May 31, 2005

Hey, where is everybody? :-)

May 29, 2005

See you later / C

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

.... love is shown in deeds.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, ... it remains with you, and will be in you.

... the holy spirit, or the "good spirit" as Ignatius would call it? For Ignatius, the feelings aroused by the good spirit (and also the bad spirit) help a person discern. The good spirit's advice brings "consolation" - feelings of peace, joy, and an increase of hope, faith and love.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

... but he will be "indwelling" rather than coming in the sense of "parousia", the second coming. Jesus keps telling the disciples he's leaving soon, and is trying to comfort them, but if I was one of them, I think I'd be worried, angry, hurt, and I'm not sure an amorphous advocate would takes his place for me.

May 28, 2005

If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments (John 14: 15-31)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?"

Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

"I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.

"Rise, let us be on our way."

May 27, 2005

Service, Cleansing, and Intimacy

The ideal of humbleness is expressed in selfless service. The ideal of service is expressed in humbleness. Jesus demonstrates this in the timeless tale of foot washing. In the same spirit of love and respect that he shows them, Jesus is inspiring his disciples to serve one another, and all people, regardless of their status or condition. This mirrors God – yes? God created the water in the well, the indwelling spirit within, bathing each of us with this Grace, even though we may not be aware of it, and regardless of our status, condition, or conviction. By washing the feet even of Judas whom Jesus seems to know will betray him, Jesus demonstrates how this ideal includes those that may seem like enemies – he serves and ministers to others without discriminating whether they are friends or foe.

When Peter objects to the washing, Jesus emphasizes the importance not just of physical cleansing, but also of spiritual cleansing. In this, Jesus suggests that we are not all spiritually clean. It would appear obvious that he is referring to Judas, predicting his betrayal, but I wondered further about what it means to be ‘spiritually clean’. I have been considering this phrase, and it seems to me that it has to do with being pure somehow, in having clean or clear vision, clean minds and hearts, and clean actions. Perhaps when we are spiritually clean we are clear windows to God: open, receptive, transparent, reflective of light, and when our feet are clean we travel a pure path – responsibly, in service to God by serving others.

Like Crystal, and like Simon Peter, I, too, could imagine my own resistance to having my body cleansed by Jesus – someone I admire so much. Indeed, this feels like tremendous intimacy, having Jesus this close to my body, touching me in ways I don’t let anyone else touch me. But as in the prayer Crystal posted, envisioning this intimacy with Jesus in this way allows him into our most personal zones, indeed further into our hearts.

May 24, 2005

Dirty Feet / C

When I took that online retreat, we were to imagine oursleves as disciples and contemplate Jesus washing our feet at the last supper. It was really hard for me to let him do that! There was a sample prayer at the site that sort of expresses how I felt about it ...

Please, Lord, not my feet! They are so smelly and dirty and my nails are ragged. I like to keep them hidden in my sandals, not exposed to anyone, especially you. But you are so gentle as you take my feet from where I have tucked them under my garment and wash them clean. The moment you bend deeply over my newly-washed feet and kiss them, I realize that the places where I can let you love me the most deeply are the places where I am embarrassed, the parts I want to hide from others, my weaknesses.

David on Foot Washing

How do we take such an overtly symbolic act as foot-washing and bring it into our faith lives?

Many churches make foot-washing a part of their Easter services in one way or another. I believe the Pope washes someone's feet once a year. Bury it in liturgy. Make it safe.

What it calls us too is servant leadership. What it calls us to is a servant church. Most of us don't want that even when we say we do.

Making yourself everyone else's servant works -- at least in theory -- if everyone else makes themselves your servant too. It leads to reciprocal service. The church or Quaker meeting becomes a kind of mutual aid society. I have seen that in moments of grace. A person sits in the pew sobbing and a stranger's arm reaches out in comfort. An envelope arrives in the mail with a cheque.

But sustained unreciprocated servanthood runs into problems. It creates expectations of service and the inequality becomes embedded. Resentment on the part of the servant. Or helping becomes more about meeting your own ego needs. Refusing help when it is offered or giving help when the recipient doesn't want it.

