A Prayer for Palm Sunday

God of the cross, tottering down the streets of Jerusalem on a donkey, You are not the savior we expect. Your power doesn’t look like the power we want our God to have. Your wisdom makes no sense to us. We are happy to join the crowd, waving branches, But not so sure we want…

On Living Close to Death

I am re-posting these reflections on John 12:1-11 in honor of my father, David Harader, who died three years ago today. This piece is a distillation of the sermon I preached on the Sunday after Dad’s funeral–which was apparently the fifth Sunday of Lent.   “Six days before Passover.” Probably a couple of months–though only one…

“its thread looping”

Jesus, Jesus. Did you hear? There were these people from Galilee, they were faithful, made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices at the temple. And then. And then. These men. Pilate’s men. They just killed them. Slaughtered them right there in the temple. The blood of the people mixed with the blood of…

The Value of a Barren Tree

In Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable about a barren fig tree. The tree is planted in a vineyard, which sounds weird, but fig trees were often used as trellises in vineyards.  The owner is unhappy because the tree is not bearing fruit. “Cut it down,” he says. But the vintner says, “I’ll dig around…

Temptations

  “Turn these stones to bread.” “Worship me to gain power over the kingdoms of this world.” “Fall from the pinnacle so we can all watch the angels swoop in and rescue you.” These are the temptations the devil throws out to Jesus in the wilderness. They are temptations about power: to control the natural…

Not a Little Lost

I once baffled the others in my youth group by managing to get lost on a nature trail. The thing is, the trail was really hard to see and there were also deer paths and it was the middle of a Kansas prairie. If you’ve ever been in the middle of a prairie you know…

Good Friday Worship, 2015

Good Friday, April 3, 2015 Peace Mennonite Church Welcome and Introduction Hymn: Abide with me  Call to Worship We are Jesus’ disciples, following him even as he moves toward the cross. Even as he wraps a towel around his waist. Even as he kneels to wash the filth from the feet of his friends. We…

Reflection on Psalm 131

[This is an excerpt from my sermon for March 22, 2015. You can read the full sermon text here.] I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. “I have calmed and quieted my soul.” This calm, this stillness,…

Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday

I think it is natural to imagine that our holy spaces will be quiet, private. Places where we can be still and alone.  Or maybe with a few intimate friends. Yet if we define a holy space as a space inhabited by God, then the Gospels affirm crowded places as distinctly holy.  Jesus was often…

Reflections for the Fifth Week of Lent

While we can inhabit holy spaces, scripture reveals that the holy inhabits us as well. God puts the holy law within us. God writes on our hearts. God cleans us from the inside out. As we consider holy spaces along this Lenten journey, we must recognize that our very bodies are holy spaces because God…