Breathe Carefully

First, let me start with a word of gratitude to you. Last week was the best week of continuing education that I have experienced in my career. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your desire to have your pastor continue a process of life long learning that leads to continual renewal in my calling to ministry. Last week was truly a gift, and I thank you for that! Secondly, you already heard a little bit of the biblical scholarship that came out of last week in the sermon last Sunday, and you will hear some more this Sunday. However, I wanted to take the thoughts of last Sunday and extend them to what that means for us about how we live in God’s creation. So a little refresher…last Sunday the sermon focused on the concept of Ruach Elohim. In the Christian tradition, we have had a tendency to translate these Hebrew words in the Old Testament as the

read more Breathe Carefully

The World Itself Could Not Contain the Books!

I am trying not to steal Debi’s Thunder, so I will address part of the scripture this week that I am fairly certain she won’t touch. The last two weeks of scripture lessons have had something interesting in common that you may not know about—both of them were the original endings to the gospel stories of Mark and John ! That’s right, the extra verses that come after Mark 16:1-8a and John 20:16-30 were later additions. You can take a look at those extra verses in your own bible to see what they are. How do we know that these are later additions? We have copies of early manuscripts that don’t have those verses added on. Also, the writing style and verse change. If you look at the additions to Mark, you notice that the extra verses were added to attempt to make Mark fit with the endings of the other gospel stories. So what do we make of the

read more The World Itself Could Not Contain the Books!

Killing Christ All Over Again

I was a little taken aback this week as I went to choose hymns for Easter Sunday and came to discover that the national church’s hymnal resource was suggesting all sorts of Maundy Thursday/Good Friday hymns for Easter Sunday. You may be asking, “What’s the difference?” or “Why does this matter?” Easter Sunday should be about the resurrection, not torture, crucifixion, and death. Unfortunately, many churches do not take the time to experience the darkness of Holy Week during the week with a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday service. When they skip those services, Easter becomes a dark and dreary recount of the passion and they end up singing songs like, “In Dark Gethsemane.” On the other hand, there are many churches that skip the dark stuff, have a joyous palm parade and then celebrate an empty tomb with no explanation of how we got there. This is just as bad as making Easter dark and dreary. The fact is

read more Killing Christ All Over Again