April 19, 2019

Meditation on Luke 22

Transition from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday

For just about all Christians, there’s no more memorable part of the gospel than the account of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. The words spoken at that moment are among the most oft-quoted in the history of humanity. “This is my body… this is my blood… do this in remembrance of me.” These words make us a people. They tell us who and what we are. They give us strength. They both lay us low and lift us up. They are words of deep mystery. And yet they reassure us in their directness. They describe the very riches of God in the simplest of human experience: Bread, wine, body, blood.

This gift of thanksgiving, this sign of grace, this seal of God’s love that we long

April 14, 2019

Children Rock

When we hear of the Pharisees, we almost always assume the worst. After all, didn’t Jesus often point out their small-mindedness and hypocrisy?

But this is only part of the story. Because if Jesus identified with any particular movement within the Judaism of his day, it probably would’ve been the Pharisees.

You see, there were two principle ways of practicing the Hebrew religion in the first century, and they weren’t really mutually exclusive. We’re unusual, in that people in our congregation are fine belonging to two different denominations. Most Christians aren’t so comfortable with that idea.

Well in Jesus’ day, it was perfectly normal to practice both of the main kinds of Judaism. One was centered on the Temple in Jerusalem, and those who ran it

April 13, 2019

Psalm 22:22-31

I will tell of your Name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.
Ps. 22:22-31



April 7, 2019

On Having the Poor with You

There seems to be a connection between this story in John 12 and the one in Luke 10, where Jesus is visiting in the home of Mary and Martha. There we find Martha serving and Mary at Jesus’ feet, listening to him teach. In that story, we can take the expression “sat at Jesus’ feet” somewhat figuratively, since that common expression probably simply meant to be in an attitude of listening and learning.

But here in today’s story, we find Jesus in the same house with Martha serving once again. Here we find not only Martha’s sister Mary, but also her brother Lazarus at the table with Jesus. But what happens next places Mary at Jesus’ feet in a very different way, for she anoints his feet with a huge quantity of very expensive perfume—so much perfume, in fact, that the scent fills the entire house.

I don’t know what nard smells like, but the Chinese call it sweet pine, which sounds rather pleasant. But there can be too much of a good thing, and this

April 5, 2019

UCC Conferences and DOC Regions

Pilgrim Christian Church is a partnership church, meaning it is affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Most interesting to me is the fact that this partnership was formed in 1950, 7 years before the UCC came into existence and 18 years before the Disciples were chartered in their present form. I plan to do some research, therefore, to find out if Pilgrim is the oldest partnership church in the USA (there are about three dozen in existence).

Below is a map of UCC conferences. Pilgrim is part of the Ohio Conference, which includes churches in West Virginia and two of the three northernmost