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Monday of Holy Week

John 12:1-11

Monday of Holy Week is introduced with this account that is only in the Fourth Gospel, about an anointing of the feet of Jesus by Mary, the sister of Martha and of Lazarus, whom Jesus, according to John 11:1-44, had resurrected from the dead. The account makes a major contribution to the plot of the Fourth Gospel, with Jesus speaking in support of what Mary was doing and in opposition to Judas Iscariot, who was complaining about the pouring of the expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus when the perfume could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. The statement of the Johannine Jesus that “you are always going to have poor people with you whom you can help, but you are not always going to have me” presents the greatest challenge for us even today. It raises fundamental questions about how the financial resources of a congregation should be allocated.

Hebrews 9:11-15

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews presents Jesus in a way that is very different from the ways in which Jesus is depicted elsewhere in our New Testament documents. Within each of the Four Gospels Jesus is opposed by the priests who manage the Temple under contracts purchased from the Romans; he is certainly not presented as the honored priest entering into the Holiest Place in the Temple to offer his own blood to God. This very different way in which Jesus was portrayed by the writer of this document was a major reason that the Epistle to the Hebrews was one of the last documents to be accepted into the New Testament canon.

Isaiah 42:1-9

By using this “Servant of the Lord” text, as it is designated by Christians, on the Monday of Holy Week, we are identifying the Servant of the Isaiah traditions with Jesus as we as Christians perceive him. That identification, of course, does not give ownership of the Servant concept to us as Christians. The Servant of the Lord still primarily belongs to the Jews, not to us as Christians. The statements in this text about God putting the Spirit of God upon the Servant in order that the Servant may establish justice on the earth in a sense unites Christians with Jews, since, when we are at our best, we as Christians, together with Jews, long for justice and work together to “repair” the world and to be righteous and just in all that we and Jews do.

Psalm 36:5-11

Here also, when we as Christians use this psalm, or any of the psalms, or any portion of the Older Testament for that matter, ideally we use these materials together with Jews, as devotional guides along with Jews, even during our so-called Holy Week. Although our experiences and our understandings of the intended meanings of the texts in the Older Testament are different from those of Jews, we must remember that these were Israelite and Jewish documents before we began to use them and that they remain basically Jewish documents today.

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  • SermonSuite
     
    SermonSuite
    Dean Feldmeyer
    On the Other Hand
    Psalm 8

    1 Kings 18:20-21 (22-29) 30-39; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10

    “How long will you go limping with two different opinions?” Elijah asks the People of God. If YHWH is God, follow YHWH. If Baal is God, follow Baal. For crying out loud, just decide.
         But the Israelites “did not answer him a word.”
         Last week, the United Methodists weren’t so reticent. They did answer Elijah’s burning question “How long will you go limping with two different opinions?”
         Answer: Oh, about four years.
         At the General Conference meeting from May 10 to May 20, 865 elected delegates from United Methodist conferences around the world were given the authority to make decisions on behalf of the whole church. But faced with the question of whether or not to allow LGBTQ people full inclusion in the life of the church and risk a schism in the denomination, they decided not to decide. To use a painfully mixed metaphor, they both passed the buck and kicked the can another four years down the road.
         They instructed the College of Bishops to appoint yet another study committee to study all of the language in the Book of Discipline that has to do with human sexuality and to make suggestions about what to do with it by 2018. Then the bishops will study those suggestions for two years and bring their own suggestions to the next General Conference in 2020.
         Faced with heavy consequences whatever course they decided on, the delegates became like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, whose inner dialogue bounces almost endlessly between observations “on the other hand.” Afraid to act, the delegates to the General Conference left the denomination to flounder for four years while they examine what’s “on the other hand.”...more
    The Dream

    It was an October Monday morning. Nothing much happened on Monday mornings, especially during the harvest time. The pastor sat in his office wondering how the sermon reviews were going down at the coffee shop. He would give them another hour, and then stop in for his coffee and wheat toast. He would get the summary of the reviews from Maryanne, the waitress.
          The door was open, so there was no knock. The man just kind of appeared, leaning against the sill and looking pretty uncomfortable. The pastor recognized the guy as being from town, knew a little bit about his family and where they lived, but didn't actually know his name. He did know that the guy had never been in the church here, and that was probably why he looked so uncomfortable.p him along a bit by asking, "So, what can I do for you this morning?"...more
    David Coffin
    Response to the call

    All three of this week’s texts address how a person of faith responds to a calling God has given him or her. For example, a young person believes he or she is talented in the performing arts. His or her friends and family warn that they will not be able to earn a living unless they achieve “rock star” status. There is even more stiff opposition to this idea by the parents. Is the investment in money and time worth it if he or she ends up waiting tables or working in a factory? Another person feels called to an occupation where the credentialing is constantly being upgraded to higher levels of education. Is there a way of fulfilling their calling without the official credentials of the normative occupation? Another person hates their job and feels gifted to become a landscaper.....more
    Frank Ramirez
    Too Good To Be True
    Galatians 1:1-12

    Wouldn’t it be nice to discover something important that no one else had and everyone wanted? Like an unknown photo of Abraham Lincoln, or a discarded scene from a famous movie like The Wizard of Oz, or, who knows, maybe a lost play by William Shakespeare? It’s not easy to find something that everyone’s looking for and probably doesn’t exist. Take Shakespeare. There is probably more known about the life of William Shakespeare than is known about any other ordinary person from the Elizabethan era. That’s because people are constantly searching for new information about him. And there have been recent discoveries...more
    Cynthia Cowen
    Key to Eternal Life
    Object: keys to your car, house, church
    The Point: Jesus is the key to eternal life so put your faith in him
    The Lesson: Good morning, boys and girls. Thank you for joining me as we share God’s word together. I brought with me some keys...more

Author of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen

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