Just Another Zombie Tale?

John 11:32-44 – The 23rd Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, November 1, 2015

“Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, ‘Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.’” (John 11:39)

The Raising of Lazarus - Caravaggio
The Raising of Lazarus – Caravaggio

When given the choice of movies with vampires, werewolves, or zombies, I’ll usually watch the living dead.

As a bright, insightful reader, you may wonder if referencing the zombie genre is my gimmicky way to muse about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

Of course it is!

In John’s Gospel, Jesus stands before the tomb of his friend Lazarus, now dead for four days. As most scholars and many Sunday school teachers know, the four days was critical. According to Rabbinic traditions, the dead were officially dead after the third day.

Thus, the crowd crowding Jesus had many reactions.

Lazarus might stink. Continue reading →

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In the Biz

Mark 10:46-52* – The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, October 25, 2015

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” (Mark 10:51)

BartI am Bartimaeus.

In the Bible, in the New Testament, in Mark, this blind beggar Bartimaeus was mentioned once. His encounter with the Nazarene was so brief, his shouts to gain Jesus’ attention likely still echoed after he scurried from the page.

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” he bellowed.

With him, I also cry out. I think I know who he is. I think I know what he wants.

In the seven sparse verses where Bartimaeus claimed and departed center stage, one word and one phrase suggest a compelling link between the two of us. Both word and phrase conclude sentences. Both challenge my daily experience as a Christian, minister, and writer. Continue reading →

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The 13th Disciple

Mark 10:35-45 – The 21st Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, October 18, 2015

“Allow one of us to sit on your right and the other on your left when you enter your glory.” (Mark 10:37)

number-13_2431820bEveryone heard James and John’s question. Though they would’ve denied it, they sought the favor from Jesus with their outdoor voices.

“Allow one of us to sit on your right and the other on your left when you enter your glory.”

You know what I mean. They didn’t whisper. They didn’t wait for a private moment. They didn’t rise early for a pre-dawn and private stroll with Jesus. James and John, together or apart, rarely cared who overheard them. Now, don’t get me wrong, those two brothers are good guys, and truly—truly—care about others. I’d go to hell and back with them. In fact, in following Jesus, it often seems like we’ve all walked into dangerous places, and have spoken words that put targets on our backs. I’ve seen how the Roman soldiers glare at us, wondering if we were threats. The Pharisees don’t hide their frowns, their dagger eyes searching for weaknesses in Jesus.

John and James are my friends. They are like brothers to me. Continue reading →

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