Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Sunday, 2017

Once again, from Peter Leithart at Theopolis.

Easter Sunday, 2017
At twilight on the first Easter, two disciples of Jesus were traveling on the road toward the town of Emmaus. They had fled Jerusalem to escape the Jews. They talked excitedly about the strange things they had heard and seen.
Suddenly, Jesus joined them and asked what they were talking about.
They told Jesus His life story – how He was a prophet mighty in deed and in the sight of God, a new Moses; how they hoped He would redeem Israel; how He had been seized and executed. They even told Jesus the story of the resurrection.

They knew the entire gospel story, but they were still too dejected and frightened for mission. They knew the whole gospel story, but they didn’t recognize Jesus.
Jesus started telling Bible stories, from Genesis, through all the Prophets and Psalms. All the way through, He taught them that everything in the Scriptures was about His suffering and glory.
The word wasn’t enough. Jesus’ presence wasn’t enough. They recognized Jesus only when He broke bread. Then, like Adam and Eve, their eyes were opened and they saw Jesus.
Then everything changed. They were fleeing Jerusalem, but now they return. They had left the other disciples, but now they rejoin them. They were perplexed about the resurrection, but now they become witnesses.
If we want to join the mission of the Risen Jesus, we need the whole Bible burning in our hearts. And we need the broken bread, the tree of life that opens our eyes to see that the risen Jesus is with us.
                                                                         - Peter Leithart
...HE is RISEN.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Holy Saturday

Collect for Holy Saturday:
Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that, through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
-  With 1 Peter 3:17-22 and Matthew 27:57-66

"Easter Even or Holy Saturday," From the Anglican The Book of Common Prayer, 1962 Canada, p. 180-181, 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Good Friday, 2017

Again, from Peter Leithart at Theopolis...

Good Friday, 2017

From the cross, Jesus cries, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s from Psalm 22, but the Jews say He’s calling for Elijah. Are they so dull they can no longer recognize Scripture?
More likely, they mean it in mockery. Our Old Testament ends with a promise of a new Elijah who brings “the great and terrible day of Yahweh” (Malachi 4:5). The Jews pretend that Jesus cries for Judgment Day and new creation. “Let’s see if Elijah comes,” they joke.
Does Elijah come? Is the cross Judgment Day and new creation, the “great and terrible day of the Lord”? You bet it is.
When Jesus dies, He hands over His Spirit, fulfilling the promise of the prophets. When He dies, the veil of the temple is torn, fulfilling the Jewish hope to enter God’s presence. When He dies, there’s an earthquake, a sign that God will shake until only permanent things stand.
Israel has been hoping for resurrection, and as soon as Jesus dies, graves open and dead saints appear in Jerusalem. Israel has been hoping for the conversion of the nations, and when Jesus dies a centurion confesses Jesus as the Son of God.
Everything the Jews have been hoping for begins to happen, or happens in symbol, at the cross. “Let’s see if Elijah will save Him,” the Jews say. “Let’s see if His death will bring in the end times.” It did. And it does.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Maundy Thursday, 2017

Peter Leithart's thoughts on Maundy Thursday:

Christians often focus on the intense physical suffering Jesus endured on the cross. During crucifixion, a victim’s body was torn with nails and his limbs stretched, as he slowly suffocated. Think of Matthias Grunewald’s angular, contorted Jesus.
The gospel writers pay little attention to Jesus’ pain. They understood that Romans reserved crucifixion for slaves and rebels. Crosses displayed Roman power while humiliating anyone bold enough to challenge it. Jesus’ suffering is social and political, not merely physical.
Luke’s account of the crucifixion is organized to highlight just this point. He places the mockery of the crowd at the center of a chiasm:

A. Simon of Cyrene carries Jesus' cross, 23:26
    B. Women follow Jesus, beating their breasts, 23:27-31
            C. Criminals crucified with Jesus, 23:32-33
                      D. Jesus forgives mockery and abuse, 23:34-38
            C’. One criminal mocks Jesus, the other
                  believes, 23:39-43
    B’. Events of Jesus’ death lead crowd to beat their breasts;
          women stand at a distance, 23:44-49
A’. Joseph of Arimethea puts Jesus in his own tomb, 23:50-56
The mockery doesn’t stand. At Jesus’ trial, “the people” joined the rulers to demand His death. At the cross, though, Simon and Joseph take Jesus’ side. One of the crucified criminals believes. When Jesus dies, “the multitudes” return to the city beating their breasts in fear and sorrow.
By forgiving His abusers, Jesus shatters the alliance of Romans, people, and chief priests. By showing mercy, He turns political shame into triumph and turns mockery into repentance.
(I received this meditation via email from Theopolis Institute as I am on their mailing list...otherwise I would have linked to it.)