Jesus must have lived in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, right? I mean, He didn’t have to deal with the anxieties of COVID-19 and raising a kid in a world of online predators and no prom and those crazy North Koreans and total economic meltdown and where is the mortgage payment gonna come from and….it was easier back then.
Thomas’ Doubt, Guercino (Italian), early 1600s, oil on canvas, Residenzgalerie Salzburg Austria
Low Sunday is so named because the opening sentences of the service in Latin started with the word laudes, “praise.”
Quite literally, the rock of Calvary/ Golgotha (Latin and Hebrew equivalents meaning “like a skull”) was a stone rejected by the builders.
The miraculous draught of fish, as this passage is known, is one of the more unusual sections of John. Why is Peter naked–does it refer back to the young man (who definitely isn’t Peter) who runs away from the garden of Gethsemane naked in Mark?
“While they were still disbelieving and wondering in their joy.” The joy of the Resurrection is real, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to intellectual clarity and conviction (they’re still “wondering”) and it isn’t the same thing as faith (they’re still “disbelieving”).
Where is Emmaus? No one’s 100% certain. There are four candidates, but last summer’s discovery of the massive Greek fortifications pictured above tilt the narrative heavily in favor of this particular site, Abu Ghosh.
“Let the little children come to me,” Lucas Cranach, German, ca 1535, tempera on wood, Stadel Museum, Frankfurt Germany–a piece of art designed to teach the Reformation agenda about baptism, in which the joy of the women handing over their children is contrasted with the stuffy sternness of the apostles, who one assumes had the clearer doctrinal understanding but have missed the sweetness of embracing Christ wholeheartedly
Jesus rises from the dead, and keeps telling people to go back to Galilee. Excellent advice. When things get strange, new, unexpected–go back to the beginning.
The Resurrection, unknown fresco artist, 14th c, Chora Church, Istanbul
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of ever lasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Silent streets. Empty churches. Vacant shelves. Skies unscarred by jet trails. The whole world wrapped in a blanket of social isolation. It’s a strange Palm Sunday.