Loving Like Jesus

April 13, 2017

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Maundy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Jesus is getting his affairs in order.

There’s no Garden of Gethsemane prayer of doubt in John’s telling of this story.

Jesus is clear about who he is, what he is doing, and what is coming next.

In the passage just ahead of today’s familiar story, it says:

Jesus cried aloud: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. (Jn 12:44-45)

What comes next is a demonstration of what “seeing him who sent me” looks like.

Jesus has had dinner with his disciples before, but he knows that his earthly life is drawing to a close. Words and signs have brought him so far, but he has a few more things to teach. Now he will give a tangible experience, an example of what it feels like to be embraced by God’s love. It’s important to remember that even Judas, the one who will betray Jesus, receives this example of love.

There’s no anxiety in this act. No haste.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. (Jn 13:3-5)

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Collective Remembering

April 9, 2017

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-9a; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14- 27:66

On the morning of January 2nd this year my Uncle Harris sent an e-mail to his three brothers and two sisters asking if any of them remembered which year their family moved to a new house, which was just a few blocks up the street from their old house. Providing a few memory-joggers:

  • Harris first thought it was in the 50’s, but a childhood friend suggested it was the late 40’s.
  • He said he didn’t remember going to St. John’s School from the old house, and it opened in 1946.
  • He shared a vague recollection of “a bunch of us walking the antenna down the sidewalk” to the new house. This refers to the big antenna for my grandfather’s ham radio which he used to connect, through Morris Code, with people around the globe.
  • And then there was the Hallicrafter television. They were the first house on the block to have one. He remembered that their dad brought it home – to the new house – and that it had a 6-inch screen.

Can you imagine watching shows on a 6-inch screen?

I guess the adage is true: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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Hold onto Hope

March 25, 2016

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Good Friday 
Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42; Psalm 22

Today is a dark day. Even when the sun is beaming brightly outside, we draw the shades; we dim the lights; we wear dark clothing; we speak in hushed tones; we kneel before a stripped altar. It is the day of remembering Jesus on the cross. We consider our part in the drama that unfolded thousands of years ago.

576111_10200190424516062_2102912940_nWhen we journey through Holy Week, a week set-apart for remembering, even reenacting, some of the final acts of Jesus – washing the feet of his disciples, sharing the bread and wine at the table, walking the path of the cross to Calvary, and now, knelling at the foot of the cross – it’s easy, even natural, to get caught-up in the darkness of the day. Yet, it is called GOOD Friday for a reason. Although it may not seem like it to others looking in, it’s a day that holds in it great HOPE.

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Both Shepherd and Lamb

April 18, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Good Friday, April 18, 2014 – Year A

Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42

If you were here this past Sunday, you heard me explain that these narratives about Jesus’ death are called “The Passion” because the Latin root of the word is passio, which means suffering.

Throughout the Passion narrative from Matthew read on Sunday, we got a sense of the suffering Jesus endured, yet today’s account from John is quite different. In John’s gospel Jesus is the one directing the course of action, from beginning to end, and this is reflected in the Passion story, as well.

In today’s reading, after Judas brought the soldiers and temple police into the garden where Jesus was, instead of Judas kissing Jesus on the cheek, as told in Matthew’s version, here we have Jesus stepping forward on his own. He asks the soldiers who is it they seek, and when they say “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus responds, without hesitation, “I am he.” Read the rest of this entry »

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