The First Supper – (11042012)

7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. (Exodus 12)

Your children will ask you,
“What do you mean by this observance?’
You shall say, “It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord,
for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt,
when he struck down the Egyptians
but spared our houses.'”

Any foreigner residing among you who
wishes to keep the passover to the Lord
shall do so according to the statute
of the passover and according to its regulation;
you shall have one statute
for both the resident foreigner and the native.

12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” (Mark 14)

I tell you, I will never again drink
of this fruit of the vine until
that day when I drink it new
with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
go into the main streets,
and invite everyone you find
to the wedding banquet.’

They gathered all whom they found,
both good and bad; so the wedding
hall was filled with guests.

Jesus’ last supper
Our first
He says good bye
We say hello

His ending
Our beginning
His consummation
Our initiation

The Passover Meal
The Eucharist
The Paschal Lamb
Is the center of the Kingdom feast

We receive Him
Until he receives us
His death
Our life

Today, here, at this table
We enter into God’s glory
He promised to be with us

This is no last supper
This is the First Supper
This is our welcome
This is our entrance

This is God’s great hospitality
And on that day the King will say
“Well done, good and faithful servant.
Enter into the joy of your master.”

My Response to Rick Warren’s “Jesus Trusted the Bible. You Should Too.”

Rick Warren wrote: Jesus Trusted the Bible. You Should, Too.

I trust Jesus and the bible. Unfortunately, Warren’s article is built on a common leap of logic – the notion that what we know and believe about Jesus is somehow separate from the bible itself. It is the bible (NT) that informs our ideas about what Jesus believed about the bible (OT). Which is sort of like me saying, “I’m trustworthy. Just ask me.” Skeptics are not persuaded by such an argument – it just sounds silly. And, faith and doubt are not incompatible. “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!”

Why does Rick feel it necessary to call us to a faith tenet that scripture does not call us to hold? The claims he makes regarding Jesus’ understanding of scripture are reasonable, but by no means exclusive, and certainly not explicitly elucidated in the New Testament itself. What is clear is that the New Testament presents Jesus as living and teaching as though the Hebrew Scriptures were authoritative in his life and should be in ours. Poetry and history can most definitely be authoritative, and are genres of writing that can and do change lives. Again, Warren here relies on a common false choice. Which again leaves seekers and skeptics shaking their collective heads at such a weak argument. I respect Rick, and know he has done better.

Yes, the New Testament shows us that Jesus trusted the God revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures and Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books (those written after Daniel and before the birth of Jesus – from which ideas like bodily resurrection and the existence of angels were most clearly derived by the Pharisees, with whom Jesus agreed doctrinally. Yes, as Jesus is revealed in the canonical Gospels, he taught from those texts. He also taught from them in a way that most people around him – the religious authorities, experts and scholars in particular – did not recognize or understand as “true”. He believed the bible in a way that no one else in his generation seemed to. At least that is what I think the Gospels suggest, given that no one recognized him as the Messiah, and no one understood what was unfolding to be a part of God’s redemptive work.

The New Testament then was written by people who trusted Jesus as the fullest revelation of God among human kind. Through their own writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, through their own faith in the God whom Jesus trusted and revealed, they shared Jesus with us so that we “who have not seen” might “yet believe.” (John 20:29; 1 Peter 1:8). Our trust in the bible precedes our trust in Jesus, to a certain degree, because it is through the bible that we come to know most fully who Jesus is. It is the bible which serves as our lens of faith through which we see and interpret our world, our lives, and existence itself. In the process we may remember that the bible itself was also written through other lenses not our own – from other times, cultures and worldviews. So what then does it mean for us to trust the bible? and to trust Jesus? That is the journey of faith. And it is not helped by shallow arguments like Rick Warren’s in “Jesus trusted the Bible. You should too.




Ocean waves break, roar, drone
Gulls soar, cry, plunge
Dancing, twirling, rolling, running
Arms outstretched
Wind caressing my naked body
Breaking dawn begins to warm
Behind banks of rose-colored clouds

I wish,
To remain,

Clang, shruffle, crash
NO, I’m dying, which is worse.

If I were dead, then indeed I could stay here forever

But if I’m dying, then they will try to get me back, without asking me what I want. Mrs. Jones, you are dying. Would you like us to resuscitate you?

They did ask me weeks ago
But at that time
The question was academic

“If you were to stop breathing
And your heart were
To stop beating
What do you want us to do?

What a stupid question.

But now that I see
And feel
What comes next,
I’m not so sure

I will miss you all, of course
But that will be true eventually

Though, what does it mean to miss our loved ones when we are in a place where there is no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain or suffering? Does not “Miss you” imply some lack, some void, some deficiency which we feel – some pain?

