Not in the "Easter Mood"

John 20:1-18
I am craving resurrection. Sometimes by Easter I am already there. I have had no problem glimpsing new life springing up all over like the green shoots bursting out of the hard ground, I’m noticing joy and hope in the people or circumstances around me.  I feel in touch with the beauty and wonder of being alive, and am ready to praise God for the whole of it.
Not so this year.  And not just because it was 11 degrees with a windchill of 0 when we awoke this fine Easter morning.   It’s because for whatever reason, right now I’m just more aware of the death.   The heaviness and despair. The struggle of things. I just happen to feel them weighing on me at the moment.  This is inconvenient timing.   It feels a little like some kind of a betrayal of the day, like I owe it to Easter- especially as a pastor – to be joyful and triumphant.  To take my baton and conduct the fanfare and the glory with confidence and cheer. But when I read the Easter story this year, the part that stuck out to …

The day after the worst day

A Reflection for Holy Saturday
"Holy Saturday is final day of Lent, the day between Good Friday and Easter. It is historically commemorated as a day of somber reflection, contemplating the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ's resurrection."  
Last week I was on vacation with my family in Mexico.  One morning, I did yoga on the beach, led in Spanish by a skinny, weathered, aged man, with a faded turban and a long, grey beard. At one point, he had us sitting with our legs crossed, and he picked up his leg carefully, with both hands, and gently tucked his foot into the crook of his arm, smoothing out his toes. He cradled his knee into the fold of his other arm, and rocked his lower leg softly back and forth like an infant. Then he invited us to do the same.   When I picked up my leg and held it like that, the underside of my foot staring me in the face, my toes splayed up brazenly toward the sun, when I felt the weight of part of myself in my arms th…

Today we will not lie

Good Friday Reflection

Today is Good Friday.  A lot has happened since last night's dinner with the disciples, with broken bread and washed feet, that ended with a walk to the garden to pray. During the night Judas led the authorities to Jesus.  He was arrested and interrogated, and this morning dawns with Jesus appearing before the governor, where he is sentenced to death. Around 9 am he is hung on the cross, and the whole sky turns dark from noon to 3 pm, when Jesus breathes his last and dies.

When I was a kid, my mom would fast on Good Friday from noon to three, as her own spiritual discipline.  I didn't realize she did this until I was older, and it made those hours set apart, holy, somehow, with a sense of awareness and sadness hanging over them.   But we did not go to a Good Friday service at church, and I remember the Easter season mostly jumping from the fanfare and fun of Palm Sunday to the triumph and party feel of Easter, without any kind of dip int…

Jesus incognito, Jesus revealed

A Reflection for Maundy Thursday

"Maundy Thursday is an alternate name for Holy Thursday, the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to and immediately following the crucifixion of Jesus. The English word "Maundy" comes from the Latin mandatum, which means "commandment." As recorded in John's gospel, on his last night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34). This is why services on this night generally include the washing of feet or other acts of physical care as an integral part of the celebration.
While John's gospel does not record the institution of the Lord's Supper among the events of this night, the other gospels do. Christians therefore keep this night with celebrations both at the basin (footwashing) and at the Lord's Table (Holy Communion)." (from the United Methodist Church)