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Showing posts from February, 2015

Psalms Reading and Study Schedule for Lent and Easter

The Season of Lent begins this Wednesday with the Imposition of Ashes (6:15 p.m. in the Custer Road Sanctuary). I have always loved the Invitation to Lenten Discipline in the liturgy:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: the early Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church that before the Easter celebration there should be a forty-day season of spiritual preparation. During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It is also a time when persons who had committed serious sins were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to participation in the life of the Church. In this way the whole congregation was reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and sel…

Reacting to AMERICAN SNIPER

"War is All Hell." - General William Tecumseh Sherman "God Bless Our Troops-- especially the snipers" - popular bumper sticker
I saw American Sniperthe other day. After the movie an employee asked if I liked it. "Not sure," I responded. He said he had seen it ten times and cried at the end every time. I nearly cried too. I was exhausted and my heart was racing. On its own, yes the movie is very good. I just do not know how to assign a star rating to it or say "yes" or "no" when asked if I liked it. For the record, I have not read the book on which the movie is based, so I cannot say whether the film accurately follows it or not--  nor how Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal, is portrayed in the movie.
I'll admit that when I see movies involving the Iraq war of the last decade (I'll maintain TheHurt Lockerand Zero Dark Thirtyare both better than American Sniper) I find it difficult, no impossible, to lay aside my own feelings about the war…

Details of The Death of the Messiah Bible Study

Several years ago Mel Gibson directed a film called The Passion of the Christ. The outpouring of support from Christians was so overwhelming it launched a sort of revival in Hollywood which led to such “religious” movies in 2014 as Noahand Exodus: Gods and Kings. Thanks a lot, guy! Anyway, I was not moved very much by the Gibson movie—it focused too much on the violence of Jesus’ suffering (the word “passion” comes from the Latin word for suffering), and not enough of the grace revealed by his death.
This year I will lead a Lenten Bible study: “The Death of the Messiah.” We will explore each of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion: his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion, noting their similarities and differences. Studying the different gospel accounts of the Passion always brings up great questions:
Who is the naked guy in Mark 14:51-52? Why does John include the detail of lanterns and torches in 18:3? Where exactly is the Garden of Gethsemane? Did Jesus or Simon of Cyren…