Earth Day 1

Scripture Text:  Psalm 8

1O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

4what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

5Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

6You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,

7all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!


Earth Day 2Today is Earth day.  I’m not exactly sure what that is.  Somehow, it is the day we honor the earth, remember the earth, care for the earth, revere the earth.  Yes, we, we humans, who God gave dominion over the earth have apparently designated a day when we do that.  Dominion…we struggle with that word.  In our world of empires and winners, dominion for us connotes power.  It depicts the one who is on top, who has “won out” and can make all the decisions.  And so we have reaped and sowed and pumped and spilled and flattened and built and paved and thrown and used and have given little in return to this Creation that God breathed in being and then lovingly placed in our hands.  Dominion is not about power; it is about responsibility; it is about care; it is, ultimately, about love.  We have been given dominion over the works of God’s hands, over this Creation that God spoke from chaos.

Earth Day 3I wish I would be more caring of the earth.  Actually, I DO care.  It’s just so inconvenient sometimes.  It was much easier when I could recycle on the curb.  It’s hard to walk to work because there is a really, really busy road to cross and I have lots to carry.  And those plastic water bottles are just so easy to use.  But those are just excuses.  Dominion is not about convenience.  God gave us Creation for our sustenance and our life and, yes, even our pleasure.  But God did not give us Creation to use up, to deplete.  Remember, dominion is about responsibility.  Having dominion over something means loving it so much that you can do nothing less than give it the means to thrive.  And thrive it will, given the chance.

When God breathed Creation into being, there was nothing about it that was static or temporary.  In God’s breath was life.  And as God breathed, God also invited each and every creature into the ongoing creative activity.  So over time, the earth itself would move and groan and give way to shifts in its existence.  Plants would dig deep into the earth for their life and some would reach extraordinary heights while others would bloom for a season and then die away to replenish and nurture the other, letting go so that life could continue on.  Animals would scale or slither or walk or swim, some providing food and warmth for other creatures and some returning themselves to the earth after a time so that the soil would nurture life again.  And there would be some whose purpose seems to be to do nothing else but give companionship to those with dominion and remind them what it means to care, and what it means to love.Earth Day 4

I guess it’s good we have this day.  It’s always good to have a day not to finally do what we are called to do, but to remind us what it means to have dominion, remind us what it means to care and what it means to love.  The Psalm says that God made us a little lower than the angels and placed Creation in our hands.  Look around at what God has done and what God has placed in your hands. And so see and breathe and savor and plant and tend and water and feed and care and love.  And be in communion with all that God is and all that God has made.  And let it give back to you willingly with its gifts of life.  And us?  Well, we are made in the very image of God, the image of the One who gives life.  What does that look like?  What does it mean to give life?  It means to have dominion, to care, to love.  “How majestic is your Name in all the earth!”

If I spend enough time with the tiniest creature—even a caterpillar-I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature. (Meister Eckhart, ca. 1260-1327)

Click below for a wonderful photo prayer from the website of The United Methodist Church:

God’s Gift of the Earth: A Photo Prayer


FOR TODAY:  It is Earth Day.  Plant or feed or water or use.  But, whatever you do, take dominion in love.


Grace and Peace,


Wilderness Re-Created

14-11-02-#6-Sermon-Thin PlaceScripture Text:  John 20: 1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.


Whew!  We made it through the wilderness.  The tomb is open and all is good.  The morning was glorious, full of light and life and, finally, alleluias.  THE LORD IS RISEN!  THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!  The long Lenten wilderness journey is behind us.  Whew!  We made it!

But don’t you remember what kept happening in the wilderness?  In the wilderness, when we’re so unsure of where to go, when darkness seems to overtake us at times, when we often feel stripped of all we know, God comes.  God comes and re-creates in the most incredible ways.  God comes and brings light into darkness and life into death.  God comes and we are changed forever.  That happens in the wilderness when we no longer have the familiar and the comfortable to which we can hold.  Like Mary at the tomb, we are reminded to not hold on to what we know but rather to open our hands to the newness that God offers.

