Easter’s Other Women

Luke 24:1-12 – Easter – for March 27, 2016

“It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles.” (Luke 24:10)

empty-tombEaster 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 Luke’s account of the empty tomb again. Was it for the hundredth or five hundredth time? I’ve studied it, analyzed it, de-Greeked it, and have dutifully compared different translations of the third Gospel’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, I’ve preached it honestly, preached it poorly, and—until this last week—would claim I knew the passage well.

There was no denying my surprise at the 10 times (in the Common English Bible version) Luke’s passage included the words “they” or “the women.” And I admit bewilderment at Luke’s solitary use of “the other women.”

According to Luke, the women visited the tomb after the crucifixion to care for his dead flesh with “fragrant spices.” They find the tomb has been opened. They enter that tomb. They can’t help but notice . . .

Where is Jesus? Continue reading →

The 3 Ps

Psalm 4 – The 3rd Sunday of Easter – for April 19, 2015

“Answer me when I cry out, my righteous God! Set me free from my troubles.” (Psalm 4:1)

A few weeks ago my wife and I brought home a new puppy . . .
A few weeks ago my wife and I brought home a new puppy . . .

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 trust—again, please again—in God’s love?

God (the psalmist believed), wonders when the people will choose the everlasting and steadfast Holy love instead of going “after lies.”

Here we are in the season after Easter, but I’m avoiding the well-trod verses that follow the empty tomb. This week’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 →

On Being Seen

Luke 24:13-35 – The 3rd Sunday of Easter – for Sunday, May 4, 2014

“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him…” (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 professor’s pity on those of us brave enough or naïve enough (or both) to consider ministry. In seminary, I often (desperately) flipped through a book’s pages until discovering a quote to satisfy the low bar of my needs for a paper on the beatitudes or Paul’s notion of justification by faith. Alas, the 21st century of googling has elevated me into the depths of being a slacker. I’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 something—anything, please—to bolster and boost my opinion.the-road-to-emmaus-daniel-bonnell

Have I lowered your opinion of me enough?

Even so, please join me on the road to Emmaus.

You know Emmaus, don’t you?

Of course you do. I assume many my blog’s treasured readers are primarily churchy, faithy and Christiany ministers. And those equally treasured readers that don’t professionally marry, bury and baptize are at least interested in the Bible. In religion. In God. In Jesus.

So I’m preaching to the proverbial choir when I ask if you know Emmaus. Luke’s author said the village was seven miles from Jerusalem, or—to hew closer to the ancient languages I (tried to) study in seminary—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.

How long does it take you to walk seven miles? Continue reading →