How to capture the best spiritual insights of a servant church without all the baggage and covert abuse? As the poet said, Aye, there's the rub.

May 23, 2005

Foot Washing (John 13:1-20)

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me."

Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"

Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, Not all of you are clean.

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-- and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9) I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me."

May 22, 2005


Just wanted to drop a message by -- thanking folks for their patience and their prayers -- especially as they didn't know what was going on. I'm still not sure I do.

In any event, my wife is out of work -- a week and a half after I started my new job and things were starting to look up. Time to fall back and punt as they say in football. Although the one time I drop kicked a foot ball it hit too high on my instep went straight up and came back down on my noggin. I hope the metaphor is kinder than the material reality.

I'll post the next scripture passage tomorrow, God willing.

marana tha

May 19, 2005

Just Stuff

I have a few personal things I need to take care of. Won't be around until after the weekend. Feel free to carry on without me.

If you're the intercessionary type -- you might remember my wife Colleen in your prayers. She's having a rough time and needs somebody around.

Crystal -- could you drop by Writers BBS and post something semi-provocative just to keep the forum going? Talk at ya soon.


May 17, 2005

Jesus' Teachings - Trinity / C

Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me ... I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.

Some people take this passage to mean Jesus is "the finger pointing at the moon, not the moon" but when I read it, I think of the trinity ... father, son and holy spirit - one person. Larry mentioned in his post that he doesn't pray to Jesus. I don't think I do that, exactly ... I pray through Jesus, to God, with the help of the holy spirit ... but mostly I just hang around with Jesus and talk to him, appreciating the differences between him and God, relying on the sameness of him and God.

There are some references to the trinity of persons in the NT ...

Matthew 28:19 - Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.

2 Corinthiians 13:13 - The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.

... but I think the crucial test of the trinity is in experience. God and his love for us might seem so mysterious and "other", except for Jesus ... God gave his love's expression a human body so we could experience it in ways that are familiar. Fr. Marsh once wrote on Trinity Sunday ...

We’ve all been raised to believe that God loves us but somehow we tend to believe that all the risk and all the feeling are on our side … that God is so big and self-sufficient that nothing we do can really make a difference to God—really hurt or really delight. But today’s feast says the opposite and invites us into its mystery. Have you ever loved someone so much that you feel you’ve lost your self to them? That all your future depends on them? That your heart wakes or breaks with theirs? If you’ve known that pain, that daring, that delight then know now that God looks upon you with just that kind of love ...

... thanks to Jesus, the moon.

Look into the heart

Jesus is inviting us to look straight into his heart, past his physcial form, past his personality and his earthly being, deep into the secret of what he truly is. When I look that deeply into the heart, I sense God, a living presence there. This is so difficult to describe, but this awareness is truly illuminating. Once this light is recognized , once one is awakened to it, a deep knowing occurs, and with it we cannot ‘remain in darkness' because this light is so penetrating.

It seems to me that many, even those who identify themselves as Christians, do not truly recognize this divine presence, this inward light. There were years when I knew nothing about it, even though others tried to tell me. This is no cause for shame. Jesus clearly tells us that this is not to be judged, for each awakens on their own timeframe. Jesus also states that we measure these words based on the truth spoken on his ‘last day.’ If these words ring true, then it is because they were divinely inspired. And to be of the divine, is to be not of this earth and physical plane, but of an eternal truth.

Servants or Friends (John 12:26)

This post is a week or so out of date. It relates to an earlier lesson, especially "Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him."

The interesting thing about this verse contains its relationship with 15:15 "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends;"

This is worth some meditation: am I his servant or his friend?

Jesus Teachings

Jesus' claims here don't seem all that straight forward to me. To claim as he is shown here: Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. is not to point the finger away from himself and towards God but to point to himself and say -- look here if you want to find God. In the religious context of his day -- surely that was a call for absolute obedience to him.

And he doesn't lay down the rules and regs here -- yes he will later. But this is not about -- do these things and you'll be in God's good books. There isn't a list of instructions. Procedures. Laws. Rules.

What counts is relationship. Jesus -- at least here -- calls us to a relational kind of spirituality. Reject me and reject life. Follow me and embrace life. We'll work out the details later.

