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Showing posts from February, 2010

We are witnesses

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Second Sunday of Easter
April 11, 2010

Acts 5:27-32&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Revelation 1:4-8
Psalm 118:14-29&nbsp &nbsp John 20:19-31

The story of Thomas is so compelling. It is almost impossible not to preach on this text. Virtually everyone has some struggle with believing things they have not seen. But the broad theme for the day is the confession of those who believe in Jesus. If anything, today’s lectionary texts emphasize first-hand testimony.

• John’s vision reveals Jesus Christ as the “faithful witness” to God’s dominion over death and all mortal powers (Rev 1:5, NRSV).
• The Psalmist praises God not in hope, but through experience: “The stone that the builders tossed aside has now become the most important stone. The LORD has done this, and it is amazing to us” (Ps 118:22-23, CEV).
• Bless Thomas, for when he sees, he believes and proclaims Jesus as Lord (John 20:28).

We know that faith is such a blessing, sometimes we forget the power that comes when we know …

The sacrament of ashes

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Ashes have traditionally been a sign of repentance and mourning. Ashes inherently represent the passing of something vital – a tree which once grew tall, a house destroyed by fire, all that is left of a corpse after the flesh has been burned away. Ashes from the burned palms of last year’s Palm Sunday carry the reminder that the grandiose hopes of triumphal parades can so easily turn to betrayal, persecution, and burial.

On Ash Wednesday, as people turn from their daily lives to observe the start of Lent, that season of penitence and preparation, the minister takes ashes, and draws the sign of the cross one forehead at a time, saying the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (evoking the story of humans' creation, Genesis 2:7).

It is always a bit amazing how many people are eager to receive ashes. You wouldn’t think that we need or are eager to hear reminders of mortality. After all, we get those all the time. Loved ones die. Our own bodies show signs of …

Judges 19 finally makes it to the Super Bowl

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Amazingly enough, this year there has been active commentary on the way Super Bowl ads portray women and male-female relations.

One of the ads from Bridgestone Tire has not been mentioned in this context, yet it provides a Biblical-themed assault on women.

In the ad, a car approaches a road blocked by a gang of men with a post-apocalyptic look. "Your Bridgestone tires or your life," the gang leader threatens. A scantily-dressed woman is pushed out of the car, which then turns tail and speeds away. The gang leader cries out "I said your life, not your wife!" The woman is left alone to confront the gang, disappointed that their prized plunder is lost, and only "the wife" is left behind.

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The ad is disgustingly reminiscent of one of the Biblical texts of terror, Judges 19. In this story, a Levite pushes his wife (or concubine) out the door, giving her over to a mob so that they will rape her instead of him.

Now the Bridgestone a…