Thursday, March 18, 2010

Preaching Materials for March 28th, 2010

R U M O R S # 594
Ralph Milton’s E-zine for people of faith with a sense of humor
2010-03-21

March 21st, 2010

NECESSARY PAIN

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Motto:
"A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A DEEP THANKS – The notes and letters following my announcement last week that Rumors was ending, have been overwhelming. I started writing individual responses to them, but I had to give up. I ran out of time and emotional energy. There were just so many. And a simple acknowledgement wouldn’t do because so many of them were deeply moving.
I am grateful for all of them. I am also grateful that very few of you tried to talk me into changing my mind. Even with the depth of feeling expressed in some of them, I know the decision to stop now is the right one.
The end of Rumors does not mean the end of Jim Taylor’s “Soft Edges”. Jim will continue his wise and useful comments, and you can subscribe directly by sending him a note at:
jimt@quixotic.ca
While you’re at it, ask him to also subscribe you to “Sharp Edges,” which is much more topical and political.
When you receive these publications directly from him, you also receive a lively dialogue he caries on with various people who write to him in response to his columns.
The last issue of Rumors containing our comments on the biblical story will be next week, which will have the material for Easter Sunday. You will also receive an Easter Sunday edition, but it will not contain any commentary for the Sunday following Easter. It will mostly be a good-bye and thank-you edition.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The Story – the passion narrative
Rumors – reliving the pain
Soft Edges – following in the footsteps of the saints
Bloopers – love hurting people
Mirabile Dictu! – reasons
Bottom of the Barrel – tortured logic
Scripture Story as Reader’s Theatre – Jim Taylor’s passion narrative
Stuff – (read this only if you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe or are wondering about permissions. That sort of boring stuff.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rib Tickler – The preacher had a temperance sermon in full bore.
“It’s the taverns where all the money goes. Who drives the biggest, newest car in town? The tavern keeper! Whose wife wears the finest clothes in town? The tavern keeper! Who sits on his front porch eating chocolates and sipping fine wine? The tavern keeper! And who pays for all this? You do!”
As the congregation filed out of church, a young couple shook the pastor’s hand warmly. “Thank you so much, Reverend,” they said. “Your sermon helped us decide on our future.”
“Wonderful. You have chosen to give up strong drink!”
“Well, no,” said the couple. “We’re going into the tavern business.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Next Week’s Readings – These are the readings you may hear in church this coming Sunday, March 28th, which is traditionally called Palm Sunday. But more and more congregations are moving toward calling it “Passion Sunday” or the “Liturgy of the Passion.”
The readings for Palm Sunday are:
* Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
* Luke 19:28-40.
The readings for Passion Sunday are:
* Isaiah 50:4-9a
* Psalm 31:9-16
* Philippians 2:5-11
* Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49

The Story (from the Revised Common Lectionary) – * Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49

Jim says –
The two Luke options are huge – 114 verses in one, 49 in the other. Neither reading will fit into the Sesame Street sound-bites we’re accustomed to.
I urge you to tell the whole story. This story doesn’t need embellishment or explanation – it just needs telling. (For the congregation I belong to, I broke it up so that it can be read by people playing roles. You can find this dramatization at below under “Reader’s Theatre.”
Although this is one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, I’m amazed how often church attenders have never heard the whole story, told in a single sequence. It’s always been broken up into smaller mouthfuls, sugar coated, easily digested without upset.
So tell the whole story. Don’t leave anything out. You might be surprised how intently your people will listen to it.

Ralph says –
It wasn’t until the 14th and 15th century that the resurrection of Jesus became the major focus of the Jesus story. Up until that time, it was the passion – the crucifixion – which was the focus. The resurrection story was there, of course, but it was something of a post script to the main event. The vision experienced by my friend Julian of Norwich (1341-141?) was of Christ on the Cross and some of her graphic descriptions would almost rival Mel Gibson’s.
The gospel writers didn’t fall into the trap of gratuitous gore. They told the story simply and well. And without this story, the Easter resurrection narrative loses its drama. Without this story, we may forget that the Christian journey involves pain, sacrifice, death.
There is a tendency in our churches to sanitize the gospels. We turn the Christmas story into a lovely legend of Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus into the world in a sweet-smelling, sanitary stable, without pain or danger. And many of our folks would like to skip right from the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to the resurrection. Skip over anything unpleasant.
So, as Jim says, let’s tell the whole story. Tell it simply. Tell it well.