After Lent, we go back to our lives.  The time of giving up and emptying out is behind us.  So with what do we fill our lives?  If we go back and pick up where we left off, cramming our lives full of all the stuff that we just stored in the closet for the season, it will all be for naught.  But if we finally know that in all of God’s resurrecting, we, too, were raised.  If we remember that in all of God’s re-creating, even the wilderness, the chaos, was made new again.  If we find ourselves with eyes that see differently and hearts that beat in new ways, we will see that the wilderness is where we are meant to be.  We were never meant to settle into ways of thinking and be satisfied with routine ways of being.  Instead we are called to go forth into newness, into what we do not know, down roads that our faith calls us to follow.

It seems that God is continually calling us into places and times that we’ve never been, constantly empowering us to push the limits of our “comfort zones”, to embark on a larger and more all-encompassing journey toward a oneness with God.  It seems that God always calls us beyond where we are and beyond where we’ve been, not to the places that are planted and built and paved over with our preconceptions and biases but, rather, to places in the wilds of our lives with some vision of a faint pathway that we must pave and on which we must trudge ahead.  Perhaps, then, this wilderness journey is not one in which we launch out and pursue a new life but is instead one that brings us to the center of our own life, one that brings us home, but changed.

The end of all our exploring…will be to arrive where we started…and know the place for the first time.  (T.S. Eliot)

FROM NOW ON:  Make the wilderness journey your home.


Well, we have come to the end of the season.  I am honored that once again so many of my old friends joined me for the journey.  And along the way, there were others that I am so grateful chose to join us.  That’s what happens when you travel unfamiliar roads!  I’m going to take a break from the “every day” writing and will try to post at least once a week or so.  Stay tuned!  Keep journeying!  AND, email me and let me know YOUR thoughts!  I’m going to try to put my email in “code” below my name so the spammers don’t find me, but you are smart people and you can figure it out!  Thank you again for journeying with me!  Happy Easter!  WE ARE RISEN!  WE ARE RISEN INDEED!


Grace and Peace,


Shelli Williams 13 (run all those together), then [that funny little a with the circle],

In the Time Between

StillnessScripture Text:  Luke 23: 48-49

48And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.


What do we do with this day, this day after, this day before, this time between?  What do we do when our foundations have been shaken to their core and we wander, alone?  What do we do when we stand at a distance and can do nothing to fix it or hurry the healing along?  This IS the deepest part of the wilderness.  We begin to wander again but this time, we are alone.  This time we wander in grief and despair.  The darkness overcomes us.

Have you noticed that all of the Gospels after the frantic accounts of the Crucifixion fall silent on this day?  They all go from some rendition of laying Jesus in the tomb to some version of “after the Sabbath”.  There was, you see, nothing more to say about what had happened and the story had to stop and wait for itself to begin again.  You see, this IS the Sabbath, the time between work and work, the time between conversations, the time between life and life.  This IS the time to be silent, to sit in the deep wilderness and wait, wait again for life to dawn.

The truth is, there IS nothing to do with this day.  See, this day is not ours.  We’re so accustomed to days revolving around our lives that we have forgotten how to wait, how to just be.  Notice that tomorrow morning the Scripture will not give us the account of the Resurrection.  It will instead tell us the story of the revelation of what has happened, the finding of the empty tomb.  We were not there for the Resurrection.  While we were grieving and wondering and trying to find our way in this new wilderness, God was re-creating in the darkness.  God seems to be drawn to the darkness, to the place where the Light most needs to be.

So, in this darkness, in this silence, know that you are not alone.  Know that God is re-creating everything even now.  Know that this is the time to just be still, to just be still and know.

My ego is like a fortress.  I have built its walls stone by stone to hold out the invasion of the love of God.  But I have stayed here long enough.  There is light over the barriers.  O my God…I let go of the past.  I withdraw my grasping hand from the future.  And in the great silence of this moment, I alertly rest my soul. (Howard Thurman)


FOR TODAY:  It is finished.  Just be still.  Just be still and know.

