Whenever something sad or evil happens in the world, I think of the church. I mean, that particular church on the corner, up the street, where there may be a pastor, weak or strong, and a congregation, weak or strong, a little band of pray-ers and lovers and singers and sinners.
Like the majority of Presbyterians—and perhaps the majority of all mainline Protestants—our church offers confirmation for youth who are in eighth grade. The church I served previously did confirmation in ninth grade, so I’ve always reflected on the difference between the two. At first, my thinking mostly involved differences in maturity.
We pull out all the stops on Easter. So do you, I'll bet. We have the flowers, and the music, and the crowds. This year we had an incredible liturgical dancer who carried the paschal candle throughout the sanctuary. The Easter sermon was clear and dramatic and inspiring.
One hears a lot, these days, about the virtues of doubt. There is much talk about creating space for doubt, encouraging doubt, dignifying doubt, about how doubt is preferable to the illusory certainties of faith, about how doubt can even be an important part of faith.
Not since Kony 2012 has my Facebook feed been awash in such a prolific meme: red Human Rights Campaign equal signs. I’m not exaggerating when I say more than half my Facebook friends (with recent updates) either have changed their Facebook profile pic or shared and/or liked the image. We discussed the fad in my Faith and Leadership class yesterday. After that conversation, I’m somehow both less cynical about social media and more convicted about the power for meaningful conversations face-to-face.
Apparently the term “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin phrase “mandatum novum” meaning “new commandment.” The reference is to John 13, which features the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, followed by his statement about a new commandment he has given them, to love one another.
We actually reached this passage in my class on the Gospel of John yesterday, and had an interesting discussion about whether this commandment is “new,” and if so, in what sense.