Isaiah 50:4-9a – The writer of Isaiah, whether there was one, two or three of them, were poets. This passage is not a prediction of anything – it is a poem about the writer’s relationship with God and the community in which he lives.
There’s lots about this poem that we don’t understand, and that’s OK. Poems are like music – not meant to be understood but to be received into our consciousness.

Psalm 31:9-16 – paraphrased by Jim Taylor
Kids are cruel. Children who are unusually skinny or fat, who have poor hearing or thick glasses or speech impediments, often have to live with merciless teasing.
Perhaps you can still hear echoes of that treatment in your life.
9 I feel lousy, Lord.
My head aches, my heart aches, my whole body aches.
10 My life is a sea of suffering.
Night after night, I toss in torment;
I cannot sleep; I waste away with weariness.
11 I have become a laughing stock.
My enemies scorn me, my neighbors avoid me–
even people who pass me in the street turn away from me.
12 My mind has turned to jelly.
I might as well be dead; I'm a fraction of my former self.
13 I can hear them whispering about me.
They put their heads together;
Behind my back, they plot to make me look foolish.
14 But they won't grind me down, Lord, for I trust in you.
I know that you are my God.
15 Even when I can't help myself, you will guard me;
My survival is safe in your hands.
16 Don't turn away from me too–
If you love me, rescue me from my torment.
From: Everyday Psalms
Wood Lake Publications.
For details, go to www.woodlakebooks.com

Philippians 2:5-11 – This passage is almost certainly a hymn or a creed that was used in the early Christian Church. Paul quite often quotes from the liturgical heritage that was developing among those first Christians.
Like hymns and creeds generally, this passage condenses a whole life of Christian devotion into a few words. Which is fine as long as that life and that faith is shared by those reciting or singing this passage. The words become symbols of something larger and more powerful.
It’s a bit like the cross that hangs over the communion table in our church. That cross carries a whole world of meaning for those of us who worship there, but explaining it in a few words to a non-Christian would be at least futile and probably counter-productive.

