Tag Archives: Jesus

SHE REPLIES By Patricia Schutz, MDiv Distributed Learning Student

She Replies

Let the children be fed first; it is not fair to take the children’s food
and throw it to the dogs.*

Did she catch him unaware,
in an all too human moment
of exhaustion? indifference?
It leaves us a more than a little
uncomfortable,
this prickly picture of Jesus.
We sputter his excuses,
try to soften the sting,
say he didn’t really mean
to toss her all too human plea,
and her along with it,
under the table.

But there she was.

Who could have expected
what came next;
she turned the table on Jesus.
Her heart knew one thing,
and one thing only;
love does not give up.
Call it recklessness, call it dignity,
she sent an arrow straight at Jesus—
Lord, even the dogs under the table
eat the children’s crumbs.
for her daughter’s sake,
and, if we dare to believe,
for Jesus’ too.

It’s easy to miss,
this moment when
messianic weariness—
or is it indifference,
bristles a mother’s tenacity,
and the Son of God runs smack into
the faith of a woman
who trusts in in holy crumbs.
She receives a feast,
and Jesus…
well, maybe the Holy One,
who was also the lowly one,
found what he was looking for that day.
*From Mark 7:24-30

Copyright 2013 Patricia Schutz

KINGDOM? by Craig Nessan, WTS Academic Dean

Kingdom?

Just on the other side of the road.
Through the thin place.
Knock on the door.
Across the limen.
In the face.
Caring word.
Lending hand.
Taking time.
Interpret generously.
Choosing not to take offense.
Including.
Jesus breaking and entering.
Guilty as charged.
Alive again.

FREEDOM TO LOVE AS GOD LOVES by Lynn Robinson, WTS, 2012

 As a sixth grader I stood in front of the 12th stop in the cycle of the Stations of the Cross. It was a time to reflect and commemorate the death and life of Christ standing at each station. As a sixth grader I was already experiencing the joys and sorrows, the anguish and grief of life: abandonment, abuse, hunger and thirst.  I felt compelled to stop and look at Jesus hanging on the cross: nails in hands and feet and crown of thorns.

 God so loved the world that God sent God’s only Son. I thought, “God, if this is true, if you are real and are who they say you are, and if you possess such love, then I want to know it. God I want to know that I am included in that love.” And as I prayed I felt a strong inward response saying, “I am real and you will know me. I love you and you will tell others about me.”

 Crowds followed: the despised ones, those kicked around by the nations, laborers enslaved because of the demands of the ruling class. Looking around in the world today, the crowds could be made up of those who are marginalized, oppressed, hated, homeless, victims of genocide, victims of racism and classism, a woman who might soon be beaten to death in her home, the hungry, the poor, the grieving families who’ve suffered loss of loved ones in the name of country, in the name of  self-preservation; those in the wilderness between Mexico and the United States; those standing their ground; those on the ground; the politically correct, the high, middle and low on the economic ladder. Can it be said that all want to see Jesus?

 But Jesus said, “Time’s up.” The time had come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. The continuous, unlimited power to draw us through this present world and on into eternity comes from Jesus laying down his life for us. No one could take it from him.

 In spite of the conditions of the world and the crowds’ context, the death of Jesus, the true light which enlightens everyone, has come into the world. The ones who believe need not walk in the power of the world, living in darkness. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overtake it. In the death of Christ the believing ones can have communion and fellowship with God in Christ and be children of light for themselves and for the world.

 In the language of liberation theology: the inexplicable, reprehensible, oppressive spirit of racism, classism and gender inequality is no longer empowered to determine voice, identity or station of persons. God has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Living according to the world’s expectations, the world’s vision and the world’s way of doing things destroys life. We are called to be countercultural. Loving the world as God loves the world, in Christ reconciling the world in love, is a reckless counterculture love. It is eternal.

 Christ, lifted and crucified will never stop drawing us in because God in Christ has reconciled all to God’s self. It is finished. It is complete. Walking in darkness means our vision is restricted to that darkness.  We serve God in Christ when we follow after Jesus in love.  God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

 There will be many occasions where conditions in the world trouble the soul but the believing ones continue to walk in the light of liberty and freedom.  In the world there is the darkness of isolation, abandonment, marginalization and compartmentalization, mistreatment and misunderstanding, and yet none of these conditions inhibit the love of God in Christ or relationship with God in Christ. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ there is freedom to love one another just as God in Christ has loved us.

 

 

SHE WASHED JESUS’ FEET AND HE WASHED THEIRS by Roberta Pierce, WTS Senior

Segments of a Sermon preached in Wartburg Seminary Chapel, Spring, 2012

John 12:1-11

The anointing of Jesus is a familiar text. It appears in all four gospels.

In the gospel of John, Mary anoints Jesus.  She is named.  Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus had come to the home of Lazarus when he heard of Lazarus’ death.  When he arrived, Martha was the first one to come to Jesus. Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would rise again. Martha misunderstood him and thought he meant Lazarus would rise during the resurrection on the last day. When Mary came to Jesus, she fell to his feet weeping and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary knew the power of Jesus and her faith moved Jesus deeply. He commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb.

Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were friends. It was this deep friendship that brought Jesus back to the house of Lazarus six days before the Passover. This was not the safest place for Jesus to be, but it was where he wanted to be; with his friends. He may have been invited as a way for them to thank him for saving Lazarus, but for Jesus, he was there to say good-bye.

The people around the table could not believe what they were seeing. Only slaves washed the feet of guests; and a woman never touched a man, except her husband, and that was only in private; only a woman of loose morals let her hair flow freely; and the cleaning of  feet was never done with perfume.  What was Mary thinking? If she had anointed his head, it would have been similar to what was done at the installation of a priest, prophet, or king. When people died, that was the time to anoint their whole body. So, what was Mary trying to convey by what she did?

Mary had probably heard the rumors that Jesus was going to die for going against the government and stirring up the people. Jesus death would be by crucifixion. Mary knew about crucifixion. She knew that those who die that way were not given a proper burial. She had seen convicted criminals hang until birds and small animals have picked their bones clean. She ached at the thought of her precious Jesus dying that way. She did all she could to show her love, her loyalty and her faith in Jesus. She knelt at his feet and ministered to him.  She prepared him for his burial.

A few days later, Jesus knelt before the disciples and washed their feet.  Was he following Mary’s example? Was Jesus that moved by the way Mary ministered to him that he wanted to do the same for those who had been his loyal followers?  Mary had taken a great risk that evening. She had gone against cultural norms. She did it in front of those who would criticize her.  But, she was doing what Jesus had done throughout his ministry. She was going against the norm to care for the one she thought needed her care the most. Her actions were in sharp contrast to what was expected of her. Her love for Jesus was all that mattered and she wanted that love to show in her actions. Mary gave everything she had for Jesus. She poured herself out to show her faith. She believed; she was generous, and she was devoted.

Jesus became flesh for us and the feet of his body were anointed by Mary. Mary used her hands to honor Jesus’ body and used her hair as a towel. We have been given gifts by God to use to the glory of God. We use those gifts in all we do. We minister to those around us. We all face brokenness and look to each other for support. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt.  Jesus was hung on the cross for our salvation and as resurrection people we continue to be fed the body and blood of Christ each time we come to the table and are nourished for the days ahead. We all were created in God’s image to do God’s work in this world. It is not an easy task. What Mary did that night no one would have imagined.  What Jesus did for us in his death and resurrection is more than we could have ever imagined.