Monthly Archives: March 2013

Spiritual Spin Sunday: Resurrection Day aka Easter

I am thankful for the Resurrection, which is the power of the Gospel. (1 Cor 15:13-15)

And continuing with the Holy Week comparisons, I’m thinking (Holy Coincidence, Batman!) that the Resurrection also occurred on the Feast of First Fruits. (1 Cor 15:20-23, )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyRBUOooH2k

He is risen, indeed!

Silent Saturday

I am thankful for silence. And this repost explains much better than I am able…

Silent and Empty

 Gordon Hempton is of the opinion that you can count on one hand the places in the United States where you can sit for twenty minutes without hearing a generator, a plane, or some other mechanized sound. (His estimation is all the more dreary for Europe.) As an audio ecologist, Hempton has traveled the world for more than twenty-five years searching for silence, measuring the decibels in hundreds of places, and recording the sharp decline of the sounds of nature. ”I don’t want the absence of sound,” he tells one interviewer of his search. “I want the absence of noise.”  Adding, “Listening is worship.”(1)
For the Christian church, Holy Week begins a time of silence, a week of sitting in the dark with the jarring events from the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to the march of Christ to the grave. Holy Week moves the world through the shouts of Palm Sunday to the empty space of Holy Saturday. Though the Christian story clearly and loudly ends on the note of triumph and resurrection, there is a great silence in between, a great darkness the church curiously believes it is necessary to sit with. 
Writing of Holy Saturday, the day most marked with this silence, theology professor Alan Lewis says of the Christian story: ”Ironically, the center of the drama itself is an empty space. All the action and emotion, it seems, belong to two days only: despair and joy, dark and light, defeat and victory, the end and the beginning, evenly distributed in vivid contrast between what humanity did to Jesus on the first day and what God did for him on the third… [Yet] between the crucifying and the raising there is interposed a brief, inert void: a nonevent surely—only a time of waiting in which nothing of significance occurs and of which there is little to be said. It is rare to hear a sermon about Easter Saturday; for much of Christian history the day has found no place in liturgy and worship it could call its own.”(2)
 Perhaps this is because the world is generally uncomfortable with silence, uncomforted by waiting. And who can understand a messiah who stands at the crossroads of an identity as a deliverer, a political hero who could fight with force for our salvation and that of a servant, a messiah who chooses intentional suffering, who chooses to walk us through darkness on the way to redemption. If Holy Week is filled with events that silence all in disbelief, Holy Saturday levels us with the silence and emptiness that is the end of God. 
Yet Holy Week attempts to prepare the world precisely for this silence. For certainly, here, after the end of God on Easter Saturday, we find not only the absence of sound, the absence of noise, but a vision of the world’s end—tipping the scales to despair and doubt, giving into suspicions that history is meaningless, evil in control, and our futures perilous. Such silence is one in which some can only manage a redirected cry for “Hosanna,” a reiterating of the lighthearted cheers of Palm Sunday, a desperate prayer for a Messiah to save us now, to deliver us from this evil and emptiness, from our suspicions and fear. 
Such is indeed the cry of the Christian. 
Professor and psychologist James Loder tells of the case of Willa, a young adult who was hospitalized and classified as schizophrenic of an undifferentiated type. She was born into a home where she was unwanted and abused. She was a bright child, but everyone took advantage of her such that she grew up with no sense of boundary or healthy relationships. Tragically, the very individuals who pledged to help her also became stories of abuse in her life. She was in the second year of graduate school when she finally broke down and could not finish her examinations. 
In the hospital, she sat for hours rocking her doll and staring into space. The head nurse on the floor told Dr. Loder that they expected Willa would never leave the hospital. One day, however, while she was sitting in her chair, someone came up behind her, put arms around her and said, “The silence is not empty; there is purpose for your life.” She turned around, but there was no one there. The power of that experience began to build sanity, and to distinguish illusion from reality. While no one thought she would ever leave the hospital, she was released after three weeks. She was eventually baptized and returned to the profession for which she was training. Commenting on this encounter with God in the silence when all else seems lost, Loder writes: “The intimacy of the Spirit runs deeper than family violence and neglect, and has immense restorative power.”(3) The intimacy of God—even unto death—runs deeper than silence. 
This is the story Holy Week sets before the world this week. There is much to listen for in between the crucifying and the raising. There is always much silence and darkness to sit with, but we are amiss to call it empty. 
Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. 
(1) Diane Daniel, “Listening is worship,” Ode Magazine, July 2008.
(2) Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection:  A Theology of Holy Saturday (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 1.
(3) Story as told by James Loder, The Logic of the Spirit (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998), 264-265.

