May 1, 2011

Words that Devour? Or Words that Heal? Psalm 52:1-9 You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! Psalm 52:4 As I began pondering Psalm 52, I was struck by the accusation in verse 4: “You love to destroy others with your words, you liar!” All around us today, we see people using words to destroy others. They might be words of ethnic hatred. Or they could be lies meant to assassinate someone’s character. They might be critical words… Read more

April 30, 2011

Ah, Hell! Columnist Ross Douthat offers a defense of the Christian notion of Hell. According to Douthat: Doing away with hell, then, is a natural way for pastors and theologians to make their God seem more humane. The problem is that this move also threatens to make human life less fully human. Persecution of Christians in China Andrew Jacobs reports in “China Detains Church Members at Easter Services”: The authorities stepped up a three-week campaign against an underground Christian church… Read more

April 29, 2011

Part 1 of series: Handel’s Messiah: An Unexpected Easter Masterpiece I ended my last post by promising to discuss one further piece of Easter music. Today I begin to keep my promise. Several years ago, the choir of Irvine Presbyterian Church, along with a couple of guest choirs, did something you might consider odd. They sang a wonderful, well-known piece of music. This isn’t odd, of course. But the strange part, at least in the perspective of some folks, was… Read more

April 28, 2011

Part 3 of series: Introduction to Eastertide: The Season of Easter In my last post, I began to answer the question of what we might do if we were to celebrate Easter for fifty days. I explained that it’s not as if we ought to repeat the traditions of Easter Sunday fifty times in a row. But there are many aspects of Eastertide celebration that allow us to delight in the resurrection of Christ and thus grow in our faith… Read more

April 27, 2011

Part 2 of series: Introduction to Eastertide: The Season of Easter In my last post I shared my personal discovery of Eastertide, the fifty-day season of the Christian year set apart to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and its implications for our lives. I promised to explain a bit further how one might give Easter its due by devoting more time and attention to this crucial holiday. I’m sure some of my blog readers are wondering: “Fifty days of Easter?… Read more

April 26, 2011

Part 1 of series: Introduction to Eastertide: The Season of Easter We may be done with Easter Sunday services and Easter egg hunts. You may have put away your fancy new Easter dress and your bunny decorations. But Easter isn’t over, at least not for millions of Christians throughout history and throughout the world today. Allow me to explain. As a child, I always thought of Easter as a one-day affair. I liked Easter well enough. Dressing up in new… Read more

April 25, 2011

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! So Christians have proclaimed for centuries on Easter morning and throughout the season of Easter, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. During the fourteen days prior to Easter, I was reflecting on the Stations of the Cross in preparation for a deeper experience of the reality of Jesus’ death, and therefore a greater celebration of his resurrection. Today, on the Monday after Easter, I want to add an Easter postscript. Without the… Read more

April 24, 2011

Death Defeated! Psalm 30:1-12 You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Psalm 30:3 On this Easter Sunday, we joyfully remember the defeat of death. Psalm 30 gives us words to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and its implications. The images of Psalm 30 take on new meaning in light of the resurrection of Jesus. David spoke of being brought up from the grave (Hebrew, sheol) metaphorically. What he… Read more

April 23, 2011

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb Luke 23:50-54; Mark 16:1-4 Luke 23 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council,  had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen… Read more

April 22, 2011

You might be interested in a column I recently wrote for the Patheos Preachers Portal. It’s called: The Peculiar Task of Preaching on Easter This column was written with preachers in mind, but it would be of interest to others as well. Even if you’re not preaching on Easter, you might wonder what makes it “peculiar.” Read more

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