23 April 2017
Second Sunday of Easter
Easter 2A (RCL)
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Psalm 16
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

Thomas gets a bad rap. He doesn’t doubt; he refuses to believe, or to trust. The Greek is quite emphatic. I would translate his line, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hand and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will never, ever believe.” And when Jesus shows up and shows him his hands and his side, he say to him, “Do not be untrusty, but trusty.” It’s a very far stretch to translate Jesus’ line as “Do not doubt, but believe.” The word pistos in Greek can really only mean trusty. Continue reading “Doubt?”

Glory revealed

16 April 2017
Easter Sunday
Principle Service
Year A (RCL)
Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-18

It always amuses me that, in John’s Gospel, Jesus’ male disciples get into a foot race to the tomb and remember which one won the race. John is careful to tell us that they did not yet understand that Jesus must rise from the dead. As readers of the Gospel, we know something new is happening, because of the contrast with Lazarus’ “resurrection.” Jesus grave clothes are neatly folded up, and the linen that had been over his face is folded up off to the side. Lazarus, the dead man, had emerged from the tomb, still wrapped in his windings and with his face still covered. Continue reading “Glory revealed”

What divine life looks like

9 April 2017
Sunday of the Passion:
Palm Sunday
Year A (RCL)
Matthew 21:1-11

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 26:14 – 27:66

The story of Jesus’ passion (as related in the Synoptic Gospels) takes a political tragedy and turns it into a theological triumph. Burton Mack, in A Myth of Innocence, identifies Mark’s composition of the Passion Narrative as a combination of the Greek martyr myth (the philosopher dies bravely for the cause) and the Jewish epic of the suffering righteous one, or the Wisdom tale, in which the righteous sufferer is finally vindicated by God (the story of Joseph in Egypt is a good example). Others (for example Helmut Koester) have found in the Passion Narrative echoes of a street theatre presentation of the Triumph of a victorious general (or imperator, Caesar). Continue reading “What divine life looks like”