Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Epistles Passage – Knowing what you should believe in and why

My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.” (Galatians 6:1-6)

The Revised Common Lectionary sets verses 1 to 6 in parenthesis, which means that it is acknowledge as accompanying the passage that the RCL is actually focused on. Often the RCL will do this when the periphery passage in some way pertains, proceed/follows, or explain/sets the context for the focus passage. Often times this “extra” passage has interesting things in it as well. For example “For all must carry their own loads”; everyone should be responsible only for themselves. Not correcting another or judging another (although Paul sometimes seems to hold that privilege for himself) or getting into another’s business (ditto). This must refer back to the “spirit of gentleness” that one must use in restoring the one detected in a transgression. (Is Paul gentle?)

The other verse I take note of is “Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.” I could (but did not) look up what the biblical commentators say about this. That is, which way the sharing goes; the taught to the teacher, or the teacher to the taught. Think about it, beloved reader, because there is a difference. I believe the desired direction is that the teacher shares with those who are taught the good things – the benefits and blessings of the teachings. I am not sure if the verses that follow (that is the ones the RCL wishes to highlight for this day) are indicative or illuminating of that verse.

“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” (Verses 7 – 8)

Paul would say one good thing is “eternal life”, and one’s teacher teaches accountably (that is, “sow to the Spirit”) then both the teacher and the taught attain that. But Paul is not talking just of teachers but (perhaps) exemplars too.

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up.
So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” (Verses 9 – 10)

The “family of faith” – who is your family of faith beloved reader? We talk of faith circles, fellowship of believers, churches, etc. Are these all names for the “family of faith”? I believe so. Where then does the family start and end? If we have a “large” family, then we have plenty of work to do. And “good work.” Notice though Paul includes “the good of all” , not just the family of faith.

“See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!” (Verse 11)

Let me see if I can explain this. It is thought that Paul used a secretary to write some of the letters, or gave broad outlines of what was to be written. The secretary would then write the letter as if it came straight from the hand of Paul. The readers might have been aware of this. But when the letters are large, it was indicative that Paul was writing it himself, his thoughts and theology alone.

“It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised–only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh.” (Verses 12 – 13)

Evidently it was preaching that the Christ’s death was what saved (and the only thing that saved) someone resulted in persecution. By pressing the issue of being circumcised they satisfy the rules of Judaism and the law. They (those who teach and pressure the Gentiles on the issue of circumcision) do not obey the law themselves, but they make every appearance that they force the law on others. This statement may be why Paul wanted it clear that he was saying this, and that the Galatians can trust that circumcision was not necessary for Christian faith and salvation.

“May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule–peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” (Verses 14 – 16)

I could have added to the title of this “and how to live it out”, but I did not. First, Paul is talking about faith issues and where one’s hope of salvation and eternal life is. Yes, he talks about work and good work, and teaching well and sowing in the Spirit. But these come from faith, and are not actions. Let us first get our faith beliefs aligned, then we can see what we should do with them. Selah!


Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Gospel Passage – What a life change might mean

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51 – 53)

In both biblical times, and modern times, there exist rivalries and animosities. You have to look no further than sports team to so them. Although the tension between the Jews and the Samaritans came from religious positions and not recreational – then again for some sports are a religion!

“When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”But he turned and rebuked them.” (Verses 54 – 55)

And Jesus’ disciples were just as vulnerable to prejudices as the Samaritans. Let me be, beloved reader, Jesus cared as much for the Samaritans as he did the Jews, the people from which his earthly mother and father sprang from. The story of the Good Samaritan is proof that Jesus had, and has, a tender spot in the Divine heart for everyone.

Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Verses 56 – 58)

I consulted a couple of biblical commentators about this passage and they have little or nothing to say about the metaphor that Jesus uses. It is plain enough on its surface, I imagine, to not need comment. Animals and birds have a place to call their own, to seek shelter, to rest and recuperate – but “the Son of Man” has no such place. The implication that the biblical commentators give is the way of life the Son of Man has is not one that others can emulate. But that flies in the face of the expectation that we take Jesus as our exemplar. Does that mean we should not get to comfortable in this life? That theology is also a strong presence in the gospels and in the epistles. Why not then tie it to this point in the story of Jesus’ journey and ministry?

“To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Verses 59 – 62)

Do you remember beloved reader back at the passage from the Old Testament where Elisha wanted to bid farewell to his father and family? Well, this is the passage that I had in mind when I contrasted Elijah allowing Elisha to make his good-byes and Jesus being adamant about following the call to himself. (Not believing deeply in coincidences, I am not surprised the RCL matched these two passages.) Interesting, is it not, that Elisha looked back in a way but also received the same portion of Godly authority that Elijah did.

