Sunday, April 26, 2020

Down the Road

April 26, 2020
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Union, Illinois
How did we get here? I have been reading a lot about what has brought us to this crisis, the breakdown of systems that has left us vulnerable to this disease. I have also been reading about the dedication and sacrifice of those who are doing their best to save lives and provide for the needs of others. I am grateful for those who are helping me understand how all that is happening connects to the larger story of who we are. And this story of an encounter on the road to Emmaus draws similar connections between the intense events of that week in Jerusalem so long ago, and the long history of God’s work of salvation.

This passage from Luke would actually fit chronologically before the story from last week. In Luke’s telling, the women who go to the tomb in the early morning see only two men in dazzling clothes; they do not encounter the risen Jesus. This journey to Emmaus reflects the ambiguous time between the empty tomb and the appearance of Jesus to the disciples and Thomas behind locked doors.

As they travel, the two disciples converse about the dramatic events of the past few days. When the stranger joins them, the recount the mission of Jesus and the events of the passion, but without fully understanding their meaning.

Luke’s Gospel sets the entire story in the context of journey, the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, and in the following story of Acts, the journey of the early community from Jerusalem “to the ends of the earth.”[1] The early Christians were known as the people of the Way, or people of the journey. As one scholar describes it, “For Luke the journey of Jesus and of the church itself expresses the unfolding history of salvation that finds its origin In Israel and through the Spirit extends salvation to the ‘ends of the earth.’”[2]

What Jesus interpreted to them from the scriptures, from Moses and all the prophets, is the story of God’s saving work revealed through the people and history of Israel. God’s story is one of life emerging from death, of the journey of renewal, reconciliation, and transformation. As Jesus reveals the connections between the story they know and the story they have just witnessed, they begin to understand the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is some of what they might have heard.

The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a story of bondage, liberation, a journey, and a destination. It begins with the Hebrews as slaves in Egypt. Daily life was hard labor with perhaps enough food to survive on, but not much more. By means of the plagues, God liberates the people from Pharaoh. They are led into the wilderness by Moses. There they journey for forty years toward the Promised Land.

This story suggests that the human condition is slavery or bondage. You and I are in bondage to many things, such as cultural messages about what we should be like, what it means to be successful, attractive, and to live the good life. We can also be enslaved to fears, addictions, or other kinds of oppression. We might be trapped by debt, or the fear of losing employer-supplied health insurance. The story of Moses and the people seeking freedom remains a particularly poignant one for the descendants of African slaves in America.

God’s salvation comes as the people are led from bondage to liberation, leaving Egypt and Pharaoh. It also involves a journey through the wilderness. It is in the wilderness where God is encountered and known. It can also be a place of fear and anxiety where we sometimes find ourselves longing for the security of Egypt, of the familiar things of the past. But the wilderness is also a place where we are nourished by God and where God journeys with us. The destination is life in the presence of God.

We might think our current situation is bondage, trapped in our homes by fear of the virus and the need to slow the spread so that our hospitals are not overwhelmed. But maybe we are really in the wilderness, a journey of the mind and the spirit, experiencing anxiety and a longing for what we had before. But in the wilderness, we might find ourselves sustained by the manna of God, the efforts of our family and friends to reach out over the phone and the internet to support one another. And the end of this journey may reveal a new way of living more carefully with one another, more grateful for the opportunity to gather, and more blessed by the touch of a hand or a hug.

Through the prophets we learn of the exile. The exile began in 587 BCE, when, after Jerusalem and its temple were conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians, some of the survivors were marched into exile in Babylon some 800 miles away. There they lived as refugees, far from home and oppressed. Fifty years later, the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persians, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland.

We live in a time when millions of exiles and refugees know this experience firsthand. It is an experience of separation from all that is familiar. People contend with powerlessness and often oppression and victimization. There is sadness, loneliness, and grief. It is a yearning for home and a place where we belong. It can also mean the loss of meaning or a sense of purpose. These feelings may be familiar to us in this time, when familiar ways of working, learning, gathering, and traveling have changed.

