Wild Lectionary: Leafy Branches Sunday – Domingo de Ramos

imagejpeg_0-5Palm Sunday, Year B
Mark 11:1-11

By Carmen Retzlaff

The Palm Sunday story in the Gospel of Mark says that

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. (Mark 11:8)

The Greek (from Thayer’s Greek Dictionary) is:

stiba¿ß; stibas, stibados; a. a spread or layer of leaves, reeds, rushes, soft leafy twigs, straw, etc., serving for a bed; b. that which is used in making a bed of this sort, a branch full of leaves, soft faliage Continue reading

Bright Sadness

indexA litany for Lent, to be read while “How Can I Keep From Singing” is played in the background, after which the congregation sings one or more verse of the song

by Ken Sehested

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season of Lent is described as a “bright sadness.”

In the sadness that surrounds our lives, our community, our world, we give thanks, nevertheless. More is at work than we can see. Continue reading

What Resurrection Means

LyniceOur Last day of the Lenten Journey.  [S]he is risen indeed.  From Rev. Lynice Pinkard of Oakland’s Seminary of the Street, in an interview with Sun Magazine in 2014.

We’re not going to do this work — of bringing people together, of stemming the tide of ecological abuse, of dealing with income inequality — without having something inside us change. Before I even get to my interaction with you, I need to examine my own self-interest. That’s what resurrection means to me: being able to rise above self-interest and the interests of your group. For me resurrection is about laying down our weapons and getting up off our assets. Resurrection is not merely about whether Jesus is dead or alive, in the tomb or not. In Romans, the Bible says the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead can quicken our mortal bodies to life. We can leave our cemeteries, abandon the deadness and the death-dealing nature of our lives. We can rise above the life-limiting forces that hold us down. For me, that’s resurrection: crossing over from self-interest to true solidarity.

A Struggle of Interpretation

ElsaDay 46 of our Lenten Journey beyond “Beyond Vietnam.”  From Costa Rican biblical scholar Elsa Tamez, an excerpt from an article entitled “The Bible and Five Hundred Years of Conquest” (2005).

We see that for five hundred years we have been involved in a struggle of interpretation: some from a liberating perspective and others from a legitimating perspective of oppression. The struggle for a liberating reading of the Bible is good, nevertheless, it seems to me. After taking a look at history and seeing ourselves there as in a mirror, we need to go beyond the hermeneutical struggle. We should revise the discourse of our written canon and the logic of Christian thought; maybe there is a deeper problem that facilitates the rapid inversion of values. I am referring to aspects such as the biblical conception of time, that is, infinite progression toward the final victory (the Day of the Lord, the battle of Armageddon, the crushing of the enemy). These can be a double-edged sword—or the idea of a universalist, tolerant, egalitarian God, which is projected in the following scheme: “God is good for all; for that reason, all are good for God.” There is no distinguishing the difference. The sacrificial discourse, principally christological, sometimes degenerates into demands of unnecessary sacrifices or into the logic of crucifying the crucifiers; others such as the Elect of God, the Holy War, and so on need to be reworked. This is a matter not just of intellectual concern but of honesty before unjust practices that are easily legitimated with the Bible and theology. All of this leads us to rethink popular hermeneutics and to rework in great depth the significance of biblical authority.

The Fourth Word

Hovsep MesropianBy Ric Hudgens, for Good Friday (art by Hovsep Mesropian)

He was hanging there trying to remember,
the weight of his body weighing on his mind.
What was the first line of that song we used to sing?
His head was perplexed with pain, his muscles
aching in place, his body stretched out along this beam,
no way to find rest that didn’t increase the sting.

Continue reading