It also makes a strong case that Jesus saw into the depths of these people’s hearts, and knew they were not really ready to commit to following Jesus and what it would entail. One has to trust that Jesus knows the best way to journey in life and what the destination should be. That along the way you will meet people who don’t see things your way, but that is no reason to write them off. The journey will be arduous, with little chance to take one’s leisure. And sacrifices must be made.

Now interestingly, Elisha burned the plow! And gave away the oxen meat! Perhaps that is what the Divine and Elijah saw; a young man who would be ready to commit to being a made of God and that set his affairs in good order so as to be ready to take up that call. May you, beloved reader, be as ready to follow our Lord God Jesus Christ! Selah!

Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Old Testament Passage – Starting the journey of Ordinary Time

The Sundays after Pentecost have numbers, and each successive Sunday brings us closer to Thanksgiving and the end of this lectionary year. That they span over summer and well into fall will tell you there are many of them. The number of the Sunday indicates only which passages are for that week. If I told you this was Proper 7(12) it would tell you a great deal. So I will not enumerate the Sundays. I could also tell you that now there are two sets of Old Testament and Psalm passages each week, and each matching of Old Testament and Psalm passage have a connection point – that may or may not make sense. I will try to illuminate that connection. So here we are, at the first Sunday of the long Ordinary Time.

“I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that did not call on my name. I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks; who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long.” (Isaiah 65:1 – 5)

As to why I may choose one Old Testament passage over another, I cannot tell you. If it is one that I have not spoken to before I am more likely to choose it. Or if one is more “unfathomable” I may (or may not actually) pass on it. If I feel a flame of intrigue and passion, I will most definitely choose it! (That is how I have gotten myself sucked into some Psalm passages that vex me!)

As to this passage, the Lord God the Divine is chastising the called and chosen people for being so much less than the Divine expects of them. Not, mind you, all of them but enough that they leave a foul stench in the Nose of the Divine. Some of the commentators say of this passage . . . it is sometimes people who have gone so far astray from the Lord God who perceive themselves to be the more holy and religious. Meaning, I guess, that they have fallen into such false worship that it is so unworldly as to be mysterious and mystical. The “holy” part is not the authentic belief in the Divine, but worldly/earthly spiritually imbued that could send shivers down one’s spine. Think deep and dark evil!

“See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together, says the LORD; because they offered incense on the mountains and reviled me on the hills, I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions.” (Verses 6 – 7)

Now it is more than just a matter of worshiping in the wrong place, beloved reader. The Lord God the Divine is worshiped on flat open plains where one’s actions and attitudes are seen, and where one is amongst like minded believers. Up in the hills and mountains are the evil things, hidden dark things, idols that are not the true Yahweh. So abundant were they that it was more than just caution that would keep the true worshipper in the correct place. Giving heed to unholy (or perverted) deities was tantamount to damning one’s soul and spirit.

“Thus says the LORD: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, “Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,” so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of my mountains; my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall settle there.” (Verses 8 – 9)

But, says the Divine, wandering off to wild places does not necessarily mean one’s spirit and soul is condemned. And there may be good and true worshipers who see their peril before it is too late, or succeeding generations who do not follow their ancestors. For their sake, says the Divine, I will not destroy all of them called and chosen people.

That is important to remember, beloved reader, at those times we have gone astray. As I said previously, Ordinary Time is a long time – many miles to travel. We could get temporarily lost, wander off the good path, or slip up somewhere. If there is still good in us – as verse 8 says, blessing in some of harvests of the fruits – the Divine give us opportunities to mend our ways. Perhaps, beloved reader, something you read here in the coming weeks and months will help. Selah!

Ascension of the Lord, Year C 2019: The Gospel, Substituted Acts, & Psalm Passages – The Divine as the Divine always was and always will be

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:44 – 48)

I have heard the word “Bible” presented as an acronym “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”, and it has stayed in my memory. The reasons I remember it is because it uses each letter, and I was amazed that such a complicated collection of writings can be called “basic.” There is really nothing basic about it! And in a way it does a disservice to the disciples (who even after living with Jesus for his entire ministry had to have their minds “opened”), and the hundreds of male and female commentators and theologians who have wrestled with the holy word. The message of Jesus Christ, beloved reader, is a simple statement to love the Lord God the Divine who sent Jesus Christ, to believe in the Lord God the Divine, and to follow that guidance, direction and example that was set out in Jesus Christ. Yes, that is basic. But the way the books in the Old Testament come together to support Christ’s ministry and under gird it, and the way the Old and New Testament are to be understood and intertwined – that is complicated!

