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.
On Being Kneaded and Becoming Needed
It’s interesting how Lent can trigger past memories long forgotten. Of course, the triggering could be attributed to several things. For me, it could be that I recently spent time with my sister’s family and other relatives in Florida, where I grew up. As a child, one of my fondest memories was awakening to the smell of freshly baked bread.
In February I had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. One of the major exhibitions was called “Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World.” It focused on several indigenous philosophies about the creation and order of the universe, and the spiritual relationship people share with the natural world.
Reading Greek mythology was my favorite as a pre-teen. There was Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt. The patron goddess of Athens and the Greek goddess of wisdom, was Athena. She was an active participant in the Trojan War, where one of my heroes, Achilles died. I was fascinated by the labors of Heracles. While I didn’t initially grasp the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, I somehow discerned that his story was far more than entertainment.
Flowers are often gifted as an expression of love and friendship, gratitude or celebration. Just think about the last time someone gave you flowers. Wasn’t it fun, surprising and exhilarating? It is amazing how the simple gesture of being given flowers can make us feel so much and how we can look at the them resting in their vase in our home or office – and feel … so blessed. Why do we all too often, wait, to be gifted flowers?
I’ve always been much more of a Advent/Christmas Christian than a Lent/ Easter one. The waiting in the darkness of Advent, the Incarnation – God breaking into the universe – what a trip! The whole lent/Easter thing: much harder for me. For most of my life, all it took was for me to hear “take up your cross,” and I’m heading for the hills. I don’t want to be weighed down with suffering and sorrow, I don’t like to think of Jesus that way either.
Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God.
When shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they daily say unto me:
“Where is now thy God?