But as I stand here on the shore at early dawn and feel the breeze and the warmth of the rising sun and know the power of the whole of creation as one with my very heart, I’m not so sure what I want.

Pain. I feel pain.
That means I’m alive. Burning in my lungs, my nose, my eyes, my throat.
Darkness distorted by glare
Dried mucus glues my eyelids shut, and my arms are weak for lifting hand to face
There is distance perceived between the world and my world
Immediacy is not

You are not here beside me. Your voice, the squeak of your running shoes on the cold tile floor. The brush of your forearm to scratch your masked nose. Away off at some distance un-discernable. Three feet. Thirty feet. Three floors?

Breathing tube prevents speech, yet a scream finds its painful way forth confused and searching. Narrowed vision takes in ceiling, monitors, door lintel, drapes, cabinet, lights, breathing mask, tubes and wires, poles and bags.

Where is your face, your warm reassuring smile? The glint in your eye magnified by one small tear telling me you were afraid but now assured that all is well, or will be well in time. The sigh of relief that relaxes across your furrowed brow? Where are you?

Where are you,
and why are you not here?
Where is everyone?
Not Here
Why is no one here,
where I am?
Caring for me?

I spent my whole life caring for you, feeding and cradling and nursing and tending and clothing and comforting and rocking and cheering and praying.

Where are you?
Could you not wait one hour with me?
Could you not stay awake one hour?
Pray that you do not enter into the temptation time.

Oh God!? Where is everyone?
My God, My god,
Why have all forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me
From the voice of my cry and my supplication?

Lord, let this cup pass from me.

What will I do now that I can not care for you?
Now that I can not help and tend and serve you?
Who am I absent these things
Which have defined me
I was strong
I was self-reliant
I had no one but myself to
Me and God, we got you through the growing and the living

Now I’m nothing

Cant walk
Cant sit
Cant stand
Cant wipe

Naked, frail, sagging and wrinkled
My flabby frail self yields to your warm wet sponge

The dignity of infancy is that we are unaware,
or at least do not remember
the indignities

There is no dignity in old age.

Is there no dignity in old age?
What if dignity comes not in what I can do.
What if indignity comes not in what you must do for me?
What if naked and frail is dignity defined, personified?

What if there is no greater dignity
than for me to lie here and
allow you to care for me
in your compassion?

What if the greatest dignity IS to stop trying, resisting, fighting?
What if the greatest dignity is to be found in the indignity of the cross?

In your suffering, in your frailty, is your fullest dignity?
As you lie there on that hospital bed, naked and soiled and unable to ask
Are you less human, or more human?

You are so frightened, so alone. How frightening to be completely vulnerable for the first time in seventy years, and think yourself totally alone and without help in the world.

There really is nothing to be done about it. Yes, we can clean you, and change you and bathe you, and feed you, and get you up out of bed and help you learn to walk again. That will not solve it.

Your sorrow is you have realized, perhaps for the first time, you will die. You always knew in theory but now the experiment has revealed a flaw in your thinking. You can not manipulate the variables to your purposes any longer. Always before you could adjust this or change that and move things along according to plan.

Now, your plan is out the window and someone else’s plan is being revealed.

The plan is not for you to suffer. It is a sad confusion of theology to think that suffering is part of God’s purpose or design for us. Suffering is the organism’s response to threat. You would have no need of pain if your body did not think itself under attack. The pain is your brain’s response to assault on your body, real or perceived.

Pain is your brain’s response to assault – real or perceived.

So, when you feel pain, the thing for you to do is to ask yourself
What threat?
From whence comes the assault on my person-hood?

Is the threat real?
Is the threat avoidable?
Should the threat be countered?

Is response possible to reduce or eliminate the threat?

How did you know?

How did you know I needed you to allow me to cry?

Who told you to come and visit me
I didn’t think anyone had noticed that I was struggling.
I’m so used to being the strong one, the competent one,
The reliable provider and useful contributor.

Now I can do nothing.

I’m frightened
Not because of danger
Not because of doubt
I’m not sure who I am any more

I know God is with me
And yet somehow
That’s small comfort
In this particular moment

God can’t, or won’t
Fix what’s ailing me
I’m broken in places
Others can’t see.

Perhaps there is no fixing
Or perhaps the breaking
Is in reality the fixing
Is God a post-modern Deconstructivist?

We build a babel-tower
To reach the pinnacles of perfection
Superiority, excellence, autonomy
Once I reach God, I won’t need God.

We’d gotten so good at convincing ourselves
That our explanations made sense
That our ordering of life was living
God enabled us to be this, so God must want this.

How frightening the confused talk
Nothing I hear or say makes any sense any more
Mixed messages are the only messages
The only good news is no news

Where will we go with our brokenness
It will drive us apart in shame
What if we could stay together long enough
To realize unbroken is incomplete