“And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.” (Verses 49 – 53)

The ascension of the Lord was the first part of what was to come. The physical presence of Jesus Christ returned to the Divine, and the spiritual/Spirit Presence of the Divine was then able to come to earth. The reason why it had to be this way is probably one of the “complicated” issues that humanity has found to be far from “basic”!

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:1 – 5)

Some days back I had written about the switch in narrative perspective that we find in Acts – around the time that Paul was called to Macedonia. I mention this because the writer of the gospel of Luke (which we read just above) and the writer of the book of Acts are thought to be the same person. I find delight that the RCL pairs these two passages together. On to the balance of the passage.

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Verses 6 – 9)

And interesting question – does the coming of the Holy Spirit signify that the time of Jewish tribulation is coming to an end? A parallel thought for us might be – does our coming to faith & the blessing of the Holy Spirit mean the end of difficulties in our lives? I think, beloved reader, we know the answer to that. As did the disciples discover when their ministry begain. The end of one thing, but the beginning of quite another.

Interesting too that this account in Acts has something added to Jesus Christ’s ascension.

“While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Verses 10 – 11)

What do we make of that? What can we make of that? And most importantly, what have the generations since Christ’s ascension made of that??

“Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah” (Psalm 47:1 – 4)

I made note earlier/above concerning the intertwining of the writing of the Old Testament – that is, Jesus spoke of the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms being fulfilled. The implication is that they were fulfilled through him, or he is the fulfillment, or they point to Jesus and how he will reign – or something like that. It is complicated. My point is that the psalm passages are written quite often from a Jewish perspective. And that perspective, I think, is quite evident when keeping in my the disciples asking if “the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel” is close at hand. But there is also an openness to the psalms that allows both earlier and modern believers to enter into the songs of praise.

“God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.
God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.” (Verses 5 – 9)

In all of this – and we have covered much ground, concepts, and theologies – I want to remind you beloved reader that at the ascension Jesus Christ and the Divine hold the same traits and intent that they did when Jesus Christ first came to earth. One of the hallmarks of the Divine is consistency. And one of the struggles of humanity is to understand that. May the Spirit who came when Jesus ascended teach and inspire you to greater understanding. Selah!

Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Epistle Passage – Discerning the scripture passages we are presented with

What I did not say yesterday, beloved reader, was that this week is a busy one. In the course of this one week we have – the Ascension of the Lord, Mary visiting Elizabeth, and the normal verses for the seventh week of Easter. I foresee myself writing every day this week! And having to choice which scripture passages are best to chose for each of the days.

Today’s passage – as you can see from the title – the epistle passage and once again it is from the book of Revelation. I think my pondering and musing of last week (see Sixth Sunday of Easter – The Epistle Passage ) helped me put the book of Revelation into a perspective I can work with. It is illuminating to read what others have written about their understanding of the Divine, at the time that they were living. Within the inspiration that the books and writings of the bible were written with is the foundational truth of the Divine. Our task is to discern what that basic truth is, and what is applicable to us.

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work.” (Revelation 22:12)

The writer of Revelation had his purpose in writing, and it is enough for us to know and understand that for that time it was what needed to be said.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.” (Verses 13 – 14)

Just as the gospel writers included what they felt needed to be said and remembered, so too did the writer of Revelation. What makes it difficult is that the things Jesus said were not as predictive as what we find here.

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.” (Verses 16 – 17)

And as I also reminded myself, we are reading scripture that was not directed towards. It is like reading one of Paul’s letters. We glean what is good for us, and what does not illuminate our faith journey we leave for others to decide how to make use of it.

“The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” (Verses 20 – 21)

The book of Revelation says much about the end of all days will be like. It is part metaphor, part analogy, part allegory, and part symbolism. It does make me wonder how the readers of this book responded to it. We know it became part of the biblical canon. (I will NOT beloved reader get into a conversation about that now.) And the Revised Common Lectionary includes it in the chosen readings. That is how it came down to me; and I in turn present it to you. What I do not say is . . . this is exactly how it will be at the end of all days. What I do say is . . . . this is how one writer presented his views and opinions to his contemporaries. What here speaks to you?

May you, beloved reader, with the inspiration of the Divine and the Holy Presence that moves among us find inspiration and illumination for your life. Selah!

Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Substitute Acts Passage – Exciting times, and not so exciting

One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling.” (Acts 16:16)

I became aware, beloved reader, of a change in perspective of the writer of the book of Acts. At first the perspective was “they” and “them” and at some point it changed to “we” and “us”, as the writer joined the journey along the way – which I think actually he did. What took me off guard was the the change just . . . . happened. No foreshadowing or announcement that he joined Paul. The shift happened in the midst of the telling of Paul’s vision of the man from Macedonia asking for someone to come; this happened after they went down to Troas. But rather than lingering on this point, let us catch up to Paul and company.