May 15, 2005

Jesus' Teachings (John 12:44-50)

Then Jesus cried aloud:

Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.

May 12, 2005

Praise of Men and God

Here's the nitty gritty of the situation in Palestine and in ours today. Many or most of our actions are designed for one of the two things, seeking our community's approval or God's. The two may sometimes converge, but at other times there's a vast difference. He who best fits in is least able to pursue the strait and narrow path. Jesus dealt with this truth repeatedly: for example speaking about rich men he gave us the proverbial camel and eye of a needle. And again "ye cannot serve God and Mammon." And over and over!

We desire (maybe need) a community of those with like values because we need the praise of men as well as God's. But God calls us to grow beyond that need, to reach out to others, to all, to court hostility in order to be prophetic or to "speak truth to power" (a good Quaker term).


Once again the use of belief here connotes trusting yourself and choosing the Way Jesus has laid down for us, not believing a set of intellectual propositions.

Response to Jesus (John 12:37-43)

Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.

Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God

May 10, 2005

Foreknowledge of Christ

John presents us with a Christ who saw the cross as his destiny and who saw the glorification of God through that sacrifice. He knows he will be raised. For he sees his death glorifying God in the same way that the blind perosn's sighltless glorified God -- because God can overcome it. John also presents us with a Jesus who knows he is the Christ. Who takes on the label of messiah and the title Son of Man and lays claims to a connection with God that is complete and unequivocal.

This is a position embraced by orthodox Christianity but a position very hard to justify from the readings of the other three canonical gospels. There in Jesus the messiahhood of Jesus is hidden even from his closest disciples and Jesus' divinity if only fully revealed in his death and resurrection.

Where do I take this?

Personally I tend to follow Mark. Jesus never claimed to be divine or even the Christ. That he was and is I accept -- but accept that this belief evolved through prayer and reflection on the meaning of the passion and through the revelations given by the resurrected Lord.

For me John is reading the resurrection backwards into the earthly life to declare that what was hidden was always there.

But the task of believing is shaping us to God's purposes. You must make every effort to support your faith with goodness (2 Peter 1:5). How does believing Jesus was and is divine form the very foundation of the world make me a better person, a better Christian, a better agent for God's spirit on earth?

For me, paradoxically, it is the Markan Jesus who can do this. Mark gives us a Jesus in which the divine was present but hidden. And so presents us with a God who creates through self-emptying. We become more godly (God-like) not by becoming more powerful more glorious more more more. We become more God-like by setting aside ourselves for teh sake of others.

May 09, 2005

ad majorem Dei Gloriam / C

"I am troubled now."

... harks to the scene in the garden of Gethsemane in the other gospels where Jesus was troubled to the point of sweating blood.

"Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name."

... I don't think Jesus meant here that his purpose in coming here was to die but rather, his purpose was to glorify God. I read somewhere that the meaning of the expression "to glorigy" is "to reveal the hidden excellence and worth of ...". Jesus came here to show us what God is like, to reveal him to us. His death was the authentication of his message ... he held nothing back, so we would believe the truth.

May 08, 2005

“The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.”

Jesus forewarns of his impending ‘death’ by relating the metaphor of the grain of wheat; just as the grain of wheat dies in the field it also brings forth much fruit, as Jesus’ life and wisdom will following his own mortal death. I am so impressed by Jesus that rather than selfishly clinging to his life, attached to his body and his temporal existence, Jesus demonstrates fearlessly letting go of this life, sacrificing attachment to familiar comforts for the promise of eternal life. To serve the Spirit which is within Jesus, Jesus instructs us to follow his consciousness, where he will reside. I note that the man Jesus did have some trepidation, indicated by this statement: “Now my soul is troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour…” This sounds like the fear anybody might utter at such a time, however Jesus finishes his sentence by saying, “…but for this cause came I unto this hour, Father, glorify Thy name.” Again, Jesus shows us his great courage.