Grace and Peace,


Mary’s Song

Lectionary Text: John [18:1-19:15] 16-19 [20-25] 26-30 [31-42]
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified…So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew* is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,* the King of the Jews.’…When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I am standing here but it does not seem real.  I want to hold him, to comfort him, to cradle him in my arms like I did when he was a baby.  But the guards are holding us back.  Oh, please, I don’t think I can stand anymore.  But I must stand.  He has to know that I am here with him.  He has to know how much I love him, how much I hurt for him, how I would trade places with him if I could.

All of the memories are flooding into my head.  I remember that night when the angel came to me.  I did not understand.  I was so afraid.  But I knew I had to say yes.  I had no idea what I was agreeing to do.  And then for nine months I carried the baby in my womb. It was joyous.  In one respect, it was just like any other pregnancy, like the others I had after that.  And yet, it was different.  I always felt like there was someone there with me, guiding me, loving me, helping me through it.  It’s hard to explain.  The birth itself was hard, downright scary in fact.  We traveled to Bethlehem.  It was so far, so painful.  And then when we finally arrived, it was so crowded.  The streets were wild.  I remember that nice man who let us bed down in the room that housed his animals.  I remember the first time I looked into his eyes–those dark, compassionate eyes.  Even as a baby, he had compassionate, loving eyes.  He was special.  I knew that he was special when he came into the world.  I just didn’t know how wonderful he would be.  I remember the day that my cousin’s son baptized him.  He didn’t know I was there.  I hid behind the trees.  After all, he was an adult; he didn’t need his mother always looking on.  And I remember when his ministry started.  He was so brave, so fearless.  It scared me at times.  I thought something like this might happen.  But I am so incredibly proud of him.  I am so proud of what he became, what he made others become that he touched in his life.  He was special.

No, this does not seem real.  Somebody needs to help him.  Please, please, he’s asking for water.  Please, someone give him water.  I’m afraid this is it.  I’m afraid he cannot take it anymore.  I’m afraid he’s going to give up.  Perhaps it would be better.  Perhaps it is better to let go…Oh, how I love him! How I want to go back, to hold him just once more!  It is over.  It is all over.  He is gone.  What was this for?  I don’t understand.  Why the angel?  Why the star?  Why did it all happen if it was going to end this way?  What does God have in mind for him?  He promised me that it would be for good.  He promised me that it would be OK.  I guess I have to believe that, hold on to it, hope.  Someday maybe I’ll see it.

I wanted to stay here until they gave me his body, but I don’t think I can.  There are others here too–Jesus’ friend Mary, who has always been so lovely toward me, and the disciples.  I hope they all realized how much he loved them, how he would do anything for them.  The rain is really coming down now and the skies are angry, angry like me.  The wind is blowing so hard, I can no longer stand against it.  There are rocks and debris sliding down the mountain above us.  It seems that the world is breaking apart.  Will the world ever know what it has lost?  Will the world ever know what it did?  Will God ever forgive this world for killing my son, their son?  Someone just told me that the temple curtain has split in two.  It is as if the holy has spilled into the world.  I can’t explain it.

My son came into this world wrapped in so much hope.  He was supposed to change the world.  He was supposed to open the eyes of the world to what it could be, what it could become.  Is it all for naught?  Or, someday, will we finally understand why he came?  Someday, I know, that God will make it make sense.  But, now, today, I am grieving more than I could know.  But what a gift I’ve had!  What an incredible gift that was taken away all too soon!  I have to leave this place, as hard as it is.  Shabbat is starting in a few minutes.  I must go prepare, light the candles, and usher in the joy of the Sabbath.  I must go rest.  I need it.  I need it to resurrect my hurting soul.  God will be with me.  Let it be.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”  (Luke 1:46-55)

Shalom, my dear Son!  May God’s Light stay with you!

