“The problem is, it’s all Good Friday and no Easter Sunday.”
This was a critique I recently heard someone offer on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, and I readily agreed with it. But I was struck by how applicable the observation was to Easter sermons in general. Pastors go into incredible detail describing the 39 lashes Jesus took on his back, his painful walk to Golgotha, the crown of thorns on his head, the nails in his hands and feet, the hours of breathless agony spent hanging on a roughly hewn cross–and, finally, the spear in his side. The Resurrection ends up almost as a footnote to all the blood and gore.
Nevermind that the Resurrection is what gives power and meaning to Christ’s crucifixion. Without it, Jesus is just another martyr and those 39 stripes heal no one.
However, what I love most about the Crucifixion story has nothing to do with the sufferings of Jesus and gets even less of a mention than the Resurrection.
For me, it’s all about the veil. Continue reading
It never fails. It seems I can’t go anywhere, Internet or otherwise, without hearing some sort of political remark–despite being almost two years removed from an election season. And 95% of the time, an argument ensues between two people about whom Jesus would vote for. The liberal person states that Jesus would certainly vote Democrat, the party that promotes social justice and seeks to aid the poor. The conservative, of course, says that Jesus would vote Republican, the party that touts family values, protects the unborn and encourages personal responsibility.
Countless blog posts (and their comment sections) have been dedicated to this topic. Writers going ’round and ’round about which political party, candidate and policy is most Christian. Pastors both fundamental and progressive taking to their pulpits to make their case for Jesus supporting their favorite legislation. It’s all so very…pointless.
Everyone engaged in these discussions has apparently forgotten one critical fact: Kings don’t vote. Continue reading
Yup, that’s right. I’m writing about suffering. Again. But with tomorrow being Palm Sunday and Easter right around the corner, it seems appropriate this time.
I’ve been meditating on the Book of Job lately. I mean, really turning it over in my head. We all know the story: Job was a really righteous man. To prove the depth of his devotion, God allowed Satan to destroy everything Job owned. Job continued to worship and, in the end, God blessed him with twice as much as he had before.
It’s a wonderful story, according to my faith tradition. Yeah, Job suffered. A lot. He lost everything. It was terrible. But then he got it all back in a double portion! Just for being faithful! Yay! Let’s celebrate God’s goodness!
I wish. Continue reading
Image from letthepreistsarise.com
When I was about 19 years old, God gave me a vision for a speaking and teaching ministry. I won’t go into the details of the vision here, but suffice to say it’s significant enough to get me choked up whenever I do share it. I knew at the time that said ministry would be a ways down the road for me, so I wasn’t anxious about it. I had a lot of growing still to do, and I was willing to wait for God’s timing.
In the past decade or so, God has given me small opportunities to share sermons and devotionals with groups of people. These special moments have stirred my soul and made me hungry for the bigger vision on the horizon. Still, it has felt like a distant thing…something much further than arm’s length away…
Until recently. Continue reading
Greetings, gentle readers. I hope this Lenten season finds you well.
I’m sure from the title, you have surmised what this post will address. After all, about 90% of my posts since November have had to do with my struggles with an old pain. And there seems to be no end to those insufferable (I mean, er…inspirational) Internet memes in my Facebook feed that constantly admonish me to just “forget it and let it all go.”
Well, you’d be wrong. :)
I was doing research for another topic the other day and stumbled across Philippians 3, where the Apostle Paul speaks about “forgetting what is behind.” And after reading what he wrote, I wondered for a second if he had utterly lost his mind and I had signed up for the wrong religion: Continue reading