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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 Special
     
    SermonSuite
    Chris Keating
    Dean Feldmeyer
    Jesus Has Left the Building / Not Here

    In this coming installment we’re offering a pair of articles.
       Team member Chris Keating ponders that metaphorical yet quite explicit clue about where we can find Jesus... and what we are to do with the news of his resurrection. Chris suggests that we won’t find him in our fancy church buildings; rather, we are to go to Galilee ourselves -- i.e., out into the world. If we remain cloistered and inward-looking in our churches, we are essentially searching for Jesus in a tomb that we have already been told is empty. Moreover, Chris notes, if we don’t engage with the world we may be dooming our faith to the slow death of cultural irrelevance... a fate backed up by some alarming data from recent sociological research. That means we must leave our temples and take the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection out to Galilee -- to people and places in dire need of the comfort and joy that the gospel can bring.
         However, sharing that message is not always easy -- especially in the face of events so heart-wrenching that you don’t think you know what to do or say. Yet, as team member Dean Feldmeyer points out, Jesus challenges us to get up and go to Galilee anyway... to proclaim the gospel and do the work of sharing and being with those who are in distress. Dean considers how we might go about applying that mission in one extremely difficult instance -- that of last week’s fatal plane crash in the Alps, which was apparently a case of mass murder by the airliner’s co-pilot. How does one go about preaching the hope and new life of the resurrection to the surviving friends and families of those who perished? At first glance that seems cruel, especially for those mourning the young lives of those who were on a school trip. But Dean notes that if we cannot communicate the resurrection message to them, then we cannot communicate it to anyone. That is our challenge -- and our scriptures this week offer hope, as Isaiah tells us in a foreshadowing of the resurrection that the Lord God “will swallow up death forever” and “will wipe away the tears from all faces.”...more
    Easter Transportation
    The eyes of our nation have, in recent time, twice been riveted on Antarctica and the need to rescue medical personnel from a weather station there. Happily both rescues were successful, but they were conducted in weather conditions that were exceptionally hazardous for flight. Aircrews had to wait for precisely the right time to make each rescue attempt. The rescuers knew they wanted and needed to get to the weather station, but it was all but impossible.
         I am wondering whether a similar predicament obtains with regard to Easter. We see it off in the distance and desperately want to get there, but often we can't seem to quite make it. We are like Mary, as described by John, and on this text we focus this Easter sermon: "When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus" (John 20:14). So caught up was Mary in an assumed loss, that she could see nothing more. She hadn't yet gotten to Easter. Is that you? Is that me?
         Maybe the transportation we have selected isn't equal to the task....more
    Frank Ramirez
    Life eternal transforms us
    Our scriptures today remind us that Easter is more than a welcoming of spring, and that our Easter message is not centered on burgeoning new life and bunnies, as our popular culture emphasizes. Easter promises us life eternal, which gives us the courage to behave as those first disciples did, bringing the word of God to a world in need of strength. Our prophetic role, in the face of rising nationalism around the world and the denigration of people “not like us,” is a tough role, requiring people who have an assurance that living out the teachings of Jesus is essential for us to live at peace rather than to exist in chaos.....more
    John Fitzgerald
    Dirty Jobs
    I Corinthians 11:23-26

    A popular television show on the Discovery Channel a few years ago featured host, Mike Rowe performing difficult, strange. disgusting, or messy occupational duties alongside the typical employees. “Dirty Jobs” is the name of this hit sensation that ran on TV for eight seasons from 2004 until 2012.
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    Janice Scott
    Mike's Great Disappointment
    Mike was fed up. He had so been looking forward to the Easter holidays, and now everything had gone down the drain. His parents had booked to take Mike to Euro Disney in Paris for four days, and Mike had thought of nothing else since Christmas....more
    Cynthia Cowen
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    Object: Object: A 100 pound weight

    The Point: The heavy stone was rolled aside to reveal the truth, Jesus lives!

    The Lesson: Good morning, boys and girls. Thank you for sharing this time with me.
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Author of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen

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