Today is, of course, Easter Sunday. I believe I could safely say that it is the greatest day in Christendom, a day of joy and celebration for those who call themselves followers of Jesus. Even for nominal Christians( whatever that means) and those who have no connection to church, it is often that one Sunday each year when they make their pilgrimage to church. I have often heard that practice described as people thinking they are doing God a favor by dropping by.
Thanks to the wonders of technology I knowe that I have one of my children and her family attended Easter services today and had quite a good experience and another made it to their first Easter Sunrise service and also had good experience, I know, without officially knowing, that almost all and probably all of my extended family ( sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law,etc) attended church today, the churches they attend on a regular basis.
So,who am I leaving out in the above description? Alas, that would be yours truly. Yep, I had every intention of going today. I wasnt going to make the sunrise service since that would have required a 5:00 am wake up call. But the church we started attending recently offered several options left no good excuse. Sad to say, I still did not make it. The day that is most glorious and offers us hope beyond measure became a day in which I did not take part. Somewhat ironically even technology failed me. I found ” our” services online streaming live. So at least I would be able to take part to some extent. But, alas, my computer chose to show its unseemly self and froze twice during the broadcast, leaving me bereft of that option as well. All of this is certain to leave one at a loss. Next Sunday will not be Easter and the atmosphere will be different but once again I will have the opportunity to join a community of faith. It isn’t actually a ” do-over” but it is still awonderful opportunity to have. After all, if we sing the Don Francisco song, “He’s Alive” today, it will be no less true next Sunday.
- Christians celebrate Easter in Jerusalem (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Never been to Gainesville,Fl before although I have been nearby. I also have never met Pastor Terry Jones who leads a small church of about 50 folks named the Dove Outreach Center. Remarkably, Jones has managed to make himself notorious on an international level, quite a feat in itself. He has received a number of death threats and has started carrying a gun himself. So, what has this heretofore unknown person done to draw attention from Gen David Petraeus, Hilary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Eric Holder , Rush Limbaugh, ( who appropriately calls him a lunatic) Robert Gates, Angelina Jolie and countless unnamed but now angry Muslims worldwide?
He has for some inexplicable reason announced a plan to burn many copies of the Koran on of all days, 9/11/2010. How many copies seems to depend on how many gullible people send them to him. That is by far the easier of the questions involved. Based on some earlier actions, Jones seems to think that Islam is evil. I will agree that there are followers of Islam have done some evil things and alas if his plan goes through they will probably do more of those things. ( Gen Petraeus is quite concerned about that.)
I have given a lot of thought about why Jones is doing this. Publicity, notoriety, name recognition ? He has gotten all of those to be sure. But , assuming he is a legitimate Christian minister, which I have no reason to doubt, what is doing for the furtherance of his ministry or for the “image” of Christianity or for that matter his native country. Oh, just a qualifier. He actually has the right to do this but for me it’s one of those “rights” that just because one has it, one does not need to exercise it.
Cannot imagine the potential damage he can carry out, unless by some miracle he chooses to call a halt to the event. At this point, that looks unlikely.
Some words from a song came to mind today that at least from a Christian perspective define my feelings quite well. The artist is Wayne Watson and the song came from his 1988 album The Fine Line. The title is “That’s Not Jesus.” I will just relate a line or two that seems to fit what is happening with pastor Terry Jones.
- That’s not Jesus, he doesn’t carry on that way,
- Just some flesh and blood like you and me
- Somehow gone astray
- That’s not Jesus, no matter what they say
- He doesn’t need us to defend him
- He just wants us to obey
Shalom and amen
Related Articles :
- Petraeus: Quran Burning Threatens Troops, Afghan Effort (israelnationalnews.com)
These were, in essence, the closing words from the 1977 made for television movie, Jesus of Nazareth. Having seen it a number of times in its entirety, and the resurrection section even more often, I still consider the best video presentation of the life of Jesus.
The production was directed by Franco Zeffirilli and starred Robert Powell as Jesus along with other more notable actors such as Olivia Hussey( Mary) Ernest Borgnine, Anne Bancroft, James Earl Jones, Rod Steiger ( a great Pontius Pilate) and Michael York ( John the Baptist) among others.
It was a two-part series that was annually aired every Easter for a number of years. I appreciated the reverence with which it was done as well as its faithfulness to the biblical record.
A number of things intrigued me but I will for obvious reasons focus on the resurrection section. It was almost underplayed, nothing flashy or dramatic, just an empty tomb with , a bit incongruously, an angel with an English giving the miraculous , unbelievable biblical quote ”Why do you seek the living among the dead? Jesus is not here. And the dramatic footage of an empty tome holding abandoned grave-clothes. The scene always spoke volumes to me. ( Had a kind of Jack Webb quality, just the facts)
But now the title quote. It was spoken by an extrabiblical character,an official of the Jewish temple. It was made in response to the reports that Jesus was not in the tomb. As best I remember, his character was a skeptic, but all the same, he knew something earthshaking had happened and things would never be the same.
His statement is not a bad response to the sermon title I saw this week on a local church sign, ” What does Easter mean to you? ” Yep, and so it began and so it continues today!
Had to step away from the health care fiasco for a bit although I guess this may end up being related somehow or the other. One of my fellow bloggers did a great job raising issues and points of concern of which you may be unaware. So check out warrantonegirl for some good info.
