For 2,000 years the ascension of Jesus has been the subject of countless paintings and church murals, so it may be surprising how little is actually said about it in the scriptures. Only Luke tells in his gospel that Jesus “was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-53) and, in the Acts of the Apostles, that […]

You may be familiar with the drawing depicting both a young woman and an old woman at once. Several versions are circulating. If you look at it and see a young woman, it can be very difficult to see the old woman, and if you see an old woman, it can be next to impossible […]

The first thing that comes to mind for me when Jesus says goodbye to his friends (John 14:1-14) is that I expected more from him. He knows he’ll soon be arrested and that he’ll be executed, probably in a few hours. The disciples probably know it, too, though they don’t want to admit it even […]

Last week I recalled those travelers on the road to Emmaus and how they came to know the presence of the living Christ in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:1-35). And I wondered, during this pandemic, while we’re unable to gather for the Lord’s Supper, are there other ways we can know that presence? The […]

The disciples who encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) had two stories to tell. The first was about “how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road.” The second is “how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread” (v. 35 NLT). The first […]

I was a lover of Rilke long before I discovered him in my summer years. Now well into autumn, he’s a staple of my literary diet. The satchel of books I would carry with me to the end surely includes his Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (specifically the translation by Barrows and Macy). […]

Thomas usually gets a bad rap in the first Easter story (John 20:24-29). “Doubting Thomas,” we call him, as if his absence on resurrection evening or the doubts he expressed a week later put him on the fringe of the little band of disciples. All of them scattered in the critical moment. Did Thomas run […]

“Do not be afraid.” Usually the first words we hear in the Easter liturgy are, “Christ is risen! Alleluia!” – words of exuberance, bursting forth after six long weeks of Lent, the deepening darkness and foreboding of Holy Week, and the utter emptiness of Holy Saturday. But those words are not in the first resurrection […]

Like almost everyone else, I’m trying to make sense of this coronavirus pandemic and all the hardship and grief we’re suffering with it. I feel like the folks must have felt who asked Jesus why bad things happen to people (Luke 13:1-5). Was it because they sinned? Is this pandemic the result of something we’ve […]

This Sunday’s passage from Ezekiel (Ezek. 37:1-14) – the dry bones; the clatter of their coming together; their being clothed in sinew and flesh; the breath entering them; their standing up – has for centuries been one of the favorite and most hopeful passages in the Hebrew Bible. God asks the prophet, “Mortal, can these […]