“While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.” (Verses 17 – 18)

I did have to wonder why this slave girl annoyed Paul. While she spoke the truth, after a fashion, it was not testimony born of free will and knowledge of the Lord but the mischief of the Evil One that dogs the steps of God’s ministers. That, if you cannot tell, was a pretty good paraphrase of what the biblical commentators said. My take on it was that Paul saw her captivity to the demon and the profit that her owners were making off her distress and possession, and decided to put an end to it.

“But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” (Verses 19 – 21)

I could give again a biblical commentator’s observation on this, but . . . . that is a way of thinking that I just cannot call my own. Paul’s action was borne of compassion for the slave girl and a desire to free her soul and spirit. The slave girl’s owner’s response was borne of greed and callousness to another human being. It is fits in line with Paul’s preaching of salvation and freedom from sin. The consequences of Paul’s actions also fits into the broader theme of the disciples and apostles of Jesus being threatened, oppressed, and punished for preaching. And by the end of the story, the resilience and determination of Paul and his company, and the protection that was afforded them.

“The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.” (Verses 22 – 27)

Some comments and commentary need to be interjected here. First, remember that the writer of the book of Acts wanted his audience, Theophilus, to know what was going on with the apostles and disciples after Jesus returned to heaven. And for Theophilus to understand these things, and perhaps the reason, rationale, and message that the disciples and apostles shared to others. So if it seems that every little turn in the road is described and narrated, it is because the writer of the book of Acts wanted to make sure that all was told – no detail or circumstance left out.

Second, that the jailer was responsible for his prisoners; not to tend to them carefully and compassionately. But to ensure that the desires and demands of the Roman state in punishing the prisoners was met and carried out. A jail break would mean the jailer would pay painfully with his life.

“But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Verses 28 – 30)

There is quite a leap here, and not well narrated so that the average reader might understand the circumstances. Paul and Silas saved the jailer’s life by assuring him there was no reason for the Roman state to exact any punishment. AND that the power that Paul and Silas had outweighed what the Roman state could do. What I think the jailer was asking was how he could be protected and redeemed by the protection that Paul and Silas had.

“They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.” (Verses 31 – 34)

How many of you, beloved reader, have had as much action and drama in your Christian lives? If you are like me, these “high moments” are far and few between. It would almost seem that our tame and normal lives do not carry the impact that Paul and his companions had on their world. Have we ever saved someone from slavery and demon possession? No. Have we had our beliefs and convictions tested? No. Has the Divine’s power and strength been exerted so visibly on our behalf? Probably not. It tempts me to drop all that I am doing and rush out to live a life that makes such a powerful statement. The mundane and minutiae of my life peeks at me from around the corner, and I know rather than go off on a wild trajectory I will follow the worn path that I have tread before. My life is not a New Testament story. But it is a story lived out in light of God given truths. And I guess for now that will have to suffice. Shalom.

Fifth Sunday of Easter: The Gospel Passage – Beyond the Cross

When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.” (John 13:31 – 32)

The events of Holy Week have been set in motion . . . . we have heard it again. But I have to ask, “Why are we hearing it again?” Maybe you are asking the Revised Common Lectionary that too? After so many years, five and counting, of commenting on the RCL I have become accustomed to it being the source and authority of what to write and comment on. Others use the RCL to make their way through the Christian year, plan worship services, and guide their meditations & reflections. There are other sources of scripture readings that list what to read when. The RCL is the one that comes most readily to my mind.

Of course according to the RCL we are still in Easter “mode”, so harking back to Judas, Jesus, and the Last Supper is not to much of a stretch. And if we put the emphasis on the “glorifying and being glorified” portion we can set aside the circumstances – mostly. In essence, the events that have been set in motion will glorify Jesus and the Divine. Jesus is glorified because of his association with the Divine, and the Divine is glorified because of Jesus’ willingness to be obedient unto death. And as Jesus speaks further, we can see/hear/read that his thoughts and reflections are beyond just the events of the next few days.

“Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Verses 33 – 35)

As I was writing this I remembered the article I had come across as I was preparing to write about Holy Week and Easter – the article by my former college bible professor. The image of an angry and vengeful God that Christ’s sacrifice was supposed to appease does not seem to be in line with a God that is glorified because of Jesus Christ. But as I think that idea through, it collides with other understandings of Jesus’ death and the need for his death.

Maybe it is just as well to move on to the “new commandment” of love, loving others as Jesus and the Lord God the Divine loved us. And that through that love we are known as disciples of the Divine. Yes, I think that is the better emphasis! Selah!