Saturday, April 13, 2019

Palm Sunday – Triduum 2019

Palm/Passion Sunday – Holy Week – Triduum

Many churches combine Palm Sunday's triumphant entry into Jerusalem with Jesus' Last Supper and the trial, conviction, crucifixion, death and burial narratives because many people don't attend any Holy Week Services.

• Isaiah 50:4-9a • Philippians 2:5-11

Palm Sunday gospel reading for this lectionary year: Luke 19:28-40 • Passion Sunday gospel reading: Luke 22:14-23:56

Lent concludes at sundown or at midnight on Wednesday of Holy Week.

Triduum – Three Days

Maundy – "Mandate" – Thursday

The Three Days is a single liturgy that begins with Maundy Thursday's worship that concludes without a benediction, often ends with the worship space stripped and in darkness. Historical Lenten practice waits until Maundy Thursday to pronounce absolution or forgiveness to the gathered assembly.

• John 13:1-17, 31b-35 • Exodus 12:1-4, [5-10], 11-14
• Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Good Friday

The Three Days continue on Good Friday, the day of Jesus' death. Although the Revised Common Lectionary specifies scripture readings for Friday, many churches' traditions include other scriptures such as noon through 3 pm with Jesus' seven last words or statements, reading or singing one of the full scriptural passion narratives in the evening, or something else.

Holy Saturday

The day nothing apparently happens is the day everything actually happens. We spend a lot of our lives in the interstitial, liminal time between Good Friday afternoon and Easter Sunday dawn. Theology of the cross especially lifts up this day before Easter when we almost hang suspended in time anticipating gifts of rebirth, of spring, of new life.

Easter / Resurrection

Easter is fifty days, a week of weeks! The Day of Pentecost is the fiftieth day of Easter. The Three Days/Triduum liturgy concludes by celebrating Jesus' resurrection. The Council of Nicaea (325) that gave us the Nicene Creed calendared Easter for the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

Easter Vigil

The Vigil of Easter revisits the meta-narratives of creation and of deliverance from death to life in the Exodus and Passion/Easter stories. The essential readings for the Vigil of Easter:

• Genesis 1:1—2:4a • Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 • Ezekiel 37:1-14
• Jonah 1:1—2:1-3 [4-6] 7-9 • Romans 6:3-11
• Luke 24:1-12 [for this year of Luke's gospel]

Easter Sunrise / Morning

• Acts 10:34-43 • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 • 1 Corinthians 15:19-26
• Luke 24:1-12 or John 20:1-18

Easter Evening

• Isaiah 25:6-9 • Psalm 114 • 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 • Luke 24:13-49

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Lent 5C

Philippians 3:4b-14

4If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.

8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

We opened by praying Graham Kendrick's Knowing you, Jesus based on Philippians 3:7-11:

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
all this world reveres and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
spent and worthless now compared to this.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You.
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best, You're my joy,
my righteousness; and I love You, Lord.

Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
to be found in You and known as Yours,
to possess by faith what I could not earn,
all surpassing gift of righteousness.

Oh, to know the power of Your risen life,
and to know You in Your suffering,
to become like You in Your death,
My Lord, so with You to live and never die.

Three weeks ago on Lent 2 we talked about Philippians as the Epistle of Joy! This week on Lent 5 and next week for Lent 6 (Palm/Passion) Sunday, the second reading again will be from Philippians. The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church at Philippi where he was founding pastor and probably a kind of mission developer. Philippians is one of Paul's captivity letters from when he was incarcerated (by humans)—probably in Rome. The readings for today and next Sunday reveal Paul captured by and captive to Jesus Christ as a no holds barred prisoner of his Lord!

The church's year of grace has moved into the conclusion of Lent and is getting ready for Easter. That means we're seriously getting into some theology of the cross. Theology of the Cross was at the heart of Martin Luther's theology, and if we read both the OT and NT carefully, we discover it's at the heart of God's self-revelation.
In very short:

• Theology of the cross is about God's own self-revelation, especially in Christ crucified. Theology of the cross is about God's often hidden, paradoxical both/and presence in the comment things, people, and situations.

• Theology of glory is about human ideas and imaginings of how a powerful, all-knowing, sovereign God might act. How humans wish God would behave?

This section of Philippians starts out with the Apostle Paul's / St. Paul's / Saul of Tarsus' résumé, CV, biography. Paul loves to make lists: fruits/gifts of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23; bads of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21... Paul goes on to describe how he wants to become like Jesus Christ. This Paul does not use the words disciple or follower or related; for him it's always about being "in Christ," the organic incorporation into Jesus' death and resurrection that God accomplishes in each of us at our baptism.

Again we need to remember 98% of the time for Paul, "law" means the sacrificial and dietary laws and circumcision. He does not mean the Ten Commandments or Jesus' Great Commandment capsule summary.

Although in Philippians 4:9 different translations read either "faith in Christ" or "faith of Christ," faith of Christ that's about Jesus infinite faithfulness probably is more accurate and almost definitely was Paul's intent.

Our organic incorporation into Jesus Christ? For Paul, the gospel is Death and Resurrection, so baptism into Jesus' death and resurrection re-creates us as a gospeled people, gospeled community, as gospeled individuals.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Covenant :: Lent 4

Rather than discuss one of the specific Revised Common Lectionary readings on Lent 4, I prepared an overview of covenant throughout the bible. As one of my seminary professors observed about our assigned reading of Delbert Hillers' Covenant: The History of a Biblical Idea, "If you don't understand this book, you won't understand your seminary education." I've linked to my blog post that then links to the book on Amazon.

Covenant in the Bible

Our English word covenant implies coming together = co+venire. A covenant is an agreement – contract – pact – compact – treaty with responsibilities and requirements for both parties. Covenants usually include a spoken or written promise and a sign of that promise; the physical sign can be sharing a meal or another type of ritual action; it can be an object that stands as a witness.

God's covenants are acts of grace! As Pastor Peg pointed out at the start of our pre-LA Marathon Saturday evening Bible study, God always reaches out for us; God always makes the first move.

God covenants with us and with all creation in the sacraments. As Christians – members of the body of Christ – we live in covenant with God, with one another, and with all creation. Church membership and Christian marriage are covenants.

Significant Biblical Covenants


Genesis 1 – 2:7; Psalm 104
from The Creation by James Weldon Johnson
And God stepped out on space, And he looked around and said:
I'm lonely—I'll make me a world.


Genesis 2:15-17
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."


Genesis 6:18 "But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you."
Noah continues – Genesis 9:8-17
12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth."


Genesis 15
5 God brought Abram outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And Abram believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
15:18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."

Moses / Sinai Covenant / Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:1-17
1 Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; [therefore] 3 you shall have no other gods befor me.

Deuteronomy 5:1-21
Moses reiterates Sinai/Horeb covenant


24:1-28 covenant renewal ceremony in the context of history of Israel starting with Abraham
24:15 "Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

24:16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18 and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God."


2 Samuel 7:1-16
7:16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
Psalm 89:19-37
89:28 Forever I will keep my steadfast love for David, and my covenant with him will stand firm.
29 I will establish his line forever, and his throne as long as the heavens endure.


31:31-34 Not so much covenant in itself as it foretells God's ultimate covenant of grace in Jesus Christ
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
33b I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.


1 Corinthians 11
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Luke 22
17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."