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Showing posts from May, 2011

Ascended

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Ephesians 1:11-23

The Ascension is another one of those stories which pose problems for Christian believers. Set aside the supernatural, set aside the speculations about where Jesus went or where heaven is located, and go straight to the heart of the matter. Jesus' disciples are again left alone. How is Jesus present among us, and what are we to do, when he is so obviously, so scripturally, GONE?

The popularity of this image in the church may certainly be attributed to the proclamation of Jesus as ruler in the heavens, and in anticipation of the way believers hope to rise up with him in the afterlife. But perhaps it also speaks to the attempts to hold onto, to keep connected to this beloved one who is not directly present with us. I cannot help but remember our visits to my grandfather and the way, just prior to climbing in the car to travel home, the whole family would gather for photographs, the last remembrance for another year - or perhaps forever.

The letter to the Ephesians dat…

District 31-33 map

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There may be an official map out there somewhere, but here is the first unofficial map of the new boundaries between NJ legislative districts 31 and 33.

It is compiled from the Reapportionment Commission's list of local electoral districts checked against Jersey City ward maps. Click on the map for a larger version.

A bad end

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It is reported that Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. military action.

This man is responsible for the death of thousands, and the reactions to his actions have killed many thousands more. NBC News is calling it “breathtaking.” 9/11/01 and its many victims took my breath away; this does not.

Many will celebrate; I cannot. If any deserve death for their crimes, Osama bin Laden surely did. I have suffered with my neighbors. I have walked through the ruins he made. I have cared for the remains of his victims, and grieved with those who survived his attacks. Let the names of his victims be remembered. Let their lives be lifted up.

I am glad Osama bin Laden no longer has the ability to do harm. His life has been soaked in blood. Yet I am sorry to see his end come in still more violence. Despite all its complications, I wish he could have had the trial we – the civilized world – so richly deserved.

But that is apparently done. There will be a parade of images, his body will be display…

The Story of the Easter Egg

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The Eastern Church has preserved a very different portrait of Mary Magdalene than the ideas about her that predominated for centuries in the Western Church, where she has been conflated and confused with the nameless “woman of the city” who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears (among others). The Eastern Church remembers her as a cultured and intelligent woman, the daughter of a well-to-do merchant family from the seaport town of Magdala. This is what gave her the resources and influence to support Jesus in his ministry. Because Jesus appeared first to her in resurrected form, and commissioned her to go tell the rest of the disciples this amazing good news, she is honored with the title: “Apostle to the Apostles” and “First Apostle” – the word “apostle” meaning: “One who is sent.”

After the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the early Christian community, Mary Magdalene traveled with John to preach and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Her ability made her a leader in the early…