God’s salvation from exile leads the people on a journey of return. The religious life is a journey to the place where God is present, a homecoming, and God assists those who undertake the journey. We may not be able to return from our exile yet. But there will be a return, a time to gather once again in familiar places with friends and family. As God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, “I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”[3] As the days of our quarantine stretch into weeks and months, we may ask, like the exiles, “How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”[4] Perhaps in the days ahead we will sing a new song, a song of joy as we gather together again.

Another way in which we understand salvation comes from the days of the temple, the priesthood, and sacrifice. It is a story of sin, guilt, sacrifice, and forgiveness. When we people turn away from God, we are in a state of sin and brokenness. When we are lost from the ways of God we need to return to God, to repent, to be cleansed, washed, or covering over. When we have done wrong, we need forgiveness. We need to sacrifice to God to make up for what we have done wrong. Since the early Middle Ages, some Christians have understood Jesus as the dying savior whose death is a sacrifice for our sins, thereby making our forgiveness by God possible. “Jesus died for our sins.”

This image of Jesus is powerful, and can be a sign of God’s great love for us, as we know from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The message is simple, direct, and radical: we are accepted, just as we are. Our own sense of sin, impurity, and guilt need not stand between us and God. New beginnings are possible.

Each of these stories is part of the grand story of God’s work of salvation. For some of us, the need is liberation; for others, the need is homecoming; and for still others, the need is acceptance. Each of these stories helps us to understand what it means to be Christian, living life as a journey whose central quality is a deepening and transforming relationship with God.

Where do we go from here? The story doesn’t end with supper that night in Emmaus. That was a moment of revelation, a vision of the living Christ in the breaking of the bread. It was also a moment of understanding that their journey was not ended, but just beginning.

The story of Jesus is the story of discipleship. The word disciple means “a follower after somebody.” Discipleship is a following after Jesus, a journeying with Jesus. It is a journey, not alone, but in a company of fellow disciples. The Christian life is about being in relationship with God, which transforms us into more and more compassionate beings, changing into the likeness of Christ.

Our journey also continues, and though we can’t yet leave our homes, we can think about what is coming down the road. Things won’t be the “normal” we had before. The disciples didn’t just go back to fishing. We will make changes in our lives. If nothing else, we will begin to see and appreciate more of the people who make the world work, the grocery clerks, truck drivers, farmers and field hands, janitors, meat packers, mail carriers, and others who are more essential than we realized. We’ll have a greater appreciation for doctors and nurses, lab techs and EMTs.

I hope that down the road we will realize our interconnectedness in new ways, and be more grateful for all the people in our lives. I hope that when we break bread together, the living Christ will be made known to us. And I pray that we will continue on in the Way, the journey which takes us ever-closer to the One who saves us.  Amen.

[1] Acts 1:8. The scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.
[2] Donald Senior, Exegetical Perspective on Luke 24:13-35 in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A, Vol. 2, David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, General Editors (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), p. 421.
[3] Jeremiah 29:14.
[4] Psalm 137:4.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Apostles on Both Sides of the Door

April 19, 2020
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Union, Illinois
There are times when the best idea is to stay behind closed doors. It’s safer there. Outside, you may catch the deadly disease or get hit by the storm. It is a dangerous world out there, both literally and figuratively. Our fears can drive us to seek shelter. When you’re faced with an actual pandemic or tornado, responding to our fear by seeking shelter is the right thing to do. Make sure everyone you’re responsible for has made it to safety. Stay inside; and wash your hands.

Responding to a tornado and responding to a pandemic require different responses, but there are similarities. Once the storm has passed, it is time to assess the damage, check on our neighbors, and offer help where needed. In the pandemic we have to keep the door shut, but we still need to assess the damage, and the potential for long-term disruptions, and we still need to check on our neighbors, but perhaps over the phone rather than over the fence.

