Making a Spectacle of Ourselves

Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-11

Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”

In the early days of COVID quarantine during Lent 2020, we at Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis were struggling to imagine, or better said, RE-imagine, how we could celebrate Palm Sunday with so many restrictions. Palm Sunday was the first big holiday that came our way in March. During a midweek evening Zoom gathering, the focus was not on what we had lost, but on what could be done during a strict lockdown. We brainstormed and joked a while before someone suggested a car parade. It was an idea with a slow burn, but the idea slowly took hold in our minds.

What had been a heavy moment shifted rapidly; we laughed with delight as the ideas quickly spilled out of us. With only a few days of planning, on Palm Sunday morning, a large bunch of us in about forty cars met in the church parking lot. We placed a few of our brave young guys in the middle of key intersections to hold oncoming traffic, and then we slowly traveled the streets of our neighborhood honking our horns, shouting the good news. Some of our neighbors came out to cheer and to thank us, some with tears streaming. More than a few drivers flipped us off and yelled at us. Some neighbors stood on their porches in shock at the spectacle we were creating.  Read more

An Identity Not My Own

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

 

1 Samuel 3:1-20

Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

John 1:43-51

Not having grown up with the practice of following the Lectionary readings means I am constantly intrigued by the groupings of Scripture texts that get packaged together. Sometimes I must admit that a particular combination is at first baffling, leading me to wonder what sorts of substances the team was sipping on while they made their decisions. Other times a theme seems to rise slowly to the surface the way your answer used to in the Magic 8 Ball (ask an older person what this is!). I have tried several times and failed to talk myself out of a problematic theme that seems to emerge from the murkiness for this week, but here it is: Identity. And yes, I know just how problematic that is. Read more

Waiting With Eager Longing

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 28:10-19a and Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 

Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or Isaiah 44:6-8 and Psalm 86:11-17

Romans 8:12-25

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

What a strange and interesting time we live in! It has been fascinating to observe the reactions of people in my networks as they grapple with feeling trapped at home, with having to teach or simply appease frustrated, restless kids, and with the fears of the impact of the virus (real and imagined) on communities, on families, and ultimately (you knew this was coming) on themselves individually. In other words, what about ME? Read more