Back to our regularly scheduled blog. For the uninitiated, the title refers to cemeteries. I had not heard the term until a co-worker identified where he lived as being across the street from the boneyard. Rather apt term, come to think of it. I actually grew up just a block or two from our local boneyard in Eden, nee Leaksville, NC. The name is Lawson Cemetery, the name of the street on which I lived.
I know very little about the place other than it has always been there( since 1843 I learned) and it was the final earthly resting place for both of my parents. I was always intrigued by the place as a child with all the different tombstones and grave markers and how old I thought they were, little did I know how true that was.
So why boneyards? I suppose with the onset of spring and the approach of Easter I have ben thinking about such issues. I typically read and re-read the Gospel narratives (Matthew,Mark,Luke and John) about Passion Week that of course culminates in Jesus resurrection. There will be a time a bit later for more about that subject.
But, strictly from a boneyard aspect, I remember teaching a high school age Sunday School class many years ago on the above topic and discovering that in New Orleans and in Israel ( not sure where else) that people had to be buried above ground due to those areas being largely below sea level. Not sure if the class was as fascinated with that trivia as was I .
I have noticed since my arrival in the northeastern corridor of our state that not all boneyards are like that of my childhood. There is a plethora of small, family plots in some of the most unlikely places. Usually there are just a handful of graves, often barely marked and separated from a busy highway by virtually no barrier at all. But, ahh the history that lies in these small plots, gradually but inexorably fading away.
As Holy Week draws to a climax, today is the day the day that we call good. In reality, some 1950+ years ago in Jerusalem, unspeakably bad things took place.As I was reading about the Last Supper last night, the thought struck me about how long the original Good Friday was and all that took place. So much of the gospel narrative takes place during Holy Week and particularly on Friday. Beginning with Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane all the way through the crucifixion and burial, its far more involved and agonizing than an episode of 24 could aspire to be.
All four New Testament gospels do a great job of putting us right in the middle of the chaotic and brutal events that took place. I’m partial to Luke”s account, although I don’t really know why.
The scriptures do not mince words in their treatment of Jesus’ scourging and crucifixion yet in some ways the account is almost matter of fact with no attempt to sensationalize as would be the case in our day. Several things jump out to me as I’m sure they wold to anyone who reads the account with an open mind. I will mention just a few that are quite meaningful to me.
For the first one, I go back to the Old Testament; Isaiah 52:14b
” So his appearance was marred more than than any man“
What a striking statement to describe just the outward effects of Jesus” suffering.
Secondly, I look to Matthew 27:12-15 when Jesus was questioned by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. I can scarcely imagine the confusion and chaos and the violently raucous atmosphere that must have been present during this event. But yet under intense questioning by a very powerful political leader, he answered not a word as had been predicted many years previously. John19:11 amplifies this conversation so beautifully,when Jesus said ” You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above”. Perhaps the most poignant and certainly the most difficult for me to even begin to fathom when at 3:00 PM in the midst of crushing darkness, just before the end, scripture tells us that Jesus said these words.
“My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?’ It is said to be the time when the inexplicable relationship between God the Father and Jesus was broken as Jesus took on our sin. No, I cannot fathom it , nor come close to explaining it. Those much better versed theologically should make those efforts. I will borrow a line from a Darlene Zschech song that says:
‘” I ‘ll never know just what it cost to see my sin upon that cross”
And so Good Friday it was and is, not for Him, but for us.
It is a
I wasnt sure about doing this post so I ‘ll just sorta toss it out there and see . This week on two separate occasions two different Democrats made two essentially identical statements . These were the statements. Jesus was a community organizer just like Barack Obama and Pliate was a governor . The individuals were Donna Brazile , a party strategist ( part of the Clinton Admnistration as well ) and Steve Cohen, member of Congress from Tennessee . Now , there is a lot one could say but I’m gonna limit my comments just a bit . As an aside, I tried to email Representatice Cohen but he only accepts emails from Tennessee . I want to address the second comment first which ingeniously leaves lots of romm for interpretation . Was this a veiled reference to Sarah Palin, cant be positive but one can certailny draw conclusions from the context . A humorous thought , are they referring to the other 49 governors as well, many of which are Democrats ? . So, was Jesus a community organizer, dont think so by any stretch of the term but He really doesnt need me to defend Him, does He ? Obama supporters, support your guy, campaign for him, whatever but lose the exaggerated rhetoric. This doesnt endear you to evangelical voters and probably not to any other religious minded folks . If anyone from Mr Cohen’s district ( 9th district ) should prechance read this or if you have any Tennessee acquaintances ask them to contact the Congressman and ask what were you thinkin ?
Have you ever wondered why God chose to compare His children to sheep ? After all, sheep are not known to be the smartest or fastest or strongest of animals . One of the first superlatives that might come to mind is dumbest, although I am told the humble turkey can challenge for that title . Anyway, think about the frequency and prominence of sheep and shepherds in Scripture . Anon, we think of one of the greatest of chapters – Psalm 23 , the shepherds watching over their flocks in Luke 2, John 10 where Jesus describes Himself as the great shepherd , David , Israel’s greatest king . Jesus was Himself described as a sheep who is mute before its shearers . Even today as I was reading a novel , the narrator described sheep as having only two speeds, grazing and stampeding . I would like to go into more depth with these thoughts by looking at Psalm 23 and by a book written about that Psalm . It is entitled , A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 and was written by Philip Keller some 35 years ago and in my humble opinion a real jewel
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