â€œIt was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles.â€ (Luke 24:10)
Easter has devolved into a slurry of candy bunnies, lilies with a shelf life at the supermarket, a little time off from work, and a tease for the looming, longer summer vacation. Eggs, real and plastic, are painted by the dozen, hidden, and hunted.
Where is Jesus?
That was also what they wanted to know at the first Easter.
I read Lukeâ€™s account of the empty tomb again. Was it for the hundredth or five hundredth time? Iâ€™ve studied it, analyzed it, de-Greeked it, and have dutifully compared different translations of the third Gospelâ€™s twenty-fourth chapter. Inside warm, cozy churches and outside at chilly sunrise services where plumes of breath appeared like smoke announcing a new pope, Iâ€™ve preached it honestly, preached it poorly, andâ€”until this last weekâ€”would claim I knew the passage well.
There was no denying my surprise at the 10 times (in the Common English Bible version) Lukeâ€™s passage included the words â€œtheyâ€ or â€œthe women.â€ And I admit bewilderment at Lukeâ€™s solitary use of â€œthe other women.â€
According to Luke, the women visited the tomb after the crucifixion to care for his dead flesh with â€œfragrant spices.â€ They find the tomb has been opened. They enter that tomb. They canâ€™t help but notice . . .
Psalm 4 – The 3rd Sunday of Easter – for April 19, 2015
â€œAnswer me when I cry out, my righteous God! Set me free from my troubles.â€ (Psalm 4:1)
Set me free from my troubles!
It is the plea of the psalmist.
Psalm 4 is brief, eight verses, a liturgical dialog between a worship leader and congregation, and also an imagined conversation between Creator and creation.
Will the people be faithful?
Will the Lord hear?
Will the people cease sinning, and trustâ€”again, please againâ€”in Godâ€™s love?
God (the psalmist believed), wonders when the people will choose the everlasting and steadfast Holy love instead of going â€œafter lies.â€
Here we are in the season after Easter, but Iâ€™m avoiding the well-trod verses that follow the empty tomb. This weekâ€™s Psalm lesson appealed to me simply for respite from the Gospels. Now, in these days and scriptures after the resurrection, Jesus was roaming free, with each Gospel depicting unique moments where the reality of the risen Jesus, and the impossible love of God, was revealed . . . again and again. Continue reading →
Luke 24:13-35 – The 3rd Sunday of Easter â€“ for Sunday, May 4, 2014
â€œThen their eyes were opened and they recognized himâ€¦â€ (Luke 24:31)
I stumbled through seminary in the midst of the 20th century, probably passing subjects like Ancient Greek and Old Testament Theology because of a professorâ€™s pity on those of us brave enough or naÃ¯ve enough (or both) to consider ministry. In seminary, I often (desperately) flipped through a bookâ€™s pages until discovering a quote to satisfy the low bar of my needs for a paper on the beatitudes or Paulâ€™s notion of justification by faith. Alas, the 21st century of googling has elevated me into the depths of being a slacker. Iâ€™m a copy-and-paste dude, a cherry-pick-the-Bible-verse guy and a search-for-the-selective-facts fella that quickly (desperately) seeks somethingâ€”anything, pleaseâ€”to bolster and boost my opinion.
Have I lowered your opinion of me enough?
Even so, please join me on the road to Emmaus.
You know Emmaus, donâ€™t you?
Of course you do. I assume many my blogâ€™s treasured readers are primarily churchy, faithy and Christiany ministers. And those equally treasured readers that donâ€™t professionally marry, bury and baptize are at least interested in the Bible. In religion. In God. In Jesus.
So Iâ€™m preaching to the proverbial choir when I ask if you know Emmaus. Lukeâ€™s author said the village was seven miles from Jerusalem, orâ€”to hew closer to the ancient languages I (tried to) study in seminaryâ€”Emmaus was 60 or so stadia from the City of David. In Greek measurements, a stadion is 600 feet. 60 stadia would be equivalent to 6.8 miles and modern Biblical translations round that up to seven miles.