There are four stories for children related to the Palm/Passion narrative in the Lectionary Story Bible, Year C. They could be used individually, or as a longer narrative with breaks for children’s restless bodies. They begin on page 105.
There are children’s stories for every Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary, in “The Lectionary Story Bible,” by yours truly. The marvellous illustrations are by Margaret Kyle. There’s at least one story for each Sunday, usually two, and occasionally three. Click the main Wood Lake Publications website at www.woodlakebooks.com, or click on the following address which takes you directly to the “Lectionary Story Bible.”
http://tinyurl.com/2lonod
Or, if you live in Canada or the US, simply pick up the phone and dial 1 800 663 2775.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rumors – There’s a church in Jerusalem called St. Peter in Gallicantu. St. Peter at the Crowing of the Rooster.
There are a number of interesting things to see there – rock-cut structures, cellars, cisterns, stables, most of it dating to the Herodian period (37BCE - 70CE). From the balcony of the church you get a wonderful view of the City of David and the three valleys on which Jerusalem is built.
Tradition says this is where Peter went and “wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75) when the crowing of the rooster reminded him of his betrayal. It is also, according to another tradition, the house of Caiaphas the high priest, where Jesus was taken following his arrest.
None of that has anything in the way of historical credibility, and that is not why our little group of scholars went there. We spent our time in one of those cellars, which had been used in the first century as a prison. For the convenience of tourists like me, new steps had been cut down into it, so we could walk down and up again easily. But the original entrance was simply a hole, about two feet across, up at the ceiling. Prisoners were lowered, or perhaps simply thrown, down into that prison. There are no windows. No opening, except for that one small hole in the ceiling about 20 feet up.
There is some graffiti on the wall. There are marks which may have been made by a prisoner keeping track of the days. On the wall are iron rings, to which prisoners would have been manacled.
It was a good place to read the story of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. A prison is a good place to hear the passion narrative. I stood there against the white, sandstone wall, holding on to one of those iron rings, trying to imagine what that kind of suffering might be like.
I spent a lot of time with the medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich, when I was writing “Julian’s Cell” and translating her book called “Showings.” Julian prayed that she would experience the suffering of Christ on the cross – not as an observer at the foot of the cross but as one who could feel the tear of the nails and the agony of that barbaric death. As I read Julian’s words, I remembered standing in that old prison, struggling to imagine pain that I had never even come near. Beyond a few minor injuries and illnesses, I have never known pain. Or at least not physical pain.
The pain of a heart that feels as if it is breaking in two – that I have known. Certainly that kind of sorrow may have been the greater pain for Jesus to bear, but how can I know?
I don’t know. And Julian in the end, didn’t know either. To some degree she and I can imagine, but we can never know.
But we can listen to that ancient story of one who cared enough for truth and beauty and love to die for it. If we listen deeply – not just with our heads – but savor all the words and let them soak down deep into the tender places of our souls, then perhaps, just for a moment, we will sense the desperation that was Calvary.
When we have done that, we can walk toward that tomb, with tears still in our eyes and pray for Easter morning.
And it is through those tears, like Mary of Magdala, we may see the risen Christ.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Soft Edges – by Jim Taylor
Following in the Footsteps of the Saints
St. Patrick is not the only Irish saint, although he is by far the best known. When Joan and I went on a “pilgrimage” through Ireland four years ago, we met St. Brendan.
Not in person, of course. According to legend, St. Brendan reached North America about 500 years before the Vikings. In 1978, author Tim Severin showed that Brendan’s voyage was possible by sailing a leather-clad boat, like the one Brendan would have used, across the Atlantic to Newfoundland.
For 15 centuries, pilgrims have come to the Dingle Peninsula, as far west as you can go in Ireland, to plod the pilgrims path from the sea to the top of Mount Brandon – the ancient Irish weren’t much concerned about consistency in spelling
Part of the walk was fairly easy, across a ridge, down the other side. Our group merely had to watch out for sheep droppings, slippery mud, and an incredibly prickly plant called gorse, furze, or whins.
The other part involved climbing Mount Brandon, which rises roughly 3100 feet straight up from sea level. That may not sound high, compared to the Rockies, for example. But when I hike in the Rockies, I typically start at about 6,000 feet, and seldom climb more than another 2,000 feet.
Six of our larger group climbed Mount Brandon. The historic trail zigzagged up the rugged slopes, marked by weathered white crosses – the traditional “Stations of the Cross.” But fog had rolled in from the sea. From each station, we could rarely see the next one ahead. We never did see the top, until we got there.
We just tramped on, following a route marked out by who knows how many millions of pious feet.
Later, after we rejoined the main pilgrimage group, we were asked to identify symbols that had made this part of our pilgrimage memorable.
My friend David Smith, now a retired minister living in the Fraser Valley, chose the fog as his symbol.
It was an eerie feeling, he explained, climbing into the fog. We could not see where we were going; we just had to carry on in faith that the next station, the next marker, would show up eventually. We had to trust the people who had gone before us, trust that they knew the way, even if we didn’t.
My symbol was the footprints on the trail. We all wore modern hiking boots, or some equivalent. But I kept feeling that underneath the marks of modern heels lay the footsteps of people wearing sandals, perhaps. Or crude leather moccasins. Even bare feet, toes gripping the slippery earth, the sharp gravel, the tufts of lush emerald grass...
For both of us, these images spoke not just of the day’s hike, but of life, of faith. We cannot always see ahead to our destination, nor how we will get there. We have to trust those who have gone before, as they trusted those who went before them.
Even if we travel our paths through life with the help of science and technology that was not available to our predecessors.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Bloopers, Boggles, Typos and Stuff – from the file:
* Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.* Remember the youth department rummage sale for Summer Camp. We have a Gents bicycle, also two ladies for sale, in good running order.* The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment and gracious hostility.
* At Easter, the choir did the cantata “Olivet to Calvary.” It was noted in the local paper as “All of It to Calgary.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wish I’d Said That! – For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.
- Stuart Chase