Sometimes our help is not needed, at least not yet. Tragedy and hardship can be slow moving. It is hard to wait, knowing your help will be needed, but right now it might aggravate the problem. Even more, our urgency to help out diminishes with time, and a few months from now we’ll be distracted by other needs and forget about the families who lost a loved one, or a job, or a home. We want to help right now! But we must discipline ourselves to conserve our supplies, our money, and our energy for when it will be most helpful.

When the danger is more of a metaphor, when the threat is not immanent, and the damage is harder to discern, it can be harder to know when and how to open the door or reach out to others. When we are safely behind the metaphorical locked door, we can attend to our personal needs, healing and wholeness only with those we trust, and ignore the troubles on the other side of the door.

The church, at times, has become closed to the outside world. The sacred and pure are reserved for a private group, and the rest of the world is profane, dirty, and hazardous. The public and, especially, political world outside the door is off limits. We view with skepticism those who want the church to have a voice in the public sphere, especially when they’re not from our church. Beyond that door, however, are the social, economic, political, and civic realities that affect us all. And God did not call us together as a church to hide the gospel and hoard away the grace.

The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. Whether it was fear of the religious authorities who might come after them as associates of Jesus, or for fear that they might be accused of having stolen away with the body, John tells us the disciples met behind a door that was closed and locked. But the door did not keep out the risen Christ. Jesus enters in wherever we are, even when we’re hiding in fear, bringing peace.

Thomas had his doubts. We don’t know why Thomas doubted; perhaps, like most of us, he resisted easy answers to the hard questions of faith. Many of us have experienced the deep darkness of doubt, or struggled with the troubling silence of God. Most of us have managed to cling to our faith in the midst of such experiences. The hardship experienced during these intense periods of doubt and despair has been described as “the dark night of the soul.”[1] Even Mother Teresa of Calcutta struggled with doubt; she “felt so abandoned by God that she was unable to pray.”[2] Doubt is a natural part of faith.

We might ask the question, “Why did God let grandma die of the virus?” or “Where was God when the tornado hit Mississippi?” We doubt, and we wonder why the terrible things happened. I get it. I have my doubts too. But I think we often get stuck looking for a miracle, a happy ending to everything, the perfect savior to make everything better. When we seek only the perfect, we don’t recognize what is there in the imperfect, the wounded, the possibility that God doesn’t always make the bad things go away. Sometimes God is right there with us, weeping with us, praying with us, sharing the pain and sorrow and hardship of life. Sometimes, when we search too hard for Jesus, we don’t notice that he’s already in the room, seeking us out, wherever we are, just as we are.

The other disciples didn’t argue with rational and empirical explanations. Thomas didn’t seek out Jesus to demand answers. Jesus entered the room, despite the locked doors, in order to reach Thomas. Jesus came to meet Thomas where he was, seeking him out when he had lost faith. It can be that way with us as well. When we are faced with difficult questions, and our hold on faith is tenuous, God will seek us out, enter through the locked doors that we have built around us, and offer us love and grace when all seems lost.

It may not look like Jesus. John tells us that the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus, not at first. It is likely that when Jesus comes to find us in our moments of despair, we will not recognize him either. How can we know when God arrives? Jesus gave two clues to Thomas. He spoke the words, “Peace be with you,” and then said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side” (John 20:27). When God comes to us in our times of doubt, we will recognize God’s presence when peace is offered, when the pain and sorrow of life is acknowledged, and when we realize that we have been sought out by that love which is stronger than death.

We may not recognize that God was with grandma when she died, as the nurse held her hand, singing familiar songs to her as she let go of this world. We may not realize that God was not in the tornado, but in the voice of the store manager hustling everyone into the basement. We may not recognize the face, that it was God’s smile on the first-responder who helped us out from under the debris. We may not recognize the risen Christ, who appears like a regular person, wounded, weeping, sharing the experience of life with us.

