In this time of year (1)

Seasons and Times   Seasons come and go.  I tend to like spring and fall better than summer or winter, although the best summer and winter days can be great, too.   For many, the spring season is associated with Easter.  I don’t get into bunnies or pastel colors or egg hunts; most years, I haven’t done much more with Easter than with any other Sunday.  I do think that it makes a lot more sense for Christian believers to pay spiritually based attention to both Passover and Easter than to Christmas, but there’s no requirement.  “Holy Week” as a whole merits some attention as a time of remembrance and observance—especially for those with high church background and/or present-day liturgical inclinations.  Palm Sunday festivities¹ are of moderate interest to me; they have their place, especially for children.

Terms and Traditions   Words such as “ash” and “Maundy” go right over my head.  I’m not drawn in by invented labels such as “Maundy Thursday” and “Holy Communion” that seem to draw significance based on notions of sacrament, tradition, and trappings.  If you have a “communal meal during which we’ll memorialize the Lord’s death in a focused way,” invite me, and I’ll likely be there.  On the other hand, if you call it a “Maundy Thursday Service of Holy Communion,” I’ll probably pass.

I don’t suppose it matters much whether Jesus was crucified in (what we now think of as the year) 27 or 29 or 30 or 33.  What matters is that it was a very real event, at approximately that point in the world’s history.  The historical and symbolic connections to the Passover are important, too.

Good Friday   This Easter season, I was glad to be asked to be one of seven readers at a local church’s Good Friday event.²  The plan is thoroughly conceived and very well laid out, with exceptionally nicely put instructions for all who will be involved.  I am looking forward to participating in this way, because I really enjoy public reading, and because I am of the strong opinion that such reading should be intentional and as well executed as possible.  I don’t even mind ignoring the (10%? 40%?) chance that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday, not a Friday.

At any rate, my assigned readings are relatively lengthy ones from John 19 (“woman, behold your son . . . behold your mother”) and Ephesians 2 (bringing together Jew and non-Jew the through the cross).  I’m working on a hybrid rendering that will communicate in the best possible way.  I might even translate a little on my own, but I want to be careful not to get too far off the beaten path.  To call attention to history and theology through public reading is good, but it would be unwise to use words so unusual that they distract from the message.

During the next few days, I will share some additional Easter-ish ponderings.  At the moment, my spring thinking has sprung from songs, so those lyrics might be springboards.  (Also, I rarely turn down the opportunity for wordplay.  Jesus seems to have done that on occasion, too.  I imagine He would smile at my efforts.  Or perhaps not.)

In the meantime, this “Easter songs” post from two years ago might provide some devotional opportunity for those so minded and spirited.

¹ Exploring the word “Hosanna” can be interesting.  I’d suggest that in many places, it’s a word that has changed in meaning.

²  I can’t make myself call it a “Good Friday service,” because I find that use of the word “service” neither scripturally based nor helpful.  The Good Friday program involves a well-thought-out sequence, so it is admittedly more appropriate to call this a “service” than a regular Sunday gathering in my ideal world.

8 thoughts on “In this time of year (1)

  1. Steve 04/11/2017 / 12:45 pm

    Having (now 16+ years ago) the court date set for my impending divorce, I wondered how I would approach the last week of my married (technically, certainly not practically) life. I decided, for whatever reasons, to use the final week of Jesus’ life as a loose template for the upcoming death of my marriage. So each day of that week, I read what I thought occurred on that day of Christ’s last week–and then drew some strength from an observation seen from that day. Understandably it had little to do with proper hermeneutics; on the other hand, it may have been one of my better contextual understandings and applications of any Biblical text up to that point in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian Casey 04/11/2017 / 8:19 pm

      This comment touches me very deeply. I’m afraid that I don’t know exactly how to apply it, and I don’t have the strength to apply it even if I knew how, but I am persuaded that this is something I need to remember for as long as I can. Thank you for this reach.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mary 04/12/2017 / 8:52 am

      I am convinced that as we seek after Him it is the Father’s intent for His Word, and certainly the Messiah’s life, to powerfully intersect with our bumpy and winding human spiritual journeys in such meaning-filled ways. Appreciate your poignant reminder, Steve, of His provision.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Brian Casey 04/13/2017 / 10:43 am

      Mary, it’s been a while. Very good to read your words here!


  2. godschildrenorg 04/13/2017 / 12:01 am

    Ramblings Responding to Rants and Rutabagas — Thought provoking, honest — stirs my soul. I am more about walking daily on the path of God’s choosing than setting aside days when we are supposed to be extra “in touch” with God and His Son. Granted, as a young mom, I enjoyed the delight of my children as they eagerly searched for eggs hidden among the grass in America, or near/under furniture in our 5th floor Utrecht, Holland apartment.

    Now in Romania, my heart swells with joy on Easter Sunday as we adults exchange a boiled egg (colored maroon), while the giver says, “Christ is risen.” To which the receiver responds, “Christ is risen indeed.” (Eggs are colored maroon because skin from red onions provides the only color many have in East Europe.)

    Experiencing your Easter Songs blog took me into a worshipful mood as my heart sang a portion of each song you mentioned. I think I’ll listen to Bach’s “Passion of Matthew” Friday. I wish I could share in the experience this Good Friday as your read aloud The Word. Somehow the spoken Word reaches deeper into my soul than just reading silently.Since Dan passed, I often read aloud to myself. ~~ Anne B.


    • Brian Casey 04/13/2017 / 10:42 am

      I am drawn by your balance and your Godward intent here. And your recollections, too. I’m not much of a Bach fan, but maybe I’ll pull out a Passion recording, too. I think I have Matthew and not John. I did play some of a Glad “Hallelujah” and some of Beethoven’s 9th for Jedd last night. He was singing with me on the chorus, with the words, “Sing with all the Sons of Glory — sing the resurrection song.”


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