Friday, April 5, 2019

Stations of the Cross: Bearing, Helping, Weeping

Our next stations occur during Jesus’ walk from Pilate to Golgotha. I invite you to pay attention to some of the people Jesus encounters along the way, pictured in the modern art pieces below.

Luke 23:26-31
As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”



Simon of Cyrene modern icon by Gracie Morbitzer



Simon helps Jesus bear the cross, by Suzanne Ley

A modern Eastern Orthodox icon of Simon of Cyrene


Try as I might, I couldn’t find the names of the artists of these two paintings of the weeping women Jesus met and spoke to along the road:




Thursday, March 28, 2019

Stations of the Cross Judgment and Crowning

Station 5: Judgment (Mark 15:1-5)


At daybreak, the chief priests—with the elders, legal experts, and the whole Sanhedrin—formed a plan. They bound Jesus, led him away, and turned him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.” The chief priests were accusing him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Aren’t you going to answer? What about all these accusations?” But Jesus gave no more answers, so that Pilate marveled.

God of the accused
 and the accusing,
 who made the mouths, the ears and the hearts
 of all in conflict.
 May we turn ourselves towards that 
 which must be heard, 
because there we will hear your voice.
 Amen.
Padraig O Tuama. Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community . Canterbury Press Norwich.   

A modern take: "Jesus before Pilate" by Jukara


Station 6: Crowning (John 19:1-3)


Then Pilate had Jesus taken and whipped. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. 3 Over and over they went up to him and said, “Greetings, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

On Sunday we looked at images and meanings of many different crowns through history. Below are some of the images and summaries...how do these shed light on Jesus' crown of thorns?

The oldest and most noteworthy Roman crown was the corona civica. This crown commemorated someone saving the life of a fellow citizen. The rescued individual would personally fashion the crown for their savior out of oak leaves, and the crown wearer earned special rights and privileges. Any citizen could receive this crown; but other crowns could only be earned by leaders. 

 Believing themselves to be gods, many emperors wore the Corona Radiata as a symbol of their own divinity.

The crowns of Silla were made for rulers in the Korean kingdom of Silla around the 5th–7th centuries. The use of many tiny gold mirrors dangling from the crown has led some to hypothesize that the crown, worn in sunlight, would be a dazzling spectacle reinforcing the tradition role of the king as the symbolic representation of the sun on earth.

The Great Crown of Victory reserved for Thai kings is 26 inches high and weighs 16 lb. A king only wears this crown once, during his coronation, where he places the crown on his own head—no one else crowns him.

For centuries, the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire was used in the coronation of the King of the Romans, the title assumed by the Emperor-elect immediately after his election. Made right around the year 1000, it is decorated with 144 precious stones and four enamel plaques containing pictures and inscriptions from the Bible. One shows Christ enthroned between two cherubim beneath an inscription from Proverbs reading "By me kings reign”; another shows King David holding a scroll with words from the Psalms: "The renowned king delights in doing justice". 

The Oba’s crown, worn by leaders of tribes of the Yoruba peoples in Western Africa as a sign of the leader’s authority. It fits over the leader’s face so that the individual is no longer seen; one only sees the crown. It has intricate beading, representing the Oba’s divine appointment and immense power to manipulate people and nature alike.

How does the only crown Jesus ever wore compare to these crowns in look? In meaning? What deep symbolism do you see in Jesus' crowning?



Thursday, March 21, 2019

Stations of The Cross: Condemnation and Denial

For your continued reflection on the 3rd and 4th scriptural stations of the cross, which we engaged together this past Sunday:

Station 3: Condemnation

Luke 22:66-71
66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. 67 They said, “If you are the Messiah,[a] tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I question you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

"Jesus is Condemned" by Nicholas Markell

Station 3 by Michael D. O'Brien

Station 4: Denial

Mark 14:66-72
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt.[a] Then the cock crowed.[b] 69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

A powerful modern video: "This is Now," the story of Peter and Jesus told in song by Casting Crowns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Lf7bu5ZYx0




Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Stations of the Cross: Sorrow and Betrayal

For a Lent this year we are moving together as a congregation through the Scriptural Stations of the Cross, journeying week by week through the events of the final hours of Jesus’ earthly life. Each week I will post art, music, and/or poetry here that can help you continue to contemplate these scenes at home throughout the week.

Station 1: Matthew 26:36-46 (NRSV)
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38 Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial;[a] the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

By Sam Wilson (American Southwest)

By He Qi (China)


By Via de Jesus Mafa (Cameroon)

Station 2: Mark 14:43-50 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
43 Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47 But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 All of them deserted him and fled.

David Haas Judas Betrayal of Jesus: https://youtu.be/ME1p2tnZ_V4


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Peace: A Study, A Song, A Snapshot

As we continue in this second week of Advent, I offer you three tools for reflection this week.

The first is the word study video we watched together from The Bible Project on Sunday:


The second second is a beautiful Christmas song from The Indigo Girls, “Peace Child”. Consider how this song picks up and weaves together the themes of the video.




Finally, a picture I took at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in DC last fall with a version of a quote I referenced in my sermon on Sunday. This is the heart of what the Bible means when it speaks of peace...how can we make this a reality this week?




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

One More About Hope

After I wrote my sermon about hope and the blog about hope I posted earlier this week, I came across this remarkable quote and needed to share it with you all. Carry this one with you through this week focused on hope!


Monday, December 3, 2018

Hope

As we enter the season of Advent, for those of you who were not able to be with us in worship yesterday, here is our first word study video for the season, courtesy of athe Bible Project. What does it mean to be a people of hope?


In addition, I’ve been walking around the house all day singing this beautiful Advent song. Give it a listen, and may  it bring light to your hearts as we wait with hope for Christ.