the Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
Years ago there used to be a television show called the A Team. Remember Mr. T, “I pity the fool!” It was about a group of former U.S. Army Special Forces men who worked as soldiers of fortune. These were the guys you called when it seemed like there was no one else to help with the problem you had and/or the mission was next to impossible. Their leader, Hannibal, was known to say at some point in the story, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Fans of the show loved it too. These guys were creative, committed, funny, skillful and very talented. They did not always like each other and they did not always get along, however they worked as a team to get the job done, and any job, especially the nearly impossible ones, were all neatly wrapped up start to finish in sixty minutes of air time. Rarely is real life like that. (more…)
“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.”
It is less than a month since the terrorist attack in Paris and not even a week since the senseless murder of innocent people in San Bernardino. Take off the garment of our sorrow and affliction? These first words from Baruch ask too much of us. We mourn. Many of us are still in shock and challenged by thoughts of fear and a desire for vengeance. How can we put on forever the beauty of the glory from God when our hearts are breaking and anxiety is residing like an unwelcome guest in our minds? What, if anything, can this season of Advent, offer to us? (more…)
As you know, this coming week we will observe our annual national celebration of Thanksgiving, which also happens to be one of two secular holidays that are on the Episcopal Church’s calendar of sacred feast days.
The other secular holiday on our church feast days is the Fourth of July, when not only was our nation founded, so was our church.
You may think you know the origins of Thanksgiving Day as an annual national holiday – but you might be wrong. (more…)
As you know, our world is reeling from horrific violence as Islamic extremists set off bombs and massacred scores of people in Paris this weekend. Bombs and carnage are a daily fact of life in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
We must acknowledge that these are acts perpetrated in the name of God.
It is tempting, as one of my oldest friends did yesterday, to blame all religion for propagating extremist ideologies that lead only to hate and evil. (more…)