Archive for March, 2021

Palm Sunday Reflection 3-28-2021

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

What does it mean, this good, kind loving young man,-barely in his
thirties- dying for no crime at all. What does it mean and what is it for?
What it means is that God loves us so much that God will withhold
from us absolutely nothing – not even God’s own dear Son. What it
means is that no matter what, God will always be there for us, with All
God’s love and power, comfort and grace.
There are no limits to God’s commitment to us, none at all.
Through this terrible moment in Jesus’ life. God’s saying, “You can
count on me. I’ll never desert you, and there’s nothing I won’t give you,
not even my Son.”
This Passion Sunday is, in one way, a very sad day. Walking with
Jesus on this day can break your heart. But it’s also the brightest of days,
because it tells how very much we are loved, and because it reminds us
who view it from the vantage point of the resurrection that, despite all
appearances, failure, death, rejection, ALL WILL BE WELL

Death before Birthday Cake 3-21-2021

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

In a Peanuts episode, Linus enters to find his older and perpetually crabby
sister Lucy crying bitterly.
“Mom promised me a birthday party and now she says I can’t have one,” Lucy
wails.
Linus, in his quiet, wise way, offers this advice: “You’re not using the right
strategy. Why not go up to Mom and say to her, ‘I’m sorry, dear mother, I admit I
have been bad. You were right to cancel my party. But from now on I will try to
be good.”
Lucy thinks about it. She prepares her speech for her mother. Then she
thinks about it some more. Finally, in the last panel, the stubborn Lucy cries, “I’d
rather die!”
Lucy cannot bring herself to embrace the faith of the Gospel grain of wheat.
To transform our lives in order to become the people we are meant to be begins by
dying to our own self-centeredness and obtuseness to the needs of others. Today’s
Gospel asks us what values and purposes do we want to center our lives on in
order to make them what we pray they will be; what we are willing to let “die” in
our lives in order that what we seek in the depths of our hearts “to live” might
grow and blossom; what we will put aside and bury in order that the justice and
peace of God may be established here and now. Jesus readily acknowledges that
such change is hard; the struggle to change is, in its own way, an experience of
dying—but such transformation can be an experience of resurrection, as well. The
Gospel of the grain of wheat is Christ’s assurance of the great things we can do and the powerful works we can accomplish by dying to self and rising to the love
and compassion of Jesus, the Servant Redeemer

We are all Nicodemus 3-14-2021

Friday, March 12th, 2021

Nicodemus is one of us. This Jesus has struck a nerve in this
teacher and “ruler” of the Jewish establishment. He has questions – but,
given his position, he has to stay under the radar, so he comes to meet
Jesus privately, late at night.
Jesus talks about God in ways that Nicodemus has never thought
of: a God of compassion rather than a God of order and law; a God of
forgiveness rather than a God of condemnation; a God of light who
illuminates the darkness; a God who constantly calls us back to him; a
God who is Father of all.
Nicodemus’ reaction to all of this is not recorded – but something
clicks. When the Jewish council plots to condemn Jesus, Nicodemus
will protest and defend Jesus; on Good Friday, when the body of Jesus is
taken down from the cross, Nicodemus will be there, with myrrh and
aloes (not an inexpensive contribution) to bury Jesus.
Slowly, Nicodemus moves from the edge of faith to the center
where the Spirit of God dwells. For Nicodemus, Jesus’ image of God is no longer just an ideal but a powerful sign of compassion and mercy
dwelling in our midst.
Nicodemus struggles with Jesus – as we all do. But he possesses
the grace of an open heart and mind and so comes to find God. He seeks
God – and finds God. And so can we.
We are all Nicodemus: We struggle to make sense of Jesus; we
wrestle with trying to reconcile his Gospel with the demands of our
world. In his questioning and confusion, in his fears and doubts,
Nicodemus is welcomed by Jesus with understanding and compassion.
Like Nicodemus, we are all seekers and Christ has assured us of his
company on our journey; like Nicodemus, we find ourselves coming to
Jesus in the middle of our darkest nights, seeking hope and consolation,
direction and comfort – and Jesus neither rejects us nor admonishes us,
but welcomes us. We discover the God that Nicodemus discovers: a
God of light who transforms our despair into hope; a God of wisdom
who enables us to re-create our Good Friday deaths into Easter
resurrections; a God of compassion who heals our broken spirits into hearts made whole. We are all Nicodemus. Amen