The point of Holy Week is to empty.  It is the completion of the process of Lent in which we have made room for our death…Resurrection is finding that place that is just for us.  In the beginning of Holy Week, we find ourselves spiritually homeless.  But when we are homeless, we are ready to be sheltered.  The shelter from death, in life, is on its way.  We don’t need to fear the emptiness. (Donna Schaper)


FOR TODAY:  On this day when we remember the Crucifixion, let us grieve for awhile and then keep vigil with the expectant hope of whatever it is God will do next!

Grace and Peace,



jesus-washing-the-feet-calvin-carterScripture Text:  John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them…


31…“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Tonight is the night.  Tonight is the night when death begins to cross the threshold into life, when Jesus begins to slip away from the disciples and from his life here on earth and surrenders to what will be, surrenders to where this journey will take him.  But before all that, before the history of the world changes, before the Divine comes once again flooding into the earth, before Jesus takes that last walk to the Cross, he gets up and ties a towel around him, kneels, and washes the disciples’ feet.  Think about what an intimate act that is in the middle of this Passover crowd.

The first time I participated in a foot washing, I have to admit I was a little reticent at first.  Wouldn’t this be uncomfortable?  After all, washing feet is very intimate.  Yep!  That would be the point!  I remember washing one woman’s feet.  Her name was Caroline.  When I picked up her feet, feet that had had a hard life early on in her native Nigeria, feet that had seen wars and conflicts, feet that had known deep grief in the death of her husband when she was a young woman and deep joy at the lives of her four sons who she had raised alone, I felt life.  It was palpable, almost scary, as if it shot through me.  There, holding in my hand, was not a foot, but life, God-given life, rich life.  I was holding her humanity—and mine.  And then Caroline started praying aloud in her native language.  It was incredible.  It was transcendent.  I understood what it all meant.  I understood why Jesus knelt and washed the disciples’ feet.  Washing feet calls one to serve; having one’s feet washed calls one to be vulnerable, to let go, to surrender.  Foot-washing is life.  It is a way of entering each other, of knowing each other, of sharing each other. If you know these things you are blessed if you do them.

When Jesus was finished, he got up, removed the towel, and looked at the disciples.  He had tears in his eyes.  He knew this would be the last time that he would share in this way with them.  This would, after all, be the last night that Jesus could share humanity with them.  He knew that and now they did too.  Sharing humanity…such a rich, profound, joyous, sometimes painful experience.  Jesus showed us what being fully human looks like—not “only” human, but “fully” human, the way God created us to be.  Being fully human means compassion; it means service; it means vulnerability; it means connection; it means love; it means life.  It would be impossible to maintain the barriers we build between us if we were fully human.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think being fully human means that we sit around with permanent smiles on our faces and sing “Kum-ba-yah” nonstop.  (Nothing against that song.)  Being human means that you feel—feel joy, sorrow, hurt, anger, etc.  So being fully human means that you feel them fully, right?  You feel them and then you take your shoes off and wash each other’s feet so that they can feel them too.  Wow!  Let’s have Congress wash each other’s feet.  Not only would that stay a few news cycles, it might even get them to talk or even listen.  Let’s have all of the leaders from every country meet for a day of old-fashioned footwashing.  I wonder what the world would look like if we shared our humanity.

Jesus praying in the gardenSo on this night of nights, when death looms up ahead, and friends are sharing their lasts, remember what Jesus taught us—how to be human, fully human, how to be real, how to be who God envisioned we would be.  Remember that Jesus taught us how to feel, how to live, how to love. If you know these things you are blessed if you do them. And after all these things, Jesus turned and looked to God knowing that the end was here.  The soldiers came and took him down the path.  He turned and looked back at them—those he had called, those he had led, those he loved.  He loved them all, even the one who had just kissed his life away.  They would be fine.  They were not alone.  They had each other.  They were on their way to being free, to being fully human.  “Take this cup from me.  I have done what I came to do.  Now I look to you.”

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

FOR TODAY: First, take your shoes off. And be fully human.

