Thoughts That Console Me on Maundy Thursday

The Thursday before Easter Sunday is called Maundy Thursday in some traditions. I have attended many of these services and the feeling of desertion and despair, such as our Lord himself experienced that last night of his life, is always palpable. Entering a dimly-lit sanctuary you would see glowing candles adorning the altar, while all crosses on the altar are shrouded in red linens. As the service would commence the priest might pray, “Mercifully grant that we may receive the sacrament t … [Read more...]

What Was Muhammad’s Intention for Islam?

by Wendy MurrayI heard a pundit say recently that “Jesus probably would have been okay with Muslims; he was around a lot of Muslims -- it was the Middle East.” That was the moment I decided the time had come for a brief refresher on the beginnings of Islam and the paradigm forged by its founder, Muhammad. What was his intention for his new-found system of belief? How did he determine to advance it? Just as--in trying to understand Christians one must continually look to the person of Jesu … [Read more...]

Reflection: Jesus Would Not Trust Them

By Wendy MurrayIn church the other day, as the pastor gave his sermon, a phrase jumped out about Jesus that turned my head. I say I  "turned my head" because, having been married to and divorced from a pastor whose sermons did not help as our marriage was disintegrating, I tend to diminish the place of the sermon in my overall worship experience. Sometimes it is hard to listen. Often it is difficult for me to be moved. I have been jaded and have felt on the outside of that part of … [Read more...]

Mary Rejoicing, Rachel Weeping

by Wendy MurrayA disastrous event that took place in Bethlehem related to Jesus’ birth that is also part of the picture of Christmas. Herod ordered the slaughter of all the boys two years old and under. Yet we tend to allow sleigh bells, evergreens, and shopping trips to push it out of view. It is nevertheless, in all its brutality, what Christmas is about: a Savior's "invasion" (to borrow from C. S. Lewis) and confrontation with the forces of evil.Matthew's narrative of Christ's b … [Read more...]