Jesus was indeed born for this moment. Dying in this sense is the ultimate ‘letting go’ of the world and of oneself in both the Buddhist and in the Christian sense. To me, this is a parallel process that we encounter when we ‘empty ourselves’, ‘make ourselves last’, ‘become as a child’, ‘take up the cross’, or ‘dying unto self’ as in dying to an old way of being and entering a new way of being. Buddhists might call this ‘liberation through enlightenment’ and a Christian might call it being ‘born again’ – not all that different a notion or experience. The outcome of this experience is great love and compassion in each tradition, in the likeness of both Christ and of Buddha. This is the wisdom teaching of both traditions, both so similar that unity can be found within. This speaks mightily to the presence of a greater spirit speaking almost identical words and life stories through Jesus and Gautama. These wisdom traditions are amazing in their similarities.

When Jesus asks that this hour be glorified, remarkably the disciples heard something, some holy vibration ring out from the heavens, be it thunder or the voice of angels. Jesus tells us that this voice is not because of him, but because the truth of his testimony was indeed inspired by God. This voice is soon to leave the man Jesus, as Jesus' body will die, and yet his consciousness will be lifted up to bear fruit in each of us just as the tiny grain of wheat exalts the miracle, the spirit, of God.

In 12:35, Jesus again uses that wonderful metaphor of walking in the light. Our spiritual path is illuminated by this wisdom. When we strive to be like the light of Jesus, when we believe in this Christ light that radiates God’s presence, we become like children of light, individual reflections of God’s radiance, like shafts of golden wheat.

Now My Soul is Troubled (John 12:27-36)

Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!

A voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.'

The crowd standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, 'It was an angel speaking to him.'

Jesus answered, 'It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours. 'Now sentence is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world is to be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.'

By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die. The crowd answered, 'The Law has taught us that the Christ will remain for ever. So how can you say, "The Son of man must be lifted up"? Who is this Son of man?'

Jesus then said: The light will be with you only a little longer now. Go on your way while you have the light, or darkness will overtake you, and nobody who walks in the dark knows where he is going. While you still have the light, believe in the light so that you may become children of light. Having said this, Jesus left them and was hidden from their sight.

Attachment/Detachment and the Contemplative Path

As per Larry's suggestion I have initiated a fresh post to continue the discussion on issue like the role of meditation and/or detachment in our faith lives. Also a place to talk about Buddhist/Christian similarities/contrasts.

Of course if folks have more more to say about such issues than a comment to this posting folks can post their own postings.

May 04, 2005

A blog worth lookin' up

The Good Raised Up: Quaker Ranter: an electronic ministry

Mayy 5th: Opps -- I menat to add this to my personal blog.

Wheaties / C

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.

... the NAB has an interesting point to make about the "losing one's life" phrase ... " His life: the Greek word psyche refers to a person's natural life. It does not mean soul, for Hebrew anthropology did not postulate body/soul dualism in the way that is familiar to us."

I'm very interested in this idea of self sacrifice to the death ... not a metaphorical death, not a "life transition" type of death, but the real physical death of all one is. That, I think, is the kind of loss of life Jesus is talking about here and it's the kind he experienced (though he rose again after). A scary thing to contemplate.

Also interesting that people put such emphasis on having souls and thinking that when they die, their souls will leave their bodies. From what I've read, (but please correct me if I'm wrong) there is no distinction in the bible between a person's body and his soul. The word soul means, often, the person ... example - John was a merry old soul. And for that matter, there seems to be evidence in the bible that all created theings have/are souls ... animals, plants, not just people. Sometimes the percieved lack of a soul is used as justification for the ok-ness of killing a person/animal .... something to think about.

The Donkey and the Crowd

Sharing insights from John Sanford's Mystical Christianity (pp 253-5):

The donkey is fraught with significance. Hark back to the story of Balaam's Ass (Numbers 22:22ff). Here we see a donkey with more sense than his master, especially spiritual perspicacity: the donkey saw the angel with a sword and turned aside in spite of Balaam's commands.

We can also read in Mark 1:13 that after 40 days in the wilderness "Jesus was ministered to by the angels and the wild animals".

But the real significance of the donkey is the political symbolism. Kings generally come on white horses; Jesus came on a donkey.
Jesus was likely familiar with Zechariah and understood that a military ruler would come on a horse, but a man of peace on a donkey.

