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Showing posts from March, 2016

Sunday (a haiku)

early one morning
Life surprised us, as promised;
a second first day.

The occurrence of the Resurrection ‘on the first day of the week’ (see, e.g., Matthew 28) suggests a parallel with the Genesis 1 creation account. Many Christians understand it as the beginning of New Creation, the ‘now and not yet’ fulfilment of God’s promise to deliver Israel and, ultimately, humankind. But although the promise can be traced throughout the Hebrew scriptures (which have been retrospectively interpreted with Jesus’ life and death and life in mind), that first Easter morning was not necessarily what those hoping and waiting had thought they were hoping and waiting for. Even Jesus’ disciples — whom he had explicitly prepared for the event (see, e.g., Mark 8:31) – were taken by surprise. As for me … Lent is never long enough, or I am never quite intentional enough in observing it, so that Easter always seems to come ‘too early’. Then again, I’m not sure that I ever could (or am supposed to) be entirel…

Saturday (a haiku)

nothing could be done;
it was too late, or too soon.
unrestful Sabbath.

Holy Saturday ... or 'Liminal Saturday', as Mr. W and I have taken to calling it in recent years. Surely the oddest day in the church calendar ... and perhaps the one that resonates with me the most. Jesus is dead. He told his disciples this would happen. He also told them he would rise again ... but that's a lot to take in at the best of times and, right now, all they know is ... he is dead. And Jewish law obliges them to do ... precisely nothing: it is the Sabbath. (Luke 23:56b). And so they wait ... for what? To carry out the usual burial rites, and move on with their lives? (Luke 24:1) Gear themselves up for fishing for fish again like they used to? (Matthew 4:18-20) With hindsight, we glibly reassure them (and ourselves) that everything is about to change, for the better and forever ... they stand on the threshold of God's New Creation! But they, that weary, crushing Sabbath, can see nothing …

Friday (a haiku)

from a tiny seed
to a tree, rent and flowing;
self-emptying Love. 

This year (2016) Good Friday falls on the 25th March – the day when traditional churches usually celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, remembering the angel Gabriel's appearance to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). Most Western churches move the Feast to avoid the clash with Holy Week, but I find the juxtaposition thought-provoking. Both the conception and the crucifixion of Jesus can be viewed as gestures of 'kenosis' – self-emptying, prompted by God's love for humankind:
…though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8) I'm also reminded of a metaphor that Jesus uses to prepare his disciples for what lies ahead – both for himself, and al…