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Showing posts from March, 2018

What about my friend? (Ask a Pastor)

Dear Pastor- I like to go to church on Easter. I can't get there all the time, but Easter means something to me. I also have a beloved who isn't really churchy. I feel torn between spending time with my beloved on Easter morning or going to church. What should I do?  Sincerely- A Few Times a Year is Better Than No Times.

Dear AFTAYIBTNT,  Thank you for writing. I'm always glad to see you whenever you come. God sees you all the time.  I appreciate your dilemma for Easter. I hear you saying that resurrection celebration is meaningful to you, but that the leisure time or the opportunity to start traditions with your beloved is also important. Both of those things are part of the Spirit's presence in your life.  First, I encourage you to be true to yourself. Do not do something or make a choice, in the expectation that your beloved will reward the behavior or love you more. That kind of expectation isn't fair to anyone.  If attending a service is important to you, own …

Good Friday (3/30)

MARK 14:66-72 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Where have I denied Jesus? 
Have I dismissed cries for racial justice, arguing about bootstraps and the swea…

Holy Thursday (3/29)

MARK 14:43-65 Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; andhim there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
with
Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” All of them deserted him and fled.
A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
They took Jesus to the high priest; and …

Holy Wednesday (3/28)

MARK 14:32-42: They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.  And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, “Are you…

Holy Tuesday (3/27/18)

MARK 14:16-31: So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?”He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.Truly I tell you, I wil…

Holy Monday (3/26/18)

Jesus and Stage 4 Faith

Scripture Passage: Matthew 15:21-28

Most, if not all, 12-step recovery groups use the Serenity Prayer during a meeting. In many cases, the prayer is said at the beginning of the meeting and again at the end. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It is interesting that people who have hit a wall in their lives- in their addiction or relationship with an addicted person- implore God for these things. Within the prayer, there is no “if it is your will, Lord” or “Please, God” or even “If you do this, Almighty One, I will do…” That last phrase is particularly important. It is impossible to achieve a sense of serenity, that is God’s alone to grant, if you are still trying to control things in around you- including God. And many, many people try to control God with their behavior- if I pray in exactly the right way, if we complete our sacraments or sacramental rituals in exactly the ri…