Holy Textures is a spot for my musings on the various Biblical texts that come our way through the Revised Common Lectionary.
My goal is to provide timely, short, easy to use and thought-provoking background commentary for your sermon or bible study preparation.
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Year B - Season of Lent and Holy Week - 2012
The 40 days of Lent actually do NOT include the Sundays. So the Sundays are referred to as being "in" Lent. For example, "Lent 2," means, "The second Sunday in Lent."
This means the Sundays are always a mini-celebration of the resurrection - even in Lent. So, while we are preparing ourselves for the walk to Jerusalem and all that will happen during Holy Week, there is no need to pretend that we don't know about, and are not already celebrating, Jesus' resurrection.
I've had the time to give a close reading of the Holy Week texts and background information. I come away even more amazed at the courage of Jesus to voluntarily face the torture and humiliation of Roman execution on a cross, in order to remain faithful to God's calling - God's purpose - for him: To proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
As usual with the Season of Lent, we get to spend time with the Gospel of John.
I like to think of John as like a good day at the spa: Soaking in the swirling eddies and quiet back pools of his repetitive, non-sequitor, images and stories.
John wants us to really SEE the life that is Jesus.
What could be more refreshing than that?
February 22, 2012
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
"Lent: The restraint that frees. Three practices to refresh our relationship with God: Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting."
February 26, 2012
""Believe in the good news" is better translated as "Trust into the good news," since the whole point is not, "Have an opinion about the good news." Rather, Jesus is calling for a radical, total, unqualified basing of one's life on his good news."
March 4, 2012
Mark 8:31-38, Alternate Reading A
"Just exactly how do we lose our life so that we get it back? The key is to not skip over the crucial qualification: "for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel.""
Sermon: "Take Up Your Cross."
Mark 9:2-9, Alternate Reading B
"The Transfiguration is an apt Preface to Lent and Jesus' journey to Jerusalem because what lies ahead is both a confrontation between the non-violent justice of the Kingdom of God and the violent injustice of the Roman Empire; as well as the non-violent way of the Beloved versus the hoped-for victory by the Messiah."
Sermon: "Farewell Tour."
March 11, 2012
"Just as Jews continue to read the Passover in the first person plural, present tense; I wonder how this passage would sound to us if we read this as Jesus' cleansing our places of worship today? Are there any habits we might have fallen into which are insulting God?"
Sermon: "Sabbath Time."
March 18, 2012
"No one is saved by intellectual agreement with a belief. Salvation is all about the restoration of broken relationships. Being saved means being restored to the proper bond and trust of true kinship with God."
Sermon: "The Light Shines In The Darkness."
March 25, 2012
"There is a deliberate pun in John about the "raising" of Jesus - on the cross, and from the grave. In the first, the rulers of this world are shown to powerless; in the second, death is shown to be powerless."
Sermon: "Written On Our Hearts."
April 1, 2012
Liturgy of the Palms:
Mark 11:1-11 , Alternate Reading A.
"The Bible doesn't tell us about Pilate parading in the main gate of Jerusalem, or what the crowd shouted, but you can bet it wasn't, "Blessed is the coming of the Kingdom of our ancestor David." That would be treason. And treason was punishable by? You guessed it, by execution on a cross."
John 12:12-16, Alternate Reading B.
"Sitting on the young donkey would signal to the crowds that Jesus would lead no riot; force was not in his repertory for the social change he had in mind."
Sermon: "Parades and Crosses."
Liturgy of the Passion:
Mark 14:1--15:47, Alternate Reading A.
Mark 15:1-39, (40-47), Alternate Reading B.
"Jesus' cry, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" is surely the most heart-rending - and dreaded - words in scripture. Heart-rending because of the pain of despair that has been added to the physical pain. Dreaded because one of our worst fears is that in our time of greatest need we will be abandoned and left alone."
Sermon "Parades and Crosses."
"Lazarus' presence with Jesus fills the room with the unfinished sentence: Just as Lazarus, the one whom Jesus loves, has been raised from the dead by Jesus, so will Jesus, the one whom God loves, be ... . Just how this sentence will be finished is exactly the fear - and the hope - that is in everyone's hearts."
"The hour has come. Our souls are troubled. Can they also remain loyal?"
"But that they don't understand when Jesus gives the dipped crust of bread to Judas and then says, 'Do quickly what you are going to do,' simply reveals that unlike Jesus they are not able to 'read the signs.'"
Holy Maundy Thursday
April 5, 2012
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
"Fortunately, this passage actually has TWO new commandments: 1) Love one another as I have loved you. And, 2) Forgive one another as I have forgiven you. Christ-like-love is the goal. Forgiveness is the salve that heals brokenness and makes love possible once again."
April 6, 2012
John 18:1 -- 19:42
"To outsiders, a battered and broken Jesus could no longer hold his head up and died in humiliation and defeat. But to those who believe into him, a true Son of God has completed his great work, and with a royal nod (and maybe a mischievous wink?) has passed on his Spirit so that we too might have life - the life that was in Jesus."
April 7, 2012
Matthew 27:57-66, Alternate Reading 1.
"And just in case we might think that later events were a hoax, Matthew relates that the Jerusalem authorities take steps to guard the tomb."
John 19:38-42, Alternate Reading 2.
"The crucial piece of background information is the belief that the flesh contained a person's evil deeds. And the year-long rotting of the flesh was a purging of these deeds, leaving the bones (which contained the personality of the person) ready to receive the new body fashioned by God at the resurrection. But the resurrection of Jesus on the third day will interrupt this process before it starts."