Archive for April, 2014

Touching the wounds

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

27 April 2014
Second Sunday of Easter
Easter 2A (RCL)
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Psalm 16
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

We call Thomas “Doubting Thomas” — unfairly. Thomas does not doubt. He resolutely refuses to trust, unless he can touch the wounds. Jesus shows up, speaks peace to his disciples, breathes on them and charges them to release or hold the sins of whoever they will. They tell Thomas, and his proclaims, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will never, ever trust.” It is one thing to believe in the resurrection, to be convinced mentally that it happened. It is altogether another thing to trust it, to stake one’s life on it. This is what Thomas refuses to do, unless he can touch the wounds.

Thomas is often the spokesman for a gnostic kind of Christianity (see the Gospel of Thomas). (more…)

In Galilee

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

20 April 2014
Easter Sunday
Easter A(RCL)
Acts 10:34-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-21
Colossians 3:1-4
Matthew 28:1-10

All four Gospel accounts of the resurrection begin with the message of an angel (or two) to a woman (or two or three). Interestingly, in his account of the resurrection appearances, Paul never mentions a woman (1 Corinthians 15), though he does list women among the apostles (Romans 16). Paul, likewise, never mentions the empty tomb. The testimony of women would not hold up in court, regardless of the number of corroborating witnesses (women). Are the Gospel writers telegraphing to us that the testimony to the empty tomb wouldn’t hold up to forensic standards? If so, what is the point of the stories of the empty tomb? (more…)

Obedience

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

13 April 2014
Palm/Passion Sunday
Palm Sunday A (RCL)
Matthew 21:1-11
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 26:14 – 27:66

We get a lot of Scripture on this particular Sunday — a big chunk of Matthew’s Gospel, along with the other readings. It’s almost too much Scripture to deal with on a single Sunday. Several things, however, stand out. Matthew (and all the Synoptic Gospels) narrates the trial and death of Jesus with little apparent theological interpretation, as opposed to Paul, who almost never narrates the trial and death, but provides plenty of theological interpretation. Along the same lines, Matthew narrates the last supper without any indication that Jesus intended this to be a repeatable (and repeated) ritual. In fact, Jesus says he will never again drink from the fruit of the vine until he drinks it in the Kingdom. Matthew also narrates the passion in such a way to show all the details as fulfillment of scripture, as he does also the infancy narratives. He leaves us to dig around in Scripture and figure out the theological interpretation on our own, not even providing us with a key to the reading of the scriptures which the passion fulfills. (more…)