So Many Misunderstood Jesus Then and We Still Do Today
Palm Sunday was yesterday, marking the beginning of Holy Week. A week when Christians remember Jesus’s path toward crucifixion and His subsequent overcoming of death. While both Palm Sunday and Easter are filled with joy, the joy of Palm Sunday is striking in how the crowd was joyful – at least in part – for the wrong reasons.
Well, it is definitely spring here in Missouri. It just hailed for a very long time just now — and these hailstones are still relatively large after sitting in a downpour for about 10 minutes prior to when I went out to retrieve them. 😳 (The white stuff on the ground is more hail.)
What is grief, but love persevering? Disney+’s WandaVision is one of the best series I can recall gracing the small screen in decades and that question posed by the Vision (Paul Bettany) captures so much about what allows the show to be profound beyond the strictures of either of its roots: classic sitcoms and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I learned this afternoon of the death of one of the best pastors I’ve had a joy to know, Pastor Herbert Stemler. This is a photo of him and me from the night of my ordination in 2012.
A Fork Not Taken and the Calling to Plant
A year ago last night, I stared out at Table Rock Lake far more in turmoil than I can ever remember. Table Rock has always been a place I unwound from the stresses of life, but that night it felt like life’s prickliest bits were staring back at me from the lake. Dominating the briar were two dramatically different paths for ministry in front of me and all the ramifications for life surrounding them. For the first time I can remember, the place I have always said I would love to live at felt alien.
Those of you who are involved with FaithTree likely know that George Haynes, who had been very involved with FaithTree for much of its story as part of the worship team (percussion), a behind the scenes helper and simply a smiling presence, had been battling brain cancer since last fall. While the brain cancer had paralyzed George on his one side and forced him into a skilled care facility, he had continued to be active via online means and was largely physically OK. Sadly, despite his facility going into lockdown towards the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, George somehow contracted it and had spent the past few weeks in the hospital; the last few days his situation had grown worse and — it still feels hard to believe I am writing this — George went into the presence of his Savior this morning.
Jessica Lustig writing in the New York Times:
The few people walking past us on the sidewalk don’t know that we are visitors from the future. A vision, a premonition, a walking visitation. This will be them: Either T, in the mask, or — if they’re lucky — me, tending to him.
Chilling. Praying for her husband’s recovery and for the recovery of so many others.
I have heard a number of wise pastors rightly point out that we need to consider the implications of loving our neighbors as a guide to how we act in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. This quote gets to the point in the midst of a very interesting article:
Collins also spoke about civic responsibility and the importance of selflessness in the midst of a pandemic. “I think we as a nation have to get into a place of not just thinking about ourselves, but thinking about everybody else around us, and particularly the most vulnerable people—those who are older and those people with chronic diseases.”
Unlike ordinary times, loving our neighbors right now may very well involve not being present (physically, at least).
I found out today that my undergraduate advisor, Dr. George Hickenlooper died last week. Dr. Hickenlooper's English Comp I class was my first class on my first day as a college student. I still remember the assessment test he gave that first day and how the very professorial professor described in the reading comprehension portion of that test reminded me a bit of my new professor. He just was a professor. A good professor.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for my dad over the last two days. My dad had a stroke yesterday morning and after being taken to the nearest hospital, it was determined he needed to be transferred to the regional stroke center for an angioplasty to remove a blockage in his carotid artery; there was also a significant amount of blood clotting in his brain that they removed at the same time. While the surgery was successful, the amount of damage caused by the blockage is still unclear.
The most recent CT scan showed some brain bleed, but the doctor and the nurses did not seem terribly worried about it at this point. He had a fever this morning, but that has cleared up. Right now, he remains largely paralyzed on his left side, but he was able to wiggle his foot, so that was quite encouraging. The biggest challenge that we can see immediately ahead is that he cannot swallow at the moment. The doctor seemed to be optimistic that this too would be temporary.
Your continued prayers are so very much appreciated. I am grateful for them and I know my mom is as well. Thank you.