Easter is Big! We pull out all the stops on Easter Sunday. The music, the lessons, the communion, the preaching (God willing), even the congregation is big. It is a big and joyful day. Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed! We are taken up in the truth that nothing, not even death, can thwart the all-inclusive love and mighty power of God made known to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus our Sovereign and Savior. Nothing!
The season of Lent began on Valentines Day this year. As so many churches do we observed the occasion with an Ash Wednesday service and the imposition of ashes on our foreheads. The practice began around the 6th century in what is now France. It was the custom to mark with ashes the foreheads of those who had committed crimes against the community. In this way, they were always marked as sinners and excluded from important communal activities. Local monks believed such exclusion was contrary to the….
In the 5th chapter of Mark’s gospel Jairus, the leader of a synagogue, falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him to come and lay his hands on his daughter who “is at the point of death.” A large crowd then follows Jesus, pressing upon him, slowing his progress to aid the little girl. Heightening the urgency of the situation by Jesus’ further delay, the writer inserts the story of a woman who for twelve years has been suffering from hemorrhages.
The practice of making New Year’s resolutions, at the very least, dates back to the Babylonian Empire. At the start of each New Year, they would make promises to return borrowed items and pay their debts. The Romans began the New Year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Janus had two faces, one looking to the past and one into the future. By making sacrifice-backed promises they hoped to secure forgiveness for their wrongs of the past year and garner success for the new one.