John’s story doesn’t end with a private celebration locked away behind closed doors. The story continues with Jesus giving them a new name and a new task. They are no longer disciples, meaning followers. Now they are apostles, those who are sent into the world to carry on the mission. “As [God] has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). The Apostles had the Holy Spirit breathed into them, and were sent out the door to bring peace and love, hope and healing to a world in turmoil.

We might rest content with what we have already accomplished, sharing the peace of Christ behind the closed door of the personal and private. But the world outside that door needs us. Disciples, apostles, followers of Jesus can’t just focus on ourselves. We are sent to others. Strengthened by the peace of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are sent into our community to help people in need or in distress, people who have lost loved ones to the virus, their homes to the storm, or their jobs to economic insecurity. We are sent over the phone, and through the internet to bring hope and solidarity to those struggling to survive a global pandemic. We are given the charge to bear the forgiving, transforming love of God into every sphere of human existence, the social, economic, political, and civic realities that dominate our lives.

The storm may not be over. The virus may not be contained. Our fears and doubts may remain. Our questions may not yet have answers. But we are more than disciples. We, too, are apostles. We cannot simply attend to our personal well-being. We must be apostles on both sides of the door,[3] taking care of ourselves and our own, but also taking care of everyone else too. We share in the manifestation of the risen Christ who seeks us out wherever we are, and sends us out to heal the world. Amen.

[1] Attributed to St. John of the Cross, 16th century Catholic mystic.
[2] Nicole Winfield, “Mother Teresa despaired that God had abandoned her” in Providence Journal, Sep. 3, 2016.
[3] D. Cameron Murchison, Pastoral Perspective on John 20:19-31 in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B, Vol. 2, David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, General Editors (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), p. 404.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Do Not Hold On To Me

April 12, 2020
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Union, Illinois

John 20:1-18

They were young men still, Peter and John. Though they had been following Jesus for a long time, more than two years, there was still more boyish energy in them than manly reserve. So it is not surprising to see them jump up at the words of Mary and race for the tomb. “He’s not there?” you can almost hear them saying. “This I’ve got to see!” As if in competition they race for the tomb, and the “other disciple” – presumably John – outran Peter and got there first. Peter, not one to lose a race, marches right into the tomb.

What they find there proves that Mary was right, but they’re still stumped. You can imagine them saying to one another, “Huh. I don’t get it.” Peter presumably comes to the same conclusion as Mary, that the tomb has been raided by grave robbers. John takes a second look. Maybe he notices the care with which the burial clothes have been arranged. Not robbery, but something else.

If the body was moved, to another tomb, the burial clothes would not have been left behind. And if the body had been stolen in order to be desecrated, why the care taken with the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head? John saw and believed that something bigger was happening. But it would take something more to make it sink in for them. Later that evening the Lord appeared in a locked room and they were finally able to say: “We have seen the risen Christ!”

Mary Magdalene’s experience is different. She too is confused by what she finds, but in her case she is blinded by grief. She came alone, while it was still dark, to pour out her grief before the tomb. She had been there, at the foot of the cross, watching as her Lord had died in that terrible way, and she was already deeply wounded. Imagine her pain when she sees the stone has been moved away, the body missing. She runs to find Peter and John and cries out, “They have taken the Lord.” She returns to the tomb in anguish.

When she does finally look in, hoping to find that she was wrong, that the body really was there, she instead sees the angels. The implication of their presence is lost in her grief, and in her distress she repeats what she knows, “They have taken away my Lord.” She then turns away from the tomb, away from this heavenly visitation. Nowhere else in scripture does someone brush aside an angel. But they are not what she seeks. Not even angels compare to the reality of Jesus. He is not there in the tomb, so she turns away.

Then the Lord appeared. In turning, she sees him, yet she does not know who he is. When reality is too much for us to cope with, our minds sometimes superimpose something rational, familiar. It must be the gardener. Again she turns away. Only, he calls her by name. “Mary!” And in that moment she knew: “My Teacher!” She turns around, to see the Good Shepherd who calls his own sheep by name.

