I grew up long before the age of YouTube. My Sunday school rooms were in a church basement in western Nebraska. We didn't even have filmstrips! When I think back to the story of the first Pentecost, I remember an illustration on one of those Sunday school leaflets that we kids took home each week. The Pentecost leaflet showed men in robes standing in a room looking out of some windows.
The day before my wedding, I picked up ten cases of table
wine from a local winery--and one bottle of sweet wine for communion. The folks
at the winery had encountered local-food enthusiasts planning receptions before,
but the communion thing seemed to surprise them. "My son always says this
tastes just like altar wine!" said the woman who rang me up.
The reading from 1 Peter seems oddly disconnected from recent lectionary themes. What are we to make of this language of fiery ordeals and roaring lions during Easter season? It conjