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Monday, April 28, 2014

Emmaus Road

Robert Zund painted this famous picture of the Road to Emmaus in 1877.  I seen have reproductions hanging in churches and pastors studies more times than I can remember.  The painting is quite soothing, the two disciples walk along a wooded path while Christ walks between them.  Up in the right hand corner the clouds seem to give way to some blue sky as the light seems to be making inroads into the dark forest of trees to the left.   Of course the two disciples, Cleopas and his companion (could it be his wife?) are recipients of the greatest Bible Study ever given as Jesus opens their eyes to the scriptures.  Then of course they stop for the night and encourage Jesus to stay with them.  It is then that Christ is revealed in the breaking of the bread.

Many will pastors will preach about communion on this Sunday, that Jesus still meets us in the breaking of the bread.  That's a perfectly good approach and never a bad thing to lift up.  But I wonder if perhaps as important as this is the two disciples act of hospitality.  It is after all their hospitality to this stranger with whom they shared the road that leads directly to their realization that it is Jesus in their midst.  What if they hadn't asked him to stay; would they have just thought that this stranger was a great teacher, a curious fellow traveler, a rather learned Rabbi that they would soon forget?   Or can we also see in this story an echo of Matthew's reminder that we see and actually minister to Jesus when we are engaged in works of love and mercy even to the least of these? (Matthew 25.31-46)   Was the teaching that Jesus gave them on the road connected at all to their decision to extend hospitality to the stranger?  

Where do we expect to see Jesus?
 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Doubting Thomas or inept disciples.....

Traditionally the first Sunday after Easter, known as the Second Sunday of Easter, gives us the story of Thomas who has been given the unfortunate moniker of "Doubting Thomas."   While he is certainly stubborn, and perhaps even a bit suspicious of the claims being made about the resurrection, he is certainly not a doubter.  He is a seeker.  

But here's the rub, those disciples who were in the room a week earlier--when Thomas was out getting take out or whatever it was that took him away from the group--had been sent by Jesus to go and bring about belief.  In fact he even has breathed the Holy Spirit upon them in order to help them move forward with their mission. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."   But now, a week latter we find them in the same place!  We find them having moved not one iota since being 'sent.'  And in regards to being able to share the Good News of God....well they couldn't even convince Thomas, who should have been a pretty easy mark, as he had been with them throughout Jesus' ministry.


No, Sunday's reading is not about a man who doubts; but about the ineptness of the followers of Christ to do what they are told with an kind of proficiency.  The Good News is that the risen Christ comes back and is there to help those disciples with their appointed work.  Isn't that our good news as well?  That Christ continues to come in our midst, even when we are ineffective and seem to lack the ability--or perhaps the will--to be his people.   It is then, perhaps especially then, that Christ returns again, and again, and again, nurturing our faith and once again encouraging us to be about his business in the world.
Incredulity of Thomas, 1601, Caravaggio

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 50 days of celebration

Here it is Holy Tuesday (the Tuesday after Easter) and it already feels as if Easter and Holy Week are light years gone by.  The many things that were put on the back burner as we approached Easter have now reemerged and demand time and attention.  Summer seems to be on the distant horizon and my attention quickly moves away from the empty tomb to my weekly planner that is anything but empty---on the contrary filled to overflowing with things to do.

But Easter as a season is supposed to last 50 days.  50 days of celebrating that sin, death and the devil has been put on notice and that God's intent for the world is life here and now and in the world to come.   I'm going to try and find at least one way to celebrate this promise each and every day of Easter.  How about you?  We have kept the Lenten fast....how will we keep the Easter feast?   Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014