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.
- James Russell Lowell

No one, who tries to pursue an ideal, is without enemies.
Author unknown

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Mirabile Dictu! – (Latin for “Reasons!”)
I made up my mind never to go to another football game. I’ve attended faithfully for many years, but now I’ve had it. Here are my reasons.
1) I was taken to too many games by my parents when I was small.
2) The games are always played when I want to do something else.
3) Every time I go to a game, somebody asks for money.
4) The other people who go to games hardly ever speak to me, and the coach can’t remember my name.
5) The seats are too hard. Besides, sometimes I have to sit down front at the 50 yard line.
6) There are hypocrites in the crowd. Some of them just come because they think it’s a good place to be seen. Others just want to see what people are wearing.
7) The referee says things I don’t agree with.
8) The band plays numbers I’ve never heard before.
9) Some games last too long and I get home too late.
10) I have a good book on football, so I’ll just stay home and read it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Bottom of the Barrel – Fire trucks have four wheels and eight firefighters, and four plus eight equals twelve. There are twelve inches in a foot. A foot is a ruler. Queen Elizabeth is a ruler. Queen Elizabeth is one of the largest ships on the seven seas. Seas have fish. Fish have fins. The Finns fought the Russians. The Russians are red. Fire trucks are always rushin’. Therefore, fire trucks are usually red.
If you think this is wild, you ought to hear some people trying to explain why they are not attending church on Sunday morning.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Scripture Story as Reader’s Theatre – This Jim Taylor’s development of a Reader’s Theatre presentation of the Passion Sunday narrative. This is reader’s theatre, so it works best if you don’t have the actors trying to go through the actions. The drama is carried by their voices. I would have them standing behind music stands, with the narrator in the pulpit or lectern.
Because this is very long for a scripture reading, it might be good to have the congregation stand and sing a verse or two of a hymn between the various sections.


Luke 22:14-23:56 (The Message)

Scene 1: The Upper Room

Requires readers for

Narrator

Jesus

Peter

Other disciples (at least two)

Narrator: 14-16When it was time, Jesus sat down, all the apostles with him. He said,

Jesus: "You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It's the last one I'll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God."

Narrator: 17-18Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said,

Jesus: "Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I'll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives."

Narrator: Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying,

Jesus: "This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory."

Narrator: 20He did the same with the cup after supper, saying,

Jesus: "This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you. 21-22"Do you realize that the hand of the one who is betraying me is at this moment on this table? It's true that the Son of Man is going down a path already marked out—no surprises there. But for the one who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man, this is doomsday."

Narrator: 23They immediately became suspicious of each other and began quizzing one another, wondering who might be about to do this. 24-26Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened:

Jesus: "Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant. 27-30"Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You'd rather eat and be served, right? But I've taken my place among you as the one who serves. And you've stuck with me through thick and thin. Now I confer on you the responsibility that God conferred on me, so you can eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibilities among the congregations of God's people. 31-32"Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start."

Peter: 33"Master, I'm ready for anything with you. I'd go to jail for you. I'd die for you!"

Jesus: "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me."

Narrator: 35Then Jesus said,

Jesus: "When I sent you out and told you to travel light, to take only the bare necessities, did you get along all right?"

Disciples: "Certainly! We got along just fine."

Jesus: 36-37"This is different. Get ready for trouble. Look to what you'll need; there are difficult times ahead. Pawn your coat and get a sword. What was written in Scripture, 'He was lumped in with the criminals,' gets its final meaning in me. Everything written about me is now coming to a conclusion."

A disciple: 38"Look, Master, we have two swords!"

Jesus: "Enough of that; no more sword talk!"


Scene 2: Garden of Gethsemane

Requires readers for

Narrator

Jesus

Disciples (at least two)

Narrator: 39-40Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, Jesus said,

Jesus: "Pray that you don't give in to temptation."