We are often like Peter and John. We’re focused on the tomb and what happened to the body. We’re not content with mystery; we want the facts! And how are we supposed to explain this impossible, amazing event to anyone who doesn’t already believe? No one I know has actually seen a resurrection. But it does help me to remember that no one saw it happen on Easter morning either.

The resurrection was entirely between Jesus and God. There were no witnesses. No one can say what happened inside the tomb, because no one was there. When Mary arrived that morning, he was already gone. Peter and John saw the linen wrappings. Mary saw angels. The rest of the disciples didn’t even show up at the tomb; but that did not matter because the empty tomb was not the point.

Jesus was too busy not being dead. He had places to go and people to see. Jesus lives, and he’s not just going to hang around in the graveyard. The Lord appeared, first to Mary, and then to the disciples, and then to Thomas, who doubted. He even went down to the beach to have breakfast with the fishermen.

There in the garden, the risen Christ appeared to Mary. This was the moment when everything changed. Jesus is alive. Our Lord is the Living God. The realm of God is here, in the heart of every believer, and not even death can stop the Ruler of Heaven and Earth.

“He is risen!” proclaims Mary, and we reply “Christ is risen indeed!” This is more than an historical claim. It is a deeply personal, as well as communal, affirmation. The disciples’ experience of the risen Christ is the same presence they knew before his death. The presence of the living Christ has been experienced by Christians in all times and places. Just as Peter and John and Mary each had a different experience in the garden, so each of us experiences the risen Christ in our own lives in different ways. But the presence of Jesus in our lives is real and powerful.

Easter is about transformation. It is the transformation of death into life. It is the transformation of doubt into belief. But more than that, it is the transformation of the world, and it won’t happen without us. Encountering the risen Christ in an Easter moment is staggering. But following Jesus after that encounter means that we must be passionate about the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God has been described as “the world the prophets dreamed of – a world of distributive justice in which everyone has enough and systems are fair.” This “is God's dream… that can only be realized by being grounded ever more deeply in the reality of God, whose heart is justice.”[1]

The kingdom of God was described by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the night before he was assassinated. “The question is not, ‘If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?’ ‘If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?’ That's the question.”[2] The kingdom of God is not a place, but a way of living that puts justice, peace, compassion, and love first above all things.

There in the garden, Jesus said to Mary, “Do not hold on to me.” We cannot cling to him, hoping that he will make everything okay for us. Jesus sends Mary to proclaim the good news as he ascends to God, and she turns to face the future. A future that is not bereft of the presence of Jesus, but instead a future where the Living Lord has appeared, and all of us may follow and be disciples. Amen.

[1] Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week, 2007.
[2] Martin Luther King, Jr., Mason Temple, Memphis, TN, April 3, 1968.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Crowds of Common Folk

April 5, 2020 – Palm Sunday
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Union, Illinois

Matthew 21:1-17

The crowds went ahead of him, and the crowds followed after him. The king enters the city, “humble, and mounted on a donkey” (v. 5). Except he wasn’t the king, at least not in the way the people of that time were familiar with. Jesus enters the city with a crowd cheering him on, cutting palms and laying them on the path ahead of him – the original red-carpet treatment. But the crowd that went ahead and followed behind were not the people of the city. “When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ (v. 10). To many people he was still unknown.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was meant to evoke the entry of a triumphant military ruler into that city. It was the custom for Pontius Pilate to make a similarly militaristic triumphal entry to Jerusalem — with war horse, chariot, and weapons — each year in the days before Passover to remind the pilgrims that Rome was in charge. Such a demonstration would have been especially poignant since Passover was explicitly a celebration of the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.[1]

Indeed, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem underscores the dissonance of Pilate entering the city like a conquering king – Rome has taken the place of Egypt, and the Emperor is the new Pharaoh. When the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee enters the city, he comes surrounded not by soldiers and symbols of military might, but by common folk and humble symbols of peace, and the promise of hope for the downtrodden. Jesus carries no weapons, nor does he ride on a stallion or a chariot. He rides the most unmilitary mount imaginable: a female donkey with her little colt trotting along beside her.[2] The Prince of Peace, or the king of violence, and the hearts of the people of Jerusalem are the prize.