 

Foodie Friday: Bread of Heaven, Paschal Lamb.

I am thankful for the Passion of my Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

So how’s this a Foodie Friday entry? Other than being (Good) Friday? Glad you asked. During His Last Supper, which was a Seder imVho, He referred to Himself as the Bread of Heaven.

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 ESV

See also: John 6:22-59.

And since this was a Seder, celebrating Passover, there is the Paschal Lamb. The Korban Pesach, which in the TaNaKh (so called Old Testament) provided an atonement for Israel. The Letter to the Hebrews shows that for the Believer, Jesus is the Perfect Lamb, Who, as John The Baptist rightly noted, takes away the sin of the world.

 

Thoughtful Thursdays: the Last Supper…Seder

animated_thinking_cap

I am thankful for the ability to ponder. To thoughtfully consider. To “split infinitives” as I please. To think. I think…

Thoughtful Thursdays are one opportunity for me to share and showcase some of the ideas, sayings, proverbs, quotations and cliches that inspire and motivate me.

Specifically today, I am thankful for the Seder meal, especially as understood from a Messianic perspective. I understand that there are many dissenting viewpoints, and not all of them are Jewish. Be that as it may, this is what I believe.

While there are challenges in pinning exact timelines down, the parallels between the accounts of the Last Supper and Passover are too numerous to ignore. As mentioned earlier, the Gospel writers had an agenda and satisfying our demands for every historical tidbit just wasn’t on their to do list. That’s OK. There is evidence aplenty and more than enough reasonable ideas to explain so called problems or alleged contradictions. Not my purpose to do full bore apologetics here. Simply to state that I find the aforementioned parallels to be tremendously inspirational and uplifting during this liturgical season.

It is especially important, imVho, to recall these things, as Paul urges us in 1 Co 11, when we as Believers celebrate Communion.

BTW, I am thankful for the inspiration this event gave DaVinci for the incredible art shown above. Just wish he hadn’t used an experimental fresco technique…

Spring Cleaning

I am thankful for Passion Week/Passover preparations. One of the preparations is the removal of leaven. Generally in Scripture, leaven is a symbol for sin. Probably a good idea all around, getting rid of habits that drag you down and (eventually) cause you major trouble.

In Passion Week, this would correspond to the time Jesus went into the Temple and doing a bit of “Spring Cleaning.” cf: Matthew 21:12–13Mark 11:15–17Luke 19:45–46John 2:13–16). 

Jesus refers to the Temple as His house, so He would be required to clean it prior to Passover, yes? There are those who believe that He cleaned out the Temple on at least two different occasions, and I can go with that. I personally don’t see it as necessary to explain the so called contradiction between the Synoptic Gospel accounts (Mt, Mk, Lk) and John’s version (Jn). The different authors had different viewpoints, being different people, and more importantly, they had different reasons for writing and different audiences. I believe these differences are more than sufficient to account for the different descriptions and particulars that are brought forth. The Gospels are historically accurate, but they are not primarily histories. They very much have an agenda.

Sprinkles

I am thankful Kollagen® “sprinkles”. Again. Yet another toe wound. Yet another toe wound healing superbly because of the sprinkles. A tiny dab of first aid ointment so the sprinkles have something to stick to & cover with a 2×2 & tape.

Even my doctor was impressed with how clean it looked.

 

Musical Monday: Messiah

music I am thankful for Handel’s Messiah, which premiered in Dublin 13 April 1742, some 271 years ago.

Always appropriate for this time of year. imVho.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_(Handel)

The famous Hallelujah Chorus as performed:

From Andre Rieu’s “Live From Radio City Music Hall” in New York City 2004, with the Johann Strauss Orchestra and the Harlem Gospel Choir.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76RrdwElnTU