About the Blogger
2010-03-23 by Rina Terry

Rev. Rina Terry is currently pastor of Cape May United Methodist Church in Cape May, New Jersey.  That's Exit Zero on the Garden State Parkway.  She is a published author and former college administrator.

She spent much of her clergy career as Supervisor of Relgious Services at Bayside State Prison, an adult male facility with a population of 2,400 men.

Jazz is Rev. Terry's primary spiritual discipline. 

Late at the Gate
2010-03-23 by Rina Terry


So sorry for my late start.  A stomach virus precludes blogging but is one of the hazards of being a frequent visitor to Nursing Homes and Hospitals.

Actually, maybe that is one of the crosses we "take up" and carry in service.  What, really, does any of us risk for the cause of the kingdom.  A 24-Hour Virus is hardly what Jesus faced as he entered the city.

 Have you considered this week the very different accounts in the gospels?  Leafy branches, cloaks, doneys and colts--and how in his Father's name did Jesus ride astride both animals at once as Matthew records?

The reactions of the crowd are different in each; what Jesus does next is different.  How will we interpret this for our people?  I guess we begin where the people who watched the processions began--who is this man and what is happening here? 

I'm especially intrigued by Jesus actions in Mark.  The parade's over, he goes into the temple, looks around and goes back to Bethany.  A bit like he is casing the joint. 

The anger must have been building in Jesus--yes, that good old human emotion anger--so he curses a tree that doesn't have fruit for him when he is hungry and then does his Rambo impersonation in the Temple. 

Was his goal to precipitate the actual conflict that would set things in motion toward his own crucifixion?  Was he just giving in to the anger that goes with being fully human?  Was the act premeditated?

Questions are good and I'm not certain we always are supposed to craft the answers for our homiletical hearers.  Perhaps, we are simply meant to goad them into engaging the story at a depth or from an angle that will fill them with questions. 

Mark says (at least in the NRSV he does) they want to kill him because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching (11:18b).  At this juncture, it isn't because he is calling himself God, it's because he is holding up "the law" to those who claim perfectly to follow it.  It seems possible then that we simply need to hold up the story to those who believe they know it and we may get dramatic results.

I pastor a church on an island at the tip of New Jersey.  The small town of few year-round residents has a major tourist industry.  It schedules loads of activities to entice folks to come outside of the Memorial Day to Labor Day season.  There are lots of parades.

 I've been thinking a great deal about this Parade.  As Borg and Crosson point out, Jesus procession came down the Mount of Olives into the city proclaiming the Kingdom of God while Pilate's procession from the opposite side of the city cam proclaiming the power of the empire.

So the conflict between the two kingdoms begins and we are meant to live into, walk with and preach the conflict, not avoid it. 

Last Day to vote on Seminarian Sermon
2010-03-22 by David Howell

Read the seminarian sermons on GoodPreacher.com and then vote for your favorite. A voting system is in place on GoodPreacher.com until March 22 (midnight) for GoodPreacher Seminarian Sermon Award. Each person should vote only one time. If more than one voting person is using the same IP address, the second person will have to wait 20 minutes to vote, etc

Use this link for voting:
GoodPreacher.com, or http://www.goodpreacher.com/shareit/voting.php (or go to www.GoodPreacher.com and then click on GoodPreacher Seminarian Award and then go to Last Page and to Vote For Your Favorite at the bottom).

Email office@goodpreacher.com for the code that you will need to enter before voting.

2010-03-19 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to Stephen Schuette for his post about living including meaningful relationships, and thanks to Guy Kent for his Einsteinian reflections. I, also, find that I have a richer, vaster understanding of God than I did even a few years ago. Often in the church we cling to old, brittle pictures of God when we are wise to go back to the ancient-new glimpses of God which are far larger and more multivalent.

I'm thinking about the perfume Mary pours on Jesus' feet and am wondering how we can do that.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Something Behind That Needle
2010-03-17 by Guy Kent

Isaiah 43: 16-21 - Psalm 126 - Philippians 3: 4b-14 - John 12: 1-8

Krista Tippett in her wonderful new book, Einstein’s God, quotes from his autobiographical notes published in 1949:

Why do we come, sometimes spontaneously, to wonder about something? I think that wondering to one’s self occurs when an experience conflicts with our fixed ways of seeing the world. I had one such experience of wondering when I was a child of four or five and my father showed me a compass. This needle behaved in such a determined way and did not fit into the usual explanation of how the world works. That is that you must touch something to move it. I still remember now, or I believe that I remember, that this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. There must be something deeply hidden behind everything.

Tippett comments: “He spent his whole life seeking to comprehend the order “deeply hidden behind everything” and to describe it mathematically. Einstein often spoke of this as his longing to understand what God was thinking.”  [Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit; Copyright by Krista Tippett 2010; Penguin Books; ISBN 978-0-14-311677-6]

“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, ... I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you perceive it? [OT Text]  

There’s something behind the movement of that compass needle.

“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. [Reading from the Psalm]

There’s something behind the movement of that compass needle.

“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” [Epistle Lesson]

There’s something behind the movement of that compass needle.

“Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’” [Gospel Lesson] 

There’s something behind the movement of that compass needle.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to put away some of my old youth fellowship conceptions of the nature of God. Often I’ve just come to doubt a lot of what was my former religious makeup. Simultaneously, I’ve discovered a bigger and bigger universe, a creation so vast that it is incomprehensible; I’ve even grown into a different understanding of Jesus. Through it all, however, faith grows stronger as the mystery deepens. For after all:

There’s something behind the movement of that compass needle. 

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