The people who accompany Jesus are not the powerful; they possess no formal authority to change their world, nor does their leader seek the same kind of power exercised by the religious and military rulers. Instead, they have come because they have seen and heard of a new way of life, an alternative to the oppression, exclusion, and injustice that they face every day. They have come because they have witnessed the kingdom of God in the life of Jesus. They have come not to conquer with violence, but with love.

For us, this crowd calls to mind the many stories of common folk who have recognized that we are able to accomplish more together than we can alone. We remember the women and men who provided safe passage on the Underground Railroad for slaves seeking freedom. We remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church in Germany in the 1930s, who took a definitive stance that their loyalty was to Jesus as Lord, not to Hitler and the Nazis. We remember young people in South Africa who stood against apartheid and formed the African National Congress Youth League in 1944 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. We remember the 250,000 women, men, and children from diverse racial, ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds who gathered on the National Mall on August 28, 1963, who heard the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and took a stand for justice and human dignity.[3] The basic hope of these crowds was the same: peace, a better world, and an alternative to the broken systems that have failed us.[4]

Today we might think of the common folk that work in healthcare, working unseen against an invisible enemy, heroically laboring together to care for people sickened by the coronavirus. We might think of the common folk who work each day at the grocery stores, ensuring that the shelves are stocked and the contact surfaces are disinfected. We might think of the common folk working alone in schools, sending online lessons and leading Zoom meetings with students to ensure their continuing education during this national emergency. And we might count ourselves in the crowds of common folk staying home, dutifully not gathering in groups, trying to prevent a too-rapid spread of COVID-19.

These crowds of common folk in our time are not gathered at the gates of the city, cheering the military parade of the conquering hero. We are too busy doing the work of God’s Kingdom, healing, helping, caring, loving, and protecting the vulnerable. We are working from home, teaching our children, calling and video-conferencing with family, friends, and co-workers.

We remember the story of common folk entering Jerusalem with Jesus, folk like you and me, so that we may find the courage to walk with Jesus in our time and proclaim a world of peace, justice, and love. We will need courage. We will need courage to follow Jesus because he will do dangerous things and upset the people in power. He will turn over the tables and drive the profiteers out of the temple.

There are money-changers in the temple in our time too. There are people who are buying and selling to make a profit off this crisis. There are those who sold their stocks while telling the rest of us that everything would be fine. There are those who raise the price of ventilators and personal protective equipment needed by hospitals because they can get more money from someone else. There are those who are looking out for their own interests first, when they should be serving the needs of the people.

It will take courage to challenge the den of robbers, especially for common folk like us. It will take courage to drive out those who are selling and buying, profiting off the misery of those suffering from this disease or trying to care for them. It will take courage to keep battling this pandemic. But we are not only common folk, we are followers of the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.

We follow Jesus who comes in peace bringing hope for the downtrodden. We follow Jesus who turned over the tables. We follow Jesus who cured the blind and the lame. We follow Jesus who walked up Calvary to Golgotha. We follow Jesus who walked in the garden early in the morning. We may be staying at home rather than marching into the city, but we are watching what is coming down the road. We will survive this crisis and continue the work of justice, peace, and love. We shout “Hosanna!”, and when people ask us what we’re shouting about, we can tell them that we have witnessed the Kingdom of God in the life of Jesus, the one who comes in the name of the Lord. “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

[1] John Dominic Crossan, “Study Guide” accompanying the DVD series First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom © 2009.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Veronice Miles, “Pastoral Perspective” on Matthew 21:1-11 in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor general editors, Year A, Volume 2 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), p. 154, 156.
[4] Carl Gregg, Lectionary Commentary: “Jesus, a Donkey, and Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity” (for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011), April 8, 2011 6:02 pm, from: