Goats, Cricket and Good Friday

Atonement Day on the ancient Hebrew calendar marked the day that two goats were brought before the community. One goat was ritually slain, the other, the scapegoat, having had the sins of the community laid on it, was set loose into the wilderness, not to knowingly be seen again. Anthropologist/theologian Renee Girard cites this as an example ofContinue reading “Goats, Cricket and Good Friday”

Footwashing – another Easter symbol

Today begins the three days of Easter. The little-heralded act of Jesus enacting his calling as a servant and washing the feet of his bemused and scandalised disciples is the act that begins the three-day drama of Easter. He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—andContinue reading “Footwashing – another Easter symbol”

Psalm 118 & The Easter Vigil

To my mind and heart, there is nothing like hearing the Psalms in the original Hebrew. There are many rich renditions stemming from Christian devotion, and they are particularly apt for the death and resurrection themes of the Easter vigil. The Psalms, however, are steeped deep in the Hebrew tradition and are the crucible ofContinue reading “Psalm 118 & The Easter Vigil”

Easter where the rubber hits the road

In the closing phrases of his first letter to the Christians in Corinth, the Apostle Paul delivers what biblical scholars call the kerygma – the announcement of the good news of Easter.   From the content of the letter, we can tell that the fledgeling church had some serious issues, and the apostle’s frustration mingled with love inContinue reading “Easter where the rubber hits the road”

The Joy of Holy Week

  The celebratory feast of accomplishment described in Isaiah 25 is very suitable for an entry into Holy Week, which culminates in the Three Days of Easter (Triduum) that embrace the trial, crucifixion, entombment and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth who is also the Christ. Holy Week is confusing to many across the spectrum of ChristianContinue reading “The Joy of Holy Week”

Mark’s Deposition

Of all the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion, Mark’s seems to dwell at some length over the details of what happened to Jesus’ body immediately following his death. To quote Julius Sumner Miller’s famous question “Why is it so?” Is it to establish the fact of Jesus’ death? There is no evidence that the “swoon” theoryContinue reading “Mark’s Deposition”

8 days B4 Good Friday

Today the lectionary gives us Mark’s terse account of the crucifixion.  Why so early? We haven’t even engaged the joyful and celebratory Palm Sunday celebrations yet. Worship planners are often flummoxed when coming to the Revised Common Lectionary to plan Palm Sunday celebrations. They are confronted with a choice – Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday. EitherContinue reading “8 days B4 Good Friday”

Radical Palm Sunday

This Sunday’s Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees from Perth’s St George’s Cathedral will repeat a tradition that has grown over recent years. Palm Sunday events commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem riding the colt of a donkey – the ultimate symbol of peace. It was a high festival time in Jerusalem with pilgrims fromContinue reading “Radical Palm Sunday”

A teacher’s lament

I have hung around enough educators to know that a teacher’s lot is not always a happy one. Today’s lament in Isaiah 50:4-9a probably resonates with a few. The teacher here is different, however. It is a collective group – the people of Israel in exile aware of their usurped role as those chosen toContinue reading “A teacher’s lament”