Michael will be back this Sunday, Feb. 17 (and Wednesday, Feb. 13 too for folks who are coming to Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm). He’s beginning a Lenten preaching series: “Walking with Jesus (as Opposition to Oppression).” He is based the sermon series on The Last Week by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.
Old First will dedicate the Sundays of Lent and Holy Week this year to a day by day, in in depth look at Jesus’ last week.
Too often, by the time we get to Holy Week, we’re so focused on getting to Easter, we miss the richness of all that happens in the seven days before. And most of us don’t make it to the church for services on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.
Or we get hung up on Good Friday, not just the incredible sorrow. Sometimes it becomes a stumbling block for faith… people can’t understand why God would need crucifixion. (Here’s a hint of where Michael is going: substitutionary atonements is not the only way to understand the cross!)
So to prepare for Easter, we’re going to take a step back, and look at the last week more closely, maybe even anew.
We’ll work from Mark’s Gospel, because, interestingly, he is the one evangelist who used time most deliberately in his retelling to Jesus arrival in Jerusalem and all that happened there.
Mark’s is also the first of the Gospels to be “translated” from the informal way the story of Jesus was being passed on orally to the written page (though Paul’s letters had already been written).
Michael’s suggestion won’t be that Mark, because he is first, is somehow closer to a truer understanding of the meaning of all this things. But Michael’s hope will be that excerpting the story from the “florilegium” we create of all four Gospels’ accounts, and all the other “preunderstandings” we bring from the traditions of interpretation since, and from our own faith, we might get a new perspective on what Jesus was about, we might deepen in our faith of what it means to follow him.
Maybe you want to make a commitment to hear all 7 sermons in the series, as your personal preparation to walk with Jesus and his beloved community through Lent and Holy Week on to the incredible manifestation of God’s love in Easter?
Feb. 17: “Resisting Empire without Resorting to Violence”
(you might want to read Mark 11:1-11 in preparation)
Feb. 24: “Rejection of Religion that Fails to Bring About Justice”
(you might want to read Mark 11:12-19 in preparation)
March 3: “Walking the Walk Works Better than Words or Worship”
(you might want to read Mark 11:20-13:37 in preparation)
March 10: “The Model Christian (She Wasn’t One of the Disciples)”
(you might want to read Mark 14:1-11 in preparation)
March 17: “The Table and Food: Jesus’ Insistence on God’s Justice For All”
(you might want to read Mark 14:12-15:47 in preparation)
March 24: “No Divine Necessity, But Human Inevitability”
(you might want to read Mark 15:1-47)
March 31: “A Personal Lord and Savior is also Political
(God’s Unstoppable Care for Each of Us Demands God Love the Whole World)”
(you might want to read Mark 16:1-8 in preparation)