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Scapegoats and Lightning Rods (Matthew 27:27-44)

The image of a scapegoat recalls a ritual performed by ancient Israel on their holiest day of the year—Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. A goat was chosen by means of casting lots. Actually there were two goats chosen, one was killed as a sin offering to make atonement for the holy place, the other was allowed to live to make atonement for the sins of the people.

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Topics: Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 8: Compassion and Selfless Love. Seasons & Special Events: Advent, Holy Week, and Lent. Ages: Adult. Texts: Matthew. Rituals: Communion. Resource Types: Sermons.

“I Am…” – A Reflection for Holy Week

Being a child of God – for Jesus and for the rest of us – is a poetic way of describing our direct, personal engagement with Ultimate Reality. It is an artful expression of ourselves as physically integrated with the divine essence of the cosmos. Being the son or daughter of God does not mean that any of us can leap off the cross in a single bound.

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Good Friday Words

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The quintessential cry of despair, when all hope is lost.

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Topics: Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Holy Week and Lent. Texts: Mark. Resource Types: Readings and Spiritual Journey Reflections.

Good Friday?

That Friday, oh so long ago,
Why do we call it ‘Good’?
It tells a wretched tale of woe,
Of thorns and cross of wood.

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Topics: Arts and Music and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Holy Week and Lent. Resource Types: Hymns.

Crucifixion

A poem by Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

“Weep not for Me, Mother, 

in the grave I have life.”

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Topics: Devotional, Fiction and Poetry, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Holy Week and Lent. Resource Types: Poetry and Readings.

Ride On

Ride on: ride on in majesty;
The palms affirm with certainty
Their claim – you are Messiah King.
The crowds join in and loudly sing.

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Hosanna in the Highest

The shocking thing about the story of Jesus is that it turns common wisdom on its head.

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Redeeming the Bones: A Ritual of Participation

The dry bones raised by Ezekiel are a metaphor for those who died in the service of God’s justice: those who died working to restore God’s distributive justice-compassion to God’s Earth, and who themselves never saw the transformation. The army of dry bones is an army exiled from justice. Fairness demands that if Jesus was resurrected into an Earth transformed into God’s realm of justice-compassion, then all the other martyrs who died too soon should also be raised with him. “But in fact,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” It is the Christ – the transformed and transfigured post-Easter Jesus – who has started that general resurrection, which restores justice-compassion to a transformed Earth. The transformation has begun with Jesus, and continues with you and me – IF we sign on to the program.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Passion Week (or Holy Week)

We need to acknowledge that the final week in Jesus’ life is a blending of separate biblical accounts. In other words, the story grows and develops as each successive gospel writer imaginatively retold the story. There may be some historical memory in their stories, but the details are not historical.

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The Easter Way of Jesus: A Modern Day Via Dolorosa

If Jesus died for anything, he laid down his life like most social prophets and martyrs as a complete and utter refutation and relinquishment of any vestiges of earthly kingdoms. Whatever the subsequent followers of the donkey king would retrospectively make of him, he was regarded by the powers that be as nothing more than a nuisance. As more than one biblical scholar has pointed out, the real significance of Jesus’ crucifixion lay in the fact that anyone subsequently noticed and cared about the execution of a nobody. Yet it is the way of a nobody — not a somebody — that has so often altered the way of an otherwise weary world.

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The Stations of the Cross and the Beatitudes, Part 8

A Guide to Spiritual Practice for Lent

Beatitude Nine: “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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Topics: Devotional and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Easter, Holy Week, and Lent. Rituals: Lent. Resource Types: Adult Curriculum, Meditations, Readings, and Study Guides.
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