Blog Archive


The Community and Walking with Jesus

Did you make your list of ways you are helped in walking the Way of Christ? Did you make your list of ways you can help others in their walk? Are you ready to share?

Last month I asked each of us to think about how our church community could aid us as we walk collectively and individually along the Way, the way of Christ. It was a busy month. My list is not done, maybe yours too, but the call is still there. I’m convinced if we don’t think about what would help us walk more surely, consistently, and transformationally (I think this is a word I made up so please excuse) we are doomed to repeat the old way and become stuck. And if we don’t share our needs and dreams with each other our community is stuck in the old ways and limited. The world needs more than that from us; Jesus calls us forward.

These are the questions:
What helps you as you walk the Way of Christ? What do you need now?

What do you do that helps others walk the Way of Christ? What might you do if needed?

Please answer generally and specifically. Share your answers by putting your lists on the blog and entering into a dialogue with others in community.

Blessings, Caroline


Walking with Jesus during Holy Week: Saturday Lying in a Tomb

It is the Sabbath, the day of rest; nothing can be done today. Jesus was buried yesterday evening quickly, quietly. The women saw where and were there; guards too were sent to seal and make secure the sepulcher. As you walk today let your heart be with a grieving father, a sorrowful mother, a frightened group of disciples, a resigned friend. You walk alone today.

The text is Matthew 27: 62-66.

59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matt. 27: 59 - 61)

Cemeteries can evoke all sorts of emotions. We come to remember, we come to honor, we come to cry. They are both of place of the living and of the dead. Be in one today.

Reflect in your entire being, mind, heart, body, and soul, what this day means to a living God. Is God crying?

Reflect on your journey this Lenten season. Who is the Jesus you now know? Who do you expect to meet on Easter morning? Who are you to him? Who is he for the world?


Walking with Jesus during Holy Week: Friday Dying

The die is cast. Jesus is guilty of blasphemy, sedition, and silence. Pilate can’t have a riot on his watch; the religious authorities incite the crowd; the people turn to another savior. Established power rules the day. Jesus is mocked not rescued; he is forsaken even by God or so he cries. Mercifully he dies this day and is buried at sun down. There is nothing left to do—go home. It is over, finished. Walk today knowing your part in the crucifixion, feel the pain of our world’s violent violation of others, express your regrets and remorse. Kneel at the foot of the cross.

Matthew’s account of Good Friday is found in chapter 27: 1 – 61.

20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21The governor again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." 22Pilate said to them, "Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" All of them said, "Let him be crucified!" 23Then he asked, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!" 24... Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning,.... 26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. (Matt. 27: 20 – 24a, 26)

Reflect on the power of evil to take over the crowd, crowds we join or will join perhaps.


Walking with Jesus during Holy Week: Thursday Eating, Praying, Betraying

Jesus today desires to eat the Passover meal with his disciples. You are invited. It’s a special time; God’s covenant will be remembered, celebrated, and made new; later we will become aware of how sacred this hour was. But today we want to know, “Will you Jesus lead us into the Kingdom now?” or “Is this just another painful reminder of our lack of power?” It’s festival time, a feast day, a time of hope. Jesus though talked of betrayal, of dying, of something asked of him that he so wished to avoid. This is a hard day to walk with Jesus. Think carefully how you will engage. Listen. Choose. Will you eat with him at the last supper? Will you pray with him in Gethsemane? Will you watch as he is arrested and brought before the high priests? Will you run away?

Read and choose or be led: Matthew 26: 17 – 75.

20When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; 21and while they were eating, he said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me." 22And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, "Surely not I, Lord?" (Matt. 26: 20 - 21)

26While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt. 26: 26 – 28)

36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." (Matt. 26: 36)

48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him." (Matt. 26: 48)

73After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you." 74Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know the man!" At that moment the cock crowed. 75Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matt. 26: 73 – 75)
Reflect on who Jesus is today, Maundy Thursday, this year.