Narrator: 41-44He pulled away from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed,

Jesus: "Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?"

Narrator: At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. Jesus prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

45-46He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said,

Jesus: "What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won't give in to temptation."

Narrator: 47-48No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus challenged him:

Jesus: "Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"

Narrator: 49-50When those with him realized what was happening, they asked,

Disciples: "Master, shall we fight?"

Narrator: One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest's servant and cut off his right ear.

51Jesus: "Let them be. Even in this."

Narrator: Then, touching the servant's ear, he healed him.

52-53Jesus spoke to those who had come as spectators—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders:

Jesus: "What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I've been with you in the Temple and you've not so much as lifted a hand against me. But do it your way—it's a dark night, a dark hour."

Narrator: 54-56Arresting Jesus, they marched him off and took him into the house of the Chief Priest.


Scene 3: At the Chief Priest’s House

Requires readers for

Narrator

Maid

Peter

Two men

Narrator: Peter followed, but at a safe distance. In the middle of the courtyard some people had started a fire and were sitting around it, trying to keep warm. One of the serving maids sitting at the fire noticed him, then took a second look and said,

Maid: "This man was with him!"

Narrator: Peter denied it,

Peter: "Woman, I don't even know him."

Narrator: 58A short time later, someone else noticed him.

Man 1: "You're one of them."

Peter: "Man, I am not."

Narrator: 59About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant:

Man 2: "He's got to have been with him! He's got 'Galilean' written all over him."

Peter: "I don't know what you're talking about."

Narrator: At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him:

Jesus: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."

Narrator: Peter went out and cried and cried and cried.


Scene 4: The trial of Jesus

Requires readers for

Narrator

Jesus

Soldier

Pilate

3 Priests (can also serve as Crowd)

Narrator: 63-65The men in charge of Jesus began poking fun at him, slapping him around. They put a blindfold on him and taunted,

Soldier: "Who hit you that time?"

Narrator: They were having a grand time with him. 66-67When it was morning, the religious leaders of the people and the high priests and scholars all got together and brought him before their High Council. They demanded,

Priest 1: "Are you the Messiah?"

Narrator: 67-69Jesus answered,

Jesus: "If I said yes, you wouldn't believe me. If I asked what you meant by your question, you wouldn't answer me. So here's what I have to say: From here on the Son of Man takes his place at God's right hand, the place of power."

70Priest 2: "So you admit your claim to be the Son of God?"

Jesus: "You're the ones who keep saying it."

Narrator: 71But they had made up their minds,

Priest 3: "Why do we need any more evidence? We've all heard him as good as say it himself."

Narrator: 1-2Then they all took Jesus to Pilate and began to bring up charges against him. They said,

Priest 1: "We found this man undermining our law and order, forbidding taxes to be paid to Caesar, setting himself up as Messiah-King."

Pilate: "Is this true that you're 'King of the Jews'?"

Jesus: "Those are your words, not mine."

Narrator: 4Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd,

Pilate: "I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me."

Narrator: 5But they were vehement.

Priest 1: "He's stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching.

Priest 2: He’s disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea.

Priest 3: He's a dangerous man, endangering the peace."

Narrator: 6-7When Pilate heard that, he asked,

Pilate: "Oh. So he's a Galilean?"

Narrator: Realizing that Galileans came under Herod's jurisdiction, he passed the buck to Herod, who just happened to be in Jerusalem for a few days. 8-10Herod was delighted when Jesus showed up. He had wanted for a long time to see him, he'd heard so much about him. He hoped to see him do something spectacular. He peppered him with questions. Jesus didn't answer—not one word. But the high priests and religion scholars were right there, saying their piece, strident and shrill in their accusations. 11-12Mightily offended, Herod turned on Jesus. His soldiers joined in, taunting and jeering. Then they dressed him up in an elaborate king costume and sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became thick as thieves. Always before they had kept their distance. 13-16Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others and said,

Pilate: "You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge. And neither did Herod, for he has sent him back here with a clean bill of health. It's clear that he's done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. I'm going to warn him to watch his step and let him go."

