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the gift of the kingdom

It is tempting to believe we can make the kingdom. Work a little harder, longer, better.

Myth.

Our symbols are not a shovel, a hammer and a wheel.

Our symbols are far more extravagant: rainbow, parting sea, empty tomb.

Gifts. Grace.

We may shoulder a cross but we walk in resurrection. Recreation out of nothing much – that, my friends, we cannot make.

Grass and gophers, sparrows and spiders. The gift received with gratefulness: it can’t be bought and sold.

Bring us out from exile, bring us to our home. As we work for your kingdom, set our hands aflame.

MCA

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jesus the gardener: an easter sunday reflection

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them,‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalenewent and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

John 20:1-18

It is far too easy for us to overlook seemingly minor details in the biblical text. Perhaps this happens because we have become overfamiliar with the stories and no longer read them carefully, or because we have not been trained to pick up on subtlety.

Whatever the case, in John’s account of the Resurrection story such subtlety is apparent, though we must pay careful attention to perceive it.

Recounting the day of the Resurrection John opens his story, “Now on the first day of the week.”

Of what does that remind you in earlier biblical tradition? Read the rest of this entry

easter 2012: things you should read

Easter has come to us once again, and we set our minds and hearts on the death and resurrection of Christ.

I am going to refrain from writing a new post for the event, since there are so many good resources out there. Here are a few of them:

MCA

sickness and healing (part 2): death as healing?

Note: I recommend you read Part 1 of this series to understand the context of these questions.

My last post was inspired, by a sermon I heard (and a number of subsequent conversations), to ask whether sickness could be caused by sin.

In this post I want to address another related question that I mentioned last time, namely whether dying and “going to be with Jesus” is a form of healing.

In the course of the sermon discussions described in the last post it was suggested by one participant that when a sick person does not receive healing and dies as a result of their sickness then this could be seen as a form of healing since the person goes to heaven to be with Jesus.

Someone then asked whether being cured by medicine could be seen “healing” in a biblical sense.

In response I asked my group a question – “Are we saying that miraculous healing is “healing”, and so is being cured by medicine, and also dying? If yes, does that mean that everything is healing? Even not being healed is healing. What isn’t healing?”

Personally I don’t think dying is a form of healing at all. To suggest so is, to me, a misunderstanding of the biblical view of healing and death. Allow me to explain. Read the rest of this entry

found the sting: some reflections about death & mourning

The death of a good man, who leaves behind four children, at what seems too early a time, is never going to be an easily digested reality. So when I was asked to express some thoughts on the Christian perspective(s) about death on my blog I only barely agreed

What do I say, particularly in the short space of a blog post? Indeed, at my age, in my wealth demographic, I have yet to personally experience death to a harrowing degree. I don’t really have any concrete answers about death, and theologising does not seem to be particularly helpful at this point.

This kind of theologising, though, is precisely the reason I was asked to put some thoughts down. Some unhelpful comments made to a good friend of mine about the death of this now-deceased brother led him to ask me the question:

Why do Christians have such strange views about death? Read the rest of this entry

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