Walking with Jesus during Holy Week: Wednesday Anointing and Dealing

Plans are laid—the authorities have determined they must arrest and kill Jesus; it is their Godly duty. Jesus retires to Bethany. There a woman anoints him with expensive ointment much to the chagrin of the other disciples it seems. They’re being frugal and worried about the poor! Judas sneaks out and makes a deal to deliver Jesus to the chief priests. Let this poignant story engage all of your being. As you walk smell the perfume, see Jesus’ head and face, feel the antagonism of the disciples, hear the jangle of coins Judas received, and taste the bile of betrayal.

Matthew tells the story in chapter 26, the first sixteen verses.

10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." 14Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, "What will you give me if I betray him to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver. (Matt. 26: 10-15)

Ponder as you walk: Two disciples, followers of the same Jesus, how did she get it but he didn’t? Can Jesus help you understand and untangle?

Reflect on what you get and what you don’t get about the Christ.


Walking with Jesus during Holy Week: Tuesday Teaching the Disciples

Jesus leaves the Temple. The authorities have made their decision; the crowds waver. Now he talks to his disciples; is he talking to you? His message comes with words of coming tribulations, admonitions to be ready, and warnings of judgment. The end is soon Jesus declares. Asked when or how we will know, he simply says be prepared. Only the Father knows the time and the season. These are hard words to hear, particularly for those who are suffering because they have followed.

Read the warnings and stories of coming judgment in chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew’s gospel. Take an image that comes to you as you walk.

In three parables—maidens with lamps keeping watch for the bridegroom, servants entrusted with property while their master is away, and nations judged based on how they treat others—Jesus describes those ready and blessed and those not. What do you hear as you walk with Jesus? Listen carefully, Jesus talks to you.

12But he replied, "Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Matt. 25: 12-13)

23His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' (Matt. 25: 23)

41And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' (Matt. 25: 41)

Reflect on the meaning of discipleship for you as Jesus retreats from public discourse.


Walking with Jesus during Holy Week: Monday Teaching the Crowds

Street Celebration Honolulu, Hawaii

The festival crowds have gathered in Jerusalem and Jesus is a person of interest. He returns to the city in the morning and begins to explain his way; he tells parables and spars with the authorities. The picture his stories paint and indeed his words sound ominous. Coming rejection, criticism of the current ways, and woes for the city’s future, pour forth from his mouth. Listening to him today may hurt. The religious leaders have hardened their opposition. Passover is their celebration of Judah’s liberation from slavery and the founding of a nation chosen by God and they are its directors. No upstart from the hill country should threaten their position, so they challenge Jesus’ authority. As you walk ask Jesus to teach you—listen for words directed particularly at you and your concerns.

Today’s passages are Matthew 21: 18 – 23: 39.

Jesus has an encounter with a fig tree on the way into the city. When he enters the temple the chief priests and elders confront him asking for credentials for what he does. Jesus turns the question back on his challengers so we’re left with question: "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" (Matt. 21:23b) How will you answer?

Jesus continues telling story of two sons who respond to their father’s request differently and more importantly both do the opposite of what they had promised. Jesus’ next stories increase the intensity of the message of the coming rejection of the one God has sent. The caretakers of the vineyard kill the owner’s son when he comes and the king’s wedding invitations are snubbed by the ‘good’ people so only the riff raff attend. Then he said to his slaves, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet." (Matt. 22: 8-9)
Be honest—would you be among those who accepted the invitation?

The Sadducees now come to question Jesus; they intend to dampen his appeal to the crowd by forcing him to answer loaded questions. But he gets the better of them and turns the table. He asks them a question: "What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?" (Matt. 22: 42). Their answer Jesus proves impossible. The religious authorities are silenced. But we must answer. How will you?

Jesus now lays bare the hypocrisy of the religious establishment and their misuse of their position to bind rather than free the peoples; they will miss the anointed one. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" (Matt. 23:29) Be with Jesus in his lament, his pain for Jerusalem.

Walk today with the word you hear in Jesus’ debates.
Walk today with Jesus who laments the failure of many to understand, particularly those who should. How is Jesus lamenting today?

Reflect on your walk and what you hear from Jesus.