Narrator: 18-20At that, the crowd went wild:

Crowd: "Kill him! Give us Barabbas!"

Narrator: (Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again. 21But the crowd kept shouting back,

Crowd: "Crucify! Crucify him!"

Narrator: 22Pilate tried a third time.

Pilate: "But for what crime? I've found nothing in him deserving death. I'm going to warn him to watch his step and let him go."

Narrator: 23-25But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down. Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. He released the man thrown in prison for rioting and murder, and gave Jesus to the Temple authorities to do whatever they wanted.


Scene 5: The Cross

Requires readers for

Narrator

Jesus

Soldier

2 criminals

Crowd members

Narrator: 26-31As they led him off, they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. At one point Jesus turned to the women and said,

Jesus: "Daughters of Jerusalem, don't cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. The time is coming when they'll say, 'Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!' Then they'll start calling to the mountains, 'Fall down on us!' calling to the hills, 'Cover us up!' If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they'll do with deadwood?"

Narrator: 32Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution. 33When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. 34-35And Jesus prayed,

Jesus: "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."

Narrator: Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting,

Crowd: "He saved others. Let's see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen One—ha!"

Narrator: 36-37The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine:

Soldier: "So you're King of the Jews! Save yourself!"

Narrator: 38Printed over him was a sign: “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him:

Criminal 1: "Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!"

Narrator: 40-41But the other one made him shut up:

Criminal 2: "Have you no fear of God? You're getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this."

Narrator: 42Then the second criminal said,

Criminal 2: "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom."

Jesus: "Don't worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise."

Narrator: 44-46By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. The Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly,

Jesus: "Father, I place my life in your hands!"

Narrator: Then he breathed his last. 47When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God:

Soldier: "This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!"

Narrator: 48-49All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil. 50-54There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin. 55-56The women who had been companions of Jesus from Galilee followed along. They saw the tomb where Jesus' body was placed. Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. They rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Information and Stuff – (Read this section only if you want to know about subscribing, unsubscribing or quoting stuff from Rumors.) It would be nice if you could give Rumors a plug in your bulletin or newsletter. Please invite your friends (and even your enemies) to subscribe. There's no charge: RUMORS is free and it comes to your e-mail box every Sunday morning. Just send your friends the instructions to subscribe [below], and include an invitation to join the list ... perhaps something like this: “There’s a lively and fun newsletter called RUMORS which is available at no cost on the net. It’s for ‘Christians with a sense of humor’.” Please add the instructions to subscribe [below]. If you have a friend you think would enjoy Rumors, and you’d rather not give them the subscribing instructions below, send me an e-mail at ralphmilton at shaw.ca. (change the “at” to the “at” sign – you know the “a” with the circle around it. I’m trying to slow down the spammers.) Then give me the e-mail address of your friend. If you are using something from Rumors in your sermon, give credit only as appropriate, without stopping the sermon dead in its tracks. I am delighted when Rumors is useful in the life and work of the church. As long as it is within your congregation or parish, you don’t need permission. You are welcome to use the stuff in church bulletins or newsletters. Please say where it came from, and please invite people to subscribe to RUMORS. An appropriate credit line would be; “From Ralph Milton's RUMORS, a free Internet ‘e-zine’ for Christians with a sense of humor." ... and please be sure to include these instructions to subscribe to RUMORS: To Subscribe:* Send an e-mail to: rumors-subscribe@joinhands.com
* Don't put anything else in that e-mail
To Unsubscribe:
* Send an e-mail to: rumors-unsubscribe@joinhands.com
* Don’t put anything else in that e-mail* If you are changing e-mail addresses, and your old address will no longer be in service, you do not need to unsubscribe. The sending computer will try a few times, and then give up..~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*Please Write – If you respond, react, think about, freak-out, or otherwise have things happen in your head as a result of reading the above, please send a note to: ralphmilton at shaw.ca.
Who knows, I might quote you in a future issue of RUMORS.All material is copyright © Ralph Milton.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

No comments: