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Archive for March, 2016

CHRIST IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED!

I realize that for some of you here, this Easter message is just a given in your life.  You have believed this message as long as you can remember.  Of course it’s true.  Of course the empty tomb makes a difference.  Of course it changes everything that Jesus is alive.  I’m sure many of you didn’t come here this morning because you had doubts.  You came because you are full of certainty and came here to celebrate it!  And hearing the message again today just reaffirms what you have always known to be true.  If this is you, I hope you’re singing at the top of your lungs.

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palm sundayWhat’s a Palm Sunday without palms, right?  How fun it is to wave them and join in our imagination with the Jerusalem crowds as Jesus entered the city.

 

What’s Palm Sunday without “Hosannas”, right?  We love to sing them . . . love to hear kids sing them.  And to join our voices with those who welcomed Jesus.

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Grieving can be a deep overwhelming experience.  It is part of being human and suffering a loss.  There are stages of grief recognized by professionals . . . like denial, anger, acceptance.  But there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Everyone does it his or her own way.

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mary of bethanyHave you planned your funeral?  Written your obituary?  Secured a cemetery spot?

 

Kind of morbid topic for a Sunday morning – even if it is Lent!  It’s very likely a topic you don’t want to think about and I’m sure the people who love you don’t want to talk about it either!  But actually many people do make plans for their death and burial ahead of time. Most funeral homes offer pre-paid funeral packages and many families find this be a very helpful, stress-reducing way to plan ahead.

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return of the prodigalThe parable of the prodigal son is the story of salvation.  It has been called the greatest story ever written, the pearl of the parables.  It is a familiar story and yet it continues to remind us of the message of amazing grace.  It has inspired artists and writers to interpret its simple, yet beautiful meaning.  Including one of the greatest artists of all time, Rembrandt.

 

Many artists are not appreciated until some time after their death.  Rembrandt was one of those artists who achieved great success and fortune from his art while he was alive.  He was considered a genius among his peers and was in high demand in his younger days.    Money was important to Rembrandt often litigating financial settlements in court.  He was a proud, arrogant man and in his paintings he often includes a self-portrait – a man with long, curly black hair, with extravagant clothes and gold chains.

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way of the cross 4

If you went to visit the original 14 stations on the actual way of the cross in Jerusalem – the Via Dolorosa –you’d probably be disappointed.  The streets in Old Jerusalem still have a very ancient feel to them, but many of the stops on the Via Dolorosa are marked with very ornate chapels that might look almost garish to Western eyes.  And the way of the cross is littered with gift shops and museums and commercial activity.  There’s a Station 9 Jewelry shop where the joke is that this is the spot where Jesus stopped to buy his mom a pair of earrings.

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Sometimes people will come up and say, I have a question for you. . .

 

Since people usually don’t come up to me with a question like What book of the Bible is the Tower of Babel in?  Or what does the catechism say about Jesus begining true God and true man.

I already know two things even before they ask the question.  And the first thing is that my response is not going to be satisfying because the question is something for which there is no good answer.

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