Posts

Palm/Passion Sunday

Image
For Christians today is the beginning of Holy Week. It begins with a man riding a young donkey towards the walled city of Jerusalem, a city crowded in anticipation of the Jewish Passover feast, a celebration of freedom from slavery. If you could look down on Jerusalem that day you would see the huge golden domed temple and crowded narrow streets. You would see two processions entering the city from different directions.
On the main road coming from his winter quarters on the Mediterranean you see the Governor Pontius Pilate on a fine stallion. The Roman occupying power needed extra security to prevent terrorist threats at the festival. Alongside Pilate, riding and marching into the city are a lot of highly-trained, well-armed Roman soldiers. People line the streets cheering them - probably paid to cheer or threatened with violence if they didn’t. Here are the conquerors who have brought peace – of a sort. Everyone watching this procession has to cheer or risk violent punishment, even d…

Wild beasts in the wilderness

Image
A very few Arabian leopards like the one in this photo may still live in the Judean desert. If I found myself alone there, that is an animal I would prefer not to meet up with too closely. But then I wouldn't choose to be there alone in the first place.

It seems that when Jesus faced his temptation in the wilderness, he had not chosen to go there. According to Mark's Gospel, immediately after Jesus was baptised in the Jordan river, the Spirit "drove him out into the wilderness". During Lent, as part of a preparation for Easter, Christians remember this 40 day experience of Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness is brief:
"And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him." (Mark 1: 12 - 13)Apart from its brevity the 2 details that interest me most in this is the statement are: "he w…

Is there a 'right way' to do Lent?

Image
Is there a 'right way' to do Lent?

Lent is the season in the Christian year that lasts about 40 days, starting on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Holy Week and Easter.


Is there a 'right way' to do Lent?
Politicians have been known to justify decisions or actions with the words, 'it was the right thing to do'. It often seems to be said in an attempt to close down discussion as if there is nothing more to be said. One has to ask, 'the right thing in whose eyes and on what ethical basis?' When people say it's the right thing to do they often mean it's the right thing for me or my group or the right thing in my/our opinion. And there's often an implication that any other thing to do is the wrong thing. Wrong for which people or situation?

Is there a 'right way' to do Lent?
The traditional way is to focus on prayer, fasting and giving, using the 40 days of Lent as a way to prepare for Easter, the most important Christian festival. Is there a …