I like John Updike’s poem, “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” so much that I bought the book it was published in. Updike does a great job of emphasizing the importance of the real and concrete nature of the resurrection. (Jesus’s body was the first example of incorruptible physicality—the stuff of the new creation.) Here are a couple of excerpts from the poem:
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted
in the faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
— John Updike
At present, the entire poem is available online at this link: http://bit.ly/2H7XN0D
John Updike, “Seven Stanzas at Easter.” In Telephone Poles and Other Poems (New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1963), Kindle.
I’ve long said Happy Holidays. As a child I understood it to mean Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, as a pastor, my emphasis has shifted to the twelve days of Christmas (today happens to be the third day of Christmas) and Epiphany (a holy day that was once a larger celebration than Christmas). For that reason, I was fascinated by this article in the L. A. Times titled “The Profane Origins of ‘Merry Christmas'” that details the origins of the term. The article takes “Happy Holidays” as a reference to Advent and Christmas, but in my mind Advent is more of a preparatory season, and Christmas and Epiphany are the Holy Days. Regardless of whether you wish me a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” I’m thankful for your blessing.
Update: Fixed the Links
Ed Stetzer who holds the “Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism” at Wheaton College has written a response to those defending Roy Moore by citing scripture. I’m sharing this particular article (as opposed to others) because Stetzer’s evangelical credentials are beyond reproach, he is fully aware that nothing has yet been proven, and the points he makes are irrefutable. We must not let scripture be used to justify child abuse.
My colleague, Rev. Mitch Todd has a great devotion/essay entitled about that often abused and maligned term, “Thoughts and Prayers.” I encourage you to take a look.
I have a lot of respect for Shane Claiborne, the activist and author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as An Ordinary Radical. He has an article on racism and the death penalty out today over at time.com. I commend it to you.
I’ve long known that the people called Methodists were behind Mother’s Day, but it turns out we’re behind Father’s Day as well.
Christianity Today has an article titled “From Mao to Moses” on Chinese artist He Qi, whose work we often feature on the screens and bulletins in worship.
“Jesus Christ was recklessly charitable,” so begins a fascinating article on what happened when some Dominican Friars opened up their priory restrooms to protestors in need during the recent Women’s March on Washington. This small act of charity pushed both sides outside their comfort zones but ultimately allowed the friars to share their faith. Their example is one all churches should take to heart.
The article is well worth your time: https://goo.gl/P0FzMi
A short, thoughtful, well-written article that goes deeper into the issue of social media and the Christian obligation to tell the truth:
Over at Christianity Today, Christena Cleveland has an important article reminding us that Jesus was not caucasian and exploring why that fact matters.
The Washington Post has an article titled “A compassionate judge sentences a veteran to 24 hours in jail, then joins him behind bars.” I encourage you to follow this link and read it. After reading it, I began reflecting on it in terms of God as our divine judge. In Jesus Christ, we have a judge who not only suffered with us but suffered in our place.