Jesus Christ, Superstar

Being prevented by a kidney stone from presiding (let alone attending) the Good Friday Proper Liturgy with the reading of St. John’s Passion, the Solemn Collects and the Veneration of the Cross, I decided to listen to Jesus Christ, Superstar. I remember our Nazarene pastor scandalizing the congregation by listening to this with the youth group — you know, rock and roll came pretty close to being the devil’s music back then. And while I still enjoy the music, and find that it holds up pretty well as a rock opera (may have to listen to Tommy next), I find I’m no longer impressed by the theology.

Firstly, it is colored Continue reading “Jesus Christ, Superstar”

Recognizing resurrection

31 March 2013
Easter Day
Easter C (RCL)
Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
John 20:1-18

One year, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, Vermont, I heard the bishop say, to open his Easter sermon, “Easter 1982 is not all that different from Easter 1981.” I don’t remember much else of the sermon. Preaching Easter presents a challenge. First, there are all of those folks one doesn’t normally see — how to speak to them in a single shot. Second, most folks have the dinner they will attend after service as much on their minds and any doctrine of the Church.

But, these readings have too much to say. Isaiah’s Continue reading “Recognizing resurrection”

Sweet smelling extravagance

17 March 2013
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Lent 5C (RCL)
Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8

We are drawing closer to Palm Sunday/Holy Week/Easter, and our readings bring us closer to the paschal mystery. The passage from Isaiah speaks of the new thing God is about to do. If you thought the Exodus was amazing, says the prophet, wait until you see the return from Exile. God will make a new heavens and a new earth, streams will flow in the desert, jackals and ostriches will honor God. God asks, “Do you not perceive it?” It would have been hard for the fractured little community in Exile to perceive God’s hand in anything. It was not a mighty group who returned from Exile, and they would need great faith to perceive in their circumstances God’s plan for a new universe.

Paul is also facing a bleak future. I believe Continue reading “Sweet smelling extravagance”

This brother of yours.

10 March 2013
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Lent 4C (RCL)

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

The fourth Sunday in Lent is often known as “refreshment Sunday,” a little vacation from Lent. In congregations that have eucharistic vestments in all the colors of the rainbow, rose is often worn on this Sunday, lending it the name “Rose Sunday.” The collect speaks of Jesus being the bread come down from heaven, by which we have life, by which we are refreshed. In some years, a passage from John 6 is assigned as the Gospel.

This year, we hear the reading of the prodigal son. I am convinced the story is as much about the older brother as about the younger. The first verses Continue reading “This brother of yours.”