Holy Week

JESUS: New, by Mark G. Boyer

April 23, 2017

  Scripture:I, John, saw a new Heaven and a new Earth; for the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, I am making all things new.  Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” (Revelation 21:1, 3a, 5a, 7)   Reflection: Once all is left behind, newness is experienced.  However, a person cannot have the new until the old is abandoned.  The first Heaven and the first Earth must pass away.  The chaos of the sea must be replaced by a new order.  God is the God of this new order, and those who have left all behind are his children.  They have conquered their fear and been [...]

JESUS: Word Doers, by Mark G. Boyer

April 18, 2017

  Scripture: Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.  For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. (James 1:22-24)   Reflection: Listening and believing, one aspect of a spirituality of mission, includes acting on – in the word of the letter of James, “doing” – the word.  The letter of James addresses Jewish Christians in the late first century CE.  James, in contrast to Paul’s position on works, advocates the practice or living of the word heard.  From James’s point of view, if a person hears the word and doesn’t [...]

JESUS: Speaking Words Of God, by Mark G. Boyer

April 16, 2017

  Scripture:The one who comes from Heaven is above all.  He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony.  Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true.  He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:31c-34)   Reflection: Several times in John’s gospel the narrator of the events gets carried away and inserts his own reflections on an event.  After narrating the account about Jesus and John baptizing and John declaring Jesus to be greater than John, the writer records a reflection about the one – Jesus – who comes from the world above (where God lives) to the Earth (where people live) to testify to what he has [...]

ART: Window Eleven — Holy Saturday, by Michael Sullivan

April 15, 2017

From: Windows Into the Light O God, Creator of Heaven and Earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer) God, I don’t like to wait on you.  Too often, I prefer my own ways to yours and either stay stuck in darkness or afraid to consider new life because I can’t fathom turning things over to you.  Help me to let go and let you lead and guide, and through my own cross, may I too find my empty tomb.  Amen. Matthew 27:55-66 (Sealing the tomb) Many women were [...]

JESUS: Zechariah And Mary, by Mark G. Boyer

April 15, 2017

  Scripture:The angel said to Zechariah, “I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. (Luke 1:19, 13)     Reflection: The author of Luke’s gospel likes to narrate a story about a man and balance it with a story about a woman.  He begins this literary technique with the twin appearances of the angel Gabriel to a man named Zechariah and, six months later, to a woman named Mary.  Zechariah hears the word of God as Gabriel delivers it to him, but he does not believe that he and his aged wife, Elizabeth, can conceive a child.  So, because he did not believe Gabriel’s [...]

JESUS: Hear!, by Mark G. Boyer

April 14, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus said to those who were around him along with the twelve, “And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:10, 20)     Reflection: Once a person is called, he or she must hear the word of God.  As the Markan Jesus puts it, Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!  After telling the parable of the sower, Jesus interprets it, explaining that the sower “sows the word,” and those who hear the word produce amazingly.  In fact, the kingdom of God grows day by day in the lives of those who hear, according to the Markan Jesus. There is an aspect of trust that is involved in hearing.  Just like no one [...]

JESUS: Called By Lot, by Mark G. Boyer

April 13, 2017

  Scripture:Peter said to the believers, “One of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us – one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”  So they proposed two, Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.  Then they prayed.  And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:21-24, 26)   Reflection:The Acts of the Apostles is the companion volume to Luke’s gospel.  In other words, Luke’s gospel is the first volume of a two-volume work, and the Acts of the Apostles is [...]

JESUS: Tax Collector, by Mark G. Boyer

April 12, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them.  As he was walking along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.”  And he got up and followed him. (Mark 2:13-14)     Reflection: Besides the call narratives of Peter and Andrew and James and John, there is the call of of Levi, a very short story about a tax collector invited to follow Jesus.  The author of Matthew’s gospel alters the story he found in Mark’s gospel by omitting the detail of Jesus walking by the sea, changing the name of the tax collector from Levi to Matthew, and omitting his father’s name.  The author of Luke’s [...]

JESUS: Amazing Catch, by Mark G. Boyer

April 11, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore.  Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.  When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let dowm your nets for a catch.”  When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.  All who were with Simon were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.  Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” (Luke 5:3-4, 6, 9-10)   Reflection: The author of Luke’s gospel [...]

JESUS: Brothers, by Mark G. Boyer

April 10, 2017

  Scripture:As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”  Immediately they left their nets and followed him.  As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother, John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.  Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22)   Reflection: The above passage from Matthew’s gospel looks familiar because the author of Matthew’s gospel used Mark’s gospel as a source [...]

JESUS: Immediately, by Mark G. Boyer

April 9, 2017

  Scripture: As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  And immediately they left their nets and followed him.  As he went a little farther, he saw James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.  Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. (Mark 1:16-20)   Reflection: When Jesus calls his first disciples, they immediately respond.  Simon and Andrew immediately leave their nets and follow him.  James and John immediately leave their father and [...]

POETRY: Easter Vigil, by Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

March 26, 2016

From the church’s side door we follow the candle held aloft in the uncertain spring evening this dead time between death and birth, treading the pavement to the opened narthex door, the procession silent as dusk. Our tapers flare briefly as they steal flame, then settle into small, steady burns, each a puncture to the gathered darkness of the sanctuary. The human story—the rebellions, the redemptions—read in darkness, the light to some a present shimmer, to most a dim promise. And you, two brothers, sitting in the deepened shadows, not quite sure that this hushed service is really yours, knowing only that your time has almost come. When the congregation gathers at the font, you stand shifting your weight, ready now for drowning, [...]

POETRY: Six Holy Week Triolets, by L. N. Allen

March 26, 2016

Monday After he cursed the fig tree, it withered to its roots. Faith can throw mountains into the sea. After he cursed the fig tree he told his disciples Trust in me, pray, walk the path, preach the truth. After he cursed the fig tree it withered away to its roots. Tuesday Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies it remains just a single grain. Only the fallen and buried can rise. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies it cannot grow and multiply and it thirsts, although drowned in rain. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies it remains just a single grain. Wednesday Walk while you have the light so the darkness may not overtake you. Believe in the light. Walk while you have the light. Become children [...]

MEDITATIONS: The Faith in Four Days, by Martin Thornton

March 28, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent There are many ways of observing Holy Week, ancient and modern, traditional and experimental, all concluding with the tremendous impact of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Day.  An obvious and exciting thing about these four days is their distinction in message and devotional emphasis.  What is frequently brought out less clearly is the essential interrelation between them; to live through these four days is to cover the calendar, virtually to live through the creed. Maundy Thursday is basically the day of the eucharistic celebration, which word has its particular theological relevance.  For significantly, the sacraments are administered; only the Eucharist, in normal [...]