The first followers of Jesus were Jews—not only did they themselves identify as Jews, but they were largely recognized by most other Jewish sects as Jews. Of course, they had this peculiar belief in the bodily resurrection of their leader, Jesus, but even this wasn’t enough to kick them out of the Jewish community.
I once threw a house party on Good Friday. I’ll never forget the judgmental voice I heard as I left the Good Friday service at the church I grew up in. “A party on good Friday, oh myyyyy… bless your heart” she scolded in her southern drawl as I jumped on my pink bicycle riding home from church. I was 19 years old and had had an awful year.
A meditation for Monday in Holy Week by Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Church.
Mary brought a pound of costly ointment, pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. (John 12:3)
If there was ever a passage of scripture that should be read slowly, savoring each word, letting the images it evokes fully come to life … it is this one from the Gospel assigned to Monday in Holy Week.
Do you have any idea what our brand is?
Levi. Coca-Cola. Ford
These are a few of the brands that built the United States. Each one of them was established with its basic product before 1925. Each one is still totally recognizable ninety-two years later. The term “brand” originally derived from the stamping or marking of cattle or sheep for identification purposes.
Believe me, I have no desire to be visibly stamped or marked like sheep. However, I’m painfully aware that I have both a brand and have been branded as a follower of Jesus and as a child of the resurrection.
I gave up worrying for Lent as my personal form of sacred resistance. This is much more difficult for me than choosing to forego cheese or wine or Trader Joe’s Sriracha Potato Chips. Worrying feels like an addiction, a reflex, and a habit that I carry to the detriment of my physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Today’s Lenten Meditation is offered by Juliana Serrano: a report on her experience this week traveling to Sacramento to lobby for the adoption of SB54 … AKA the California Values Act. So grateful for this wonderful window into the prophetic work of putting faith into action.
“Words are things I’m convinced. You must be careful about the words you use or the words you allow to be used in your house. In the Old Testament, we are told in Genesis that in the beginning was the word and the word was God and the word was with God. Words are things, we must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names using sexual pejoratives and racial pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. Someday we will be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things, I think they get on the walls, they get in your wallpaper, they get in your rugs, in your upholstery and your clothes and finally into you.” — Dr. Maya Angelou.
I have just finished reading an article about the effects of threatened deportation on refugee children in Sweden. No country has responded to refugees with greater diligence and consciousness than Sweden. Yet, for nearly two decades, the political question of what to do about migration has played out in the bodies of children, with hundreds of refugee children falling into a state that has been named, “resignation syndrome.”
Reflecting on today’s lessons, reminded me of the story of two horses, and of something a colleague once wrote. “From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop you will notice something quite amazing…. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that it is blind. The owner chose not to have the blind horse put down, and made a good home for him. However, if you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. If one looks around for the source of the sound, one will see that it comes from a smaller horse in the field. Attached to that horse’s halter is a small bell, which lets the blind horse know where the smaller horse is – so the blind horse can follow.