Monthly Archives: March 2016

Easter Vigil — Rev. Karen Barfield

Romans 6:3-11
Luke 24:1-12

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifying Spirit. Amen.

Two weeks ago at our Wednesday night Eucharist, I had finished distributing the bread and was standing behind the altar waiting for James to finish with the chalice.

As I looked around, I saw a young boy with a beaming face turn to his mother and say:
“It is good.”

As I smiled to myself, I let what he said sink in.

It is good.

It is good that we should gather together to celebrate our life in Christ,
to be nourished by his Body and Blood,
to receive strength for our journeys.

Those words “it is good” then immediately took me back to the whole of creation…the true beginning of our story this evening.

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’: and there was light.

“And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.” (Gen 1:1-4)

God created the earth and the seas and saw that it was good.

And when God saw the earth put forth plants and fruit trees, God saw that it was good.

God made the two great lights: the sun and the moon, and it was good.

And God created the creatures of the sea and the winged birds, and it was good.

The earth brought forth living creatures of every kind, and it was good.

And God created humankind in God’s own image, and iit was good.

“God saw everything that [God] had made, and indeed, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31)

Tonight the story we retell reminds us of God’s redeeming Grace throughout the span of history…a history that begins with creation and ends with a call to proclaim and live into a new life, a new creation, through Jesus’ resurrection. Continue reading

Palm Sunday — Dr. Joel Marcus

Luke 19:28-40

Today marks a somewhat schizophrenic point in the liturgical calendar. This is Palm Sunday, a joyous celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the acclaim of the crowds, shortly before Passover in around AD 30. The keynote of the actual Palm Sunday Gospel passage from Luke, which we read outside before we processed into the church waving our palms, is “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” If the words “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest” ring a faint bell, they should, since they echo the beginning of the Gospel. There, at Jesus’ birth, a multitude of the heavenly host praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.” There is, then, an echo of the joyous Christmas story in our Palm Sunday celebration.

But, of course, our Palm Sunday celebration also takes place in the shadow of Jesus’ coming crucifixion. In the literary setting of the Gospel, that shadow may help explain the slight difference between the angels’ words in the birth narrative and the crowd’s words here. We hear no longer of “peace on earth” but of “peace in heaven”—perhaps because peace is about to flee from the earth, as Jesus is driven to the cross. And this shadedness of our Palm Sunday celebration is also why, after we entered the church, we heard the whole passion story read. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered the city where he would soon die. Continue reading