In spite of this the crowd acclaimed him as the messiah who, they thought would restore the kingdom of David, the great military ruler. They soon saw that it wasn't going to happen.

Sanford pointed out that crowds have a mob consciouness: a few days later they shouted "crucify him". He also pointed out that this is the way the crowd deals with all leaders. "produce or it's your head". If the price of gas continues to rise, good luck to Bush.

Ministers know this phenominon: the people want something from him that he simply can't deliver; let's say free salvation. Eventually they will be frustrated with his leadership. Even a little discipleship of Jesus will lead to sharing his fate - in some degree.

Sanford pointed out that "Christianity was originally a religion rooted in the individual" but "the crowd emphasis has often taken its place." Crowds are subpersonal. God help us.

Unless a Seed Falls

unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest

This line is the hope for resurrection and for transformation. In faith all we really have to cling to are the metaphors. And this one is so very powerful for me. Possibly as I have been so very very needful of some fundamental changes in my life situation of late.

Our usual metaphor for moving on to the next life -- certainly in this culture -- is one of sloughing off the body and the spiritual best part rising up to heaven or wherever the next stage of existence is.

But the metaphor of a seed falling to earth is not one of leaving behind or of a more ephemeral life later on. It is one of more life. Abundance. Potential realized. Produce. Harvest.

unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies . . . Repeat the promise through clenched teeth if I must. But I repeat the promise.

It is hope made manifest.

Some Folks Ask to See Jesus (John 12:20-26)

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, 'Sir, we should like to see Jesus.' Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus.

Jesus replied to them: Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

May 03, 2005

Triumphant Entry (David's Comments)

All four gospels record this event -- which from an historical critical perspective lends a certain credibility to it -- or something very similar happening.

They differ in details: John has them waving their branches and Matthew has them throwing them down at his feet. Both Matthew and Luke have them throwing their cloaks down at his feet as well.

But they agree on two things:

He rod into Jerusalem on a colt -- in response to the oracle in Zechariah:
I shall stand guard before my home to defend it against all comers, and no oppressor will overrun them ever again, for now I am on the alert.

Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem! Look, your king is approaching, he is vindicated and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished. He will proclaim peace to the nations, his empire will stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the limits of the earth

Zechariah 9:8-10 (NRSV)

and they agree the crowds sing from Psalm 118:

We beg you, Yahweh, save us, we beg you, Yahweh, give us victory!
Blessed in the name of Yahweh is he who is coming!

earlier in the same Psalm we can read:

With Yahweh on my side as my help, I gloat over my enemies
it is better to take refuge in Yahweh than to rely on human beings;
better to take refuge in Yahweh than to rely on princes.
Nations were swarming around me,
in the name of Yahweh I cut them down;
they swarmed around me, pressing upon me,
in the name of Yahweh I cut them down.
They swarmed around me like bees, they flared up like a brushwood fire,
in the name of Yahweh I cut them down.

It seems clear to me these crowds were expecting a violent and conquering messiah -- someone to establish the reign of God with force but the gesture of Jesus proclaimed that the battle was already won -- and peace will reign.

Maran atha

May 02, 2005

Palm Sunday / C

This passage lets Jesus enjoy the welcome of the people who will, ironically, soon be calling for his crcifixion.

they took palm branches and went out to meet him,

... one of my favorite visual images. I really like the palm sunday service where we're given a palm frond.

"Fear no more, O daughter Zion; see, your king comes, seated upon an ass's colt."

... the NAB says he means colt as opposed to a conqueror's war horse.

So the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from death continued to testify. This was (also) why the crowd went to meet him, because they heard that he had done this sign.

... more stuff about the raising of Lazarus - it seems to figure very importantly, which is partly why I believe it did actually occur.

So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the whole world has gone after him."

... Pharisees - the ultimate party-poopers :-). The NAB says this line alludes to the universality of salvation.

May 01, 2005

Entry Into Jerusalem (John 12: 12-19)

The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,
even the King of Israel!"

And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass's colt!" His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.

The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him."

-- John 12: 12-19 (RSVP)