Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

The AT

The AT (Photo credit: Kristofor & Rebekah)

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринск...

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринской плащанице (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus Resurrection 1778

Jesus Resurrection 1778 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Easter, Resurrection and the Trail 033113

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Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Psalm 39 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2039&version=MSG


Jeremiah 11:1-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2011:1-17%20&version=MSG


Romans 2:1-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202:1-11%20&version=MSG


Easter, Resurrection and the Trail 033113


By chance, I’ve spent a good part of the day traveling for work purposes and find myself near Nashville, TN. It is work we want to do, so we don’t begrudge the travel or even that we’re traveling on Easter.


Like many American Christians, and those who call themselves Disciples of Jesus, or of Christ, it is always difficult to stay spiritual on Easter and on Christmas. On Easter, for instance, Easter egg hunts, pastel colored plastic grass in a Chinese plastic basket, chocolate covered everything, etc and not w public word or memory of Jesus, and of Jesus’ execution at the hands of the Romans (not the Jews)! And Christmas is even worse—when we let a fat man dressed in red hand out the best gifts of all to our befuddled confused children, who cover plastic of all kinds and sugar treats of many varieties. I can’t recall that these myths of legends even tie back to Jesus, in any way or form. These holidays, as they are, are shameful for Christians to see.


Instead, I’ve been reading the book by Marcus Borg and N.T.Wright, each a prominent theologian on their own. In this book they discuss back forth what happened to Jesus on Good Friday and on Easter, and despite their positions at each radical extreme between conservative and historical viewpoints of Jesus, they seem to agree on much about Easter.


The surprising idea is that Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning was bodily. It was not his soul that got up and walked around; it was his body, with rips, tears and injury showing. He had been executed by the Romans; it’s bound to show.


But neither was he a ghost. Jewish culture knew what ghosts were and Jesus wasn’t. He was hungry so he cooked fish for himself and friends. Jesus was touchable and present in the humanly flesh, yet could appear and disappear as he wished, could be transparent, could be in two places at once.


Marcus Borg describes this resurrection like this: as if Jesus’ soul had died, and been replaced by the spirit of the living God, so that the resurrection is of the same body, but different. It is not the old life restarted or continued, but a new life begun, but with the old body.


This is subtle it seems, but it is a concept and idea quite different than what I’ve heard, as a description and inquiry into this ‘resurrection’ It is not really ‘life after death’ but ‘life after life after life’….and that includes life after death and also life after life and death beginning right now and continuing forever, as the embodiment of God.


That’s why resurrection, and this ‘resurrection day’ are so important, although I fear we’re getting it wrong. And this resurrection reminds us that it is not a promise of eternal life after we die, but eternal life now. It’s not a new trail, but a different turn on a new trail.


And that leads me to recall, that tomorrow or the next day, I may have the chance to break away from business, and walk a few miles on the Appalachian Trail, a part that is near or goes through the Great Smoky Mountains. And that is a new trail.


Pray for Peace,

Pastor Bill


Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

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We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.


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Psalm 39

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

39 1-3 I’m determined to watch steps and tongue
so they won’t land me in trouble.
I decided to hold my tongue
as long as Wicked is in the room.
“Mum’s the word,” I said, and kept quiet.
But the longer I kept silence
The worse it got—
my insides got hotter and hotter.
My thoughts boiled over;
I spilled my guts.

4-6 “Tell me, what’s going on, God?
How long do I have to live?
Give me the bad news!
You’ve kept me on pretty short rations;
my life is string too short to be saved.
Oh! we’re all puffs of air.
Oh! we’re all shadows in a campfire.
Oh! we’re just spit in the wind.
We make our pile, and then we leave it.

7-11 “What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
Hoping, that’s what I’m doing—hoping
You’ll save me from a rebel life,
save me from the contempt of dunces.
I’ll say no more, I’ll shut my mouth,
since you, Lord, are behind all this.
But I can’t take it much longer.
When you put us through the fire
to purge us from our sin,
our dearest idols go up in smoke.
Are we also nothing but smoke?

12-13 “Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my
cry—open your ears.
Don’t be callous;
just look at these tears of mine.
I’m a stranger here. I don’t know my way—
a migrant like my whole family.
Give me a break, cut me some slack
before it’s too late and I’m out of here.”

Jeremiah 11:1-17

The Message (MSG)

The Terms of This Covenant

11 The Message that came to Jeremiah from God:

2-4 “Preach to the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them this: ‘This is God’s Message, the Message of Israel’s God to you. Anyone who does not keep the terms of this covenant is cursed. The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt, out of the iron furnace of suffering.

4-5 “‘Obey what I tell you. Do exactly what I command you. Your obedience will close the deal. You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours. This will provide the conditions in which I will be able to do what I promised your ancestors: to give them a fertile and lush land. And, as you know, that’s what I did.’”

“Yes, God,” I replied. “That’s true.”

6-8 God continued: “Preach all this in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Say, ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and carry them out! I warned your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt and I’ve kept up the warnings. I haven’t quit warning them for a moment. I warned them from morning to night: “Obey me or else!” But they didn’t obey. They paid no attention to me. They did whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it, until finally I stepped in and ordered the punishments set out in the covenant, which, despite all my warnings, they had ignored.’”

9-10 Then God said, “There’s a conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. They’ve plotted to reenact the sins of their ancestors—the ones who disobeyed me and decided to go after other gods and worship them. Israel and Judah are in this together, mindlessly breaking the covenant I made with their ancestors.”

11-13 “Well, your God has something to say about this: Watch out! I’m about to visit doom on you, and no one will get out of it. You’re going to cry for help but I won’t listen. Then all the people in Judah and Jerusalem will start praying to the gods you’ve been sacrificing to all these years, but it won’t do a bit of good. You’ve got as many gods as you have villages, Judah! And you’ve got enough altars for sacrifices to that impotent sex god Baal to put one on every street corner in Jerusalem!”

14 “And as for you, Jeremiah, I don’t want you praying for this people. Nothing! Not a word of petition. Indeed, I’m not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers.”

Promises and Pious Programs

15-16 “What business do the ones I love have figuring out
how to get off the hook? And right in the house of worship!
Do you think making promises and devising pious programs
will save you from doom?
Do you think you can get out of this
by becoming more religious?
A mighty oak tree, majestic and glorious—
that’s how I once described you.
But it will only take a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning
to leave you a shattered wreck.

17 “I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who planted you—yes, I have pronounced doom on you. Why? Because of the disastrous life you’ve lived, Israel and Judah alike, goading me to anger with your continuous worship and offerings to that sorry god Baal.”

Romans 2:1-11

The Message (MSG)

God Is Kind, but Not Soft

2 1-2 Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.

3-4 You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

5-8 You’re not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire. The day is coming when it’s going to blaze hot and high, God’s fiery and righteous judgment. Make no mistake: In the end you get what’s coming to you—Real Life for those who work on God’s side, but to those who insist on getting their own way and take the path of least resistance, Fire!

9-11 If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.


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