Grace and Peace,




Scripture Text:  John 13: 21-32

21After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.


What was Judas thinking?  Did he really just go completely bad or was it something else?  Had he somehow convinced himself that he could control the situation, that he could somehow force something to happen so that Jesus would have the chance to show once and for all that he was the Messiah?  I don’t know.  I guess we’ll never really know.  The Gospel According to Judas depicts it as if it was the plan all along, somehow, I suppose, in a fail-hearted attempt to save Judas from eons of blame.  But this passage from John’s Gospel, written in hindsight, doesn’t leave much room for speculation.  Judas becomes the quintessential bad boy, the pinnacle of all badness in the world.  Dante would later relegate him to the 9th circle of the inferno, destined to spend eternity in the bowels of hell with Brutus and Cassius (I suppose, then, putting Julius Caesar’s murder on equal footing with Jesus’!  How odd!)

I actually feel sorry for Judas.  I mean, don’t you think the world is a little too quick to jump on him and portray him as the son of darkness.  And we are ready to follow along and release the other disciples from any wrongdoing.  (After all…it was apparent, they really didn’t get what was going on anyway!)  I really do think that Judas loved Jesus.  Think about this as a possibility:  Soldiers come to Judas in the dark of night.  This had to be scary.  After all, the tension of the week is mounting.  “Show us Jesus; show us your Lord.”  Judas hesitates.  “Why are you afraid?  Because if Jesus really IS Lord, he can prove it…he can get out of it…just show us.  And here…here’s some money for your trouble.”  You know, thinks Judas, they’re right.  He is Lord.  He can get out of it.  And then, as the writer of Matthew’s Gospel account depicts, when Jesus was condemned to death, Judas could not face himself.  What had he done? How could he live with it?  How could he ever be forgiven?  And so he hanged himself, a victim of his own choices and his own action.

And as for the blameless others, think about Simon Peter, so eager to be a part of Jesus’ “inner circle”…but, three times he was asked…and three times he denied even knowing Jesus.  Is it that much worse to betray a trust then to deny that trust altogether?  We assume not, because we are much more likely to be the culprits of this denial, going our own way, following the ways of the world.  But surely, that can’t be as bad!  So Judas remains the fall guy, the poster child for the worst sin imaginable, and the focus of all the blame for crucifying the Savior of the world.

Do we really think that it was ALL Judas’ fault?  Was it Judas’ kiss that started the cycle that would end on the Cross?  I don’t think we’re that naïve.  All of the disciples played a part.  All of society played apart.  All of us play a part.  We are all betrayers; we are all deniers; we are all beloved children of God.  So, is this story supposed to be about betrayal or about forgiveness?  None of us are innocent.  All of us are forgiven.  Holy Thursday does not end in betrayal; it ends in love.  Perhaps rather than trying to lay blame for what happened at the Cross, perhaps rather than using Judas as the scapegoat for all of our own sins, we should let the Cross be what it is—a place of healing, a place of reconciliation, a place of forgiveness, a place of life recreated.  Because of the Cross, all of us are invited to the table—even the Judases among us.


The soldiers are there with their swords and lanterns. The high priest’s slave is whimpering over his wounded ear. There can be no doubt in Jesus’ mind what the kiss of Judas means, but it is Judas that he is blessing, and Judas that he is prepared to go out and die for now. Judas is only the first in a procession of betrayers two thousand years long, If Jesus were to exclude him from love and forgiveness, to one degree or another he would have to exclude us all. Maybe this is all in the mind of Jesus as he stands with his eyes closed, or possibly there is nothing in his mind at all. As he feels his friend’s lips graze his cheek for an instant, maybe he feels nothing else…It is not the Lamb of God and his butcher who meet here, but two old friends embracing in a garden knowing that they will never see one another again. (Frederick Buechner)

“I Hope You Find It” (Cher)


FOR TODAY:  In the Name of Christ, you are forgiven—all of you.  Imagine yourself forgiven.


Grace and Peace,