Monday, April 15, 2019

Holy Week

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For Christians around the world, this week—April 14-21, 2019—is referred to as Holy Week. It is, along with the Christmas season and birth of Jesus, the most important time of the church calendar year.
    The 40-day season of Lent, not counting the Sundays—with its traditional emphasis on prayer, fasting, almsgiving and repentance—comes to a close on Friday, known as Good Friday, of Holy Week.
    Holy Week begins with Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on what is referred to as Palm/Passion Sunday. The crowds gathered for the Passover festival awaited with anticipation for another act of freedom from their Roman oppressors—which many believed would be led by the Messiah, a powerful military and political leader. Many may have believed Jesus to be such a Messiah. However, his entrance into Jerusalem by riding on a donkey was a clear sign that he was not that kind of Messiah. Rather, the donkey was one of the humblest of animals, and also a symbol of peace. Jesus’ messianic mission and ministry was one that epitomised humility, non-violence and peace. So the crowds welcome Jesus with the waving of palm branches and by spreading their cloaks on the road ahead of Jesus. This entrance into Jerusalem was regarded by the gospel writers as the fulfillment of Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9; and Psalm 118:26-27.
    According to Luke’s chronology of Holy Week, which is the liturgical year (Year C of the Revised Common Lectionary) that we are now in, the following events unfolded as follows—unfortunately this post would be too lengthy to go into detail of all these events, so I suggest that you read these chapters of Luke’s Gospel, and allow them to inspire your time in meditation and prayer, and, if the Spirit moves you, journaling:
  • Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem: Luke 19:28-40
  • Jesus weeps over Jerusalem: Luke 19:41-44
  • Jesus cleanses the Temple: Luke 19:45-47
  • Jesus’ authority is questioned: Luke 20:1-8
  • Jesus tells the parable of wicked tenants: Luke 20:9-19
  • Jesus is questioned about paying taxes: Luke 20:20-26
  • Jesus is questioned about resurrection: Luke 20:27-40
  • Jesus is questioned about David’s son: Luke 20:41-44
  • Jesus denounces the scribes: Luke 20:45-47
  • A poor widow’s offering: Luke 21:1-4
  • Jesus foretold the Temple’s destruction: Luke 21:5-6
  • Jesus speaks of signs and persecutions: Luke 21:7-18
  • Jesus foretold Jerusalem’s destruction: Luke 21:20-24
  • The future Son of Man’s coming: Luke 21:25-28
  • The fig tree parable: Luke 21:29-33
  • Jesus exhorts his followers to watch: Luke 21:34-38
  • The plot to kill Jesus: Luke 22:1-6
  • Preparation for the Passover: Luke 22:7-13
  • Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper: Luke 22:14-23
  • The disciples dispute about greatness: Luke 22:24-30
  • Jesus predicts Peter’s denial: Luke 22:31-34
  • Sayings about purse, bag, sword: Luke 22:35-38
  • Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives: Luke 22:39-46
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Luke 22:47-53
  • Peter’s denial of Jesus: Luke 22:54-62
  • Jesus is mocked and beaten: Luke 22:63-65
  • Jesus before the council: Luke 22:66-71
  • Jesus before Pilate: 23:1-5
  • Jesus before Herod: 23:6-12
  • Jesus sentenced by Pilate to death: Luke 23:13-25
  • The crucifixion of Jesus: Luke 23:26-43
  • The death of Jesus: Luke 23:44-49
  • The burial of Jesus: Luke 23:50-56
  • The resurrection of Jesus: Luke 24:1-12
  • The resurrection appearances: Luke 24:13-49

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The plight of refugees in Bangladesh

I am a member of Amnesty International, which monitors and advocates human rights around the globe. As most readers know, the Rohingya people of Myanmar were forced by the military of that nation to leave and find refuge elsewhere, mainly in Bangladesh, which is one of the poorest nations in the world, and lacking in resources to meet the basic needs of the large numbers of Rohingya refugees. The following video was created by Amnesty to call to peoples' awareness the plight of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The video ends with a tiny seed of hope, which comes through music. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Polar vortex, retirement, growing older

Recently-as of January 1, 2019-I retired. Almost everyone I meet asks me the same question: How do you like retirement? My answer has always been the same: "It is too early to tell." 
   I keep thinking, when I wake up in the morning, that I should be going to work. As each day unfolds, it occurs to me that on such-and-such a day at such-and-such a time, I would be doing such-and-such. So, obviously, I haven't adjusted to "the retired life" yet. 
   Moreover, I'm still trying to discern what God is up to with regards to my calling as a now retired clergyperson. 
   In the meantime, I am realizing my age as we've been afflicted with polar vortex weather-this morning when I got up it was minus thirty-two celsius! The older I get, the less I like the cold. I don't mind moderate winter temperatures of minus ten or even minus fifteen celsius if there is no wind, as that is ideal weather for cross-country skiing. However this minus thirty or more makes my body complain.
   It reminds me of a Pete Seeger song, the chorus goes like this: How do I know my youth is all spent, my get up and go, has got up and went; But in spite of it all I'm able to grin and think of the places my get up has been!
   I like the last phrase of the chorus, since it awakens pleasant memories of the past, and makes one grateful to God for the life I've been given. 
   Hope you enjoy Pete Seeger's song!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Eclectic and Eccentric Music and Instruments

The dictionary defines eclectic as: Taking from different sources what seems most suitable for one's purpose; not confined to one source or one point of view. 
   The dictionary defines eccentric as: Someone who behaves unconventionally.
   I've always been curious about eclectic sources, and eccentric people--especially the best eclectic Source of them all, and perhaps the most eccentric person who ever lived: Jesus! He was not limited to one source of thinking and behaving. Rather, he challenged the status quo on numerous occasions in the course of his public ministry. And his willingness to associate with sinners and outcasts certainly qualifies him as an eccentric.
   An area of eclectic and eccentric interest for yours truly is the ongoing evolution of music. Recently I came across this interesting eclectic and eccentric inventor-musician. He has created a host of new musical instruments and sounds therefrom. Enjoy the video!