When Julie and I were in Israel, we visited many sites dealing with the life of Jesus. We were especially touched by the sites Jesus was a part of during Holy Week. One such site was the Garden Tomb; a spot that was very similar to the actual burial place of Jesus. As we entered that garden tomb, a sign caught our attention, the sign on your bulletin cover: “Closed on Sunday”. That struck me as rather ironic. Every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection, but every Sunday the representation of the burial spot was closed. We celebrate today the in fact that on first Easter morning, not only was the garden open, but the tomb of Jesus was opened and he was risen! Christ is risen!
Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12: 1-8
April 7, 2019
Let's begin with a little review of the family of Lazarus. As John pointed out, Lazarus is the one Jesus raised from the dead. But that is not the only time we meet this family of Lazarus and his two sisters. Another familiar story about them is the one where Jesus and the disciples come to their house and Martha serves the supper while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. Martha, as you recall, became upset with her sister and Jesus reminded Martha that Mary had chosen the better part; to be with Jesus.
Joshua 5: 9-12; 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21; Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32
March 31, 2019
There's an old story about a man who went to the movies, and upon seeing the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer roaring lion, decided he had already seen that movie, and so left. And that's a danger for some of our gospel stories, especially the ones we hear every year during Lent. In today's gospel, Jesus tells a parable and you may know the parable as soon as he begins, "There was a man who had two sons.” It is one of the most familiar and well loved parables in the scriptures. But as we listen to it today, let's listen with fresh ears; listen with the realization that, while John describes the audience as tax collectors and sinners and Pharisees and scribes, it was most likely directed at the Scribes and Pharisees. So let's try to listen to it as new to our hearing and as his listeners would have heard it.
Genesis 15: 1-12; Philippians 3: 17-4:1; Luke 13: 31-35
March 17, 2019
Jim is a man in his late sixties. He still works hard at his job, and worries about the ebb and flow of money that comes in. It causes him to have many sleepless nights.
But what really causes Jim to worry is his grown daughter and her children. His daughter is in and out of drug treatment programs, and long ago she left her three children with Jim and his wife. Now that his wife has passed away, it’s only Jim. His daughter calls about twice a year. His daughter’s oldest girl, Sarah, is around sixteen…and she’s beginning to remind Jim of her mother.
One night, Sarah is about to leave the house on a date with her older boyfriend.
Jim and Sarah have been arguing again. And Jim has been worrying about her, not knowing exactly what to do. He would do anything for her…anything to keep her from winding up with the same problems as her mother.
Then, a car is honking its horn out front. Jim is slumped down in his chair, exhausted from a fourteen hour day. Before Sarah steps through the screen door, Jim says, “Remember—you must be home by 12 o’clock!” His granddaughter stops at the far end of the living room, turns, and says with a face that is half sneer, half smile, “You can't make me!!!” The screen door slams behind her and Jim knows she is right. He is powerless to make her do much of anything anymore.
How many of us have been in similar situations? Powerless to make our children toe the line? Or powerless to make our spouse act the way we think they should? Can we make our neighbors be quiet in the middle of the night? Park their cars in their garage instead of the front yard? Can we make others treat us with kindness or respect? There are many things we can't make others do.