Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Sermon

There is a Church out here in KC called Jacobs Well. I was told the sermon from this past Palm Sunday was particularly good... It was. I have never heard the story of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem told this way. If you have time listen to it. I have put the link in my side bar under sites titled Jacobs Well. Click there and find the sermon from April 9, 2006. I suggest listening to the sermon before reading my blog because Tim keel did a masterful job at tell the story.

We are prone to only discuss Jesus' entry into the Jerusalem and how laying down the palms represents our saying that He is our peace and that even as we shout Hosanna, we know that we goes to the cross for our betrayal of him the next day. We are truly more like Judas than we think, which is why he was given no insight into the mysteries of the kingdom in order to bring about Christ's death as some Gnostic believers were prone to think. On a side note, check out this article by Roger Hahn on the NTS website regarding the Gospel of Judas.

What is often the case is that we forget the context of which scripture is written and that it is very likely that on the other side of the city of Jerusalem another parade, another entry, was occuring.

It was the custom of Pontius Pilate to come to Jerusalem during the Passover. While the Jews were gathering to celebrate there release from Egyptian oppression, it was Pilates goal to reinforce that, yes, the Jews are aloud to worship God freeing them from captivity and oppression, but look around you and know that we, Rome (empire) are incharge. It was custom to arrive in the city portraying power through military force.

On the other side, Jesus. On a donkey. Alone. Going to the cross.

What a portrayal of power.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Weekly Bresee Article

School has got the best of me these past few weeks. I am excited to say that thanks to good friday and class being canceled I slept eight hours today. I have also been able to finish up some papers I have had to write on integrating the Incarnation and Atonement; Christian pacificms vs. Just War Theory; and a paper correcting Zwingli's memorial supper. I enjoyed writing that one because I got really see how the Eucharist has been the central act of worship since the early church and how it came to be distorted through the differnet eras of conflict in the Church. Before we get to the article I want to leave you with quote from William Cavanaugh's Torture and Eucharist commenting on Herni de Lubac, who has provided a good reading of just what went wrong during in the Church's Eucharistic theology in Scholasticism, the Medieval synthesis, and its breakdown in the Reformation, which is where Zwingli pops up.

“The corpus mysticum was identified with the sacramental body, and the corpus verum with the church. However, around the twelfth century, as Henri de Lubac’s important study Corpus Mysticum shows, there is an inversion of meaning. In subsequent centuries the altar would be the site of Christ’s corpus verum, his true and knowable body, and the church would be his corpus mysticum.”

I think that leads nicely into the article.

Peace.

From My Heart
Rick Savage

In speaking about why God entered into human history through an incarnation Hebrews 2:17 says that God "had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (2:17).

Propitiation means to "make atonement." It is an act of incredible self-giving that takes away the sins of people. This is amazing when we remember that the One we've offended is the One who acts in such away as not to hold our offense against Him. That is called forgiveness; I mean, out-of-this-world forgiveness; the kind of forgiveness that redirects a persons' journey and literally enables them to reorient their lives.

Jesus is the One who helps us reorient our lives. He doesn't simply forgive. He comes into our life experience and lives there as "a merciful and faithful high priest." An act of forgiveness would be wonderful in-and-of itself, but I think we human types need more that an act of forgiveness. We need someone to come alongside us and show us what it means to be forgiven, to show us what it means to reorient our lives, to show us how to turn around and come home to God and then how to live in God's home.

This is something for all of us Christians to take seriously as we seek to be faithful to God. A great question for every local church is, "How do we be faithful to the merciful and faithful high priest?" Whatever the answer is we need to pursue it together and then commit to be a community of that Jesus, our merciful and faithful high priest.

Huge issues are at stake here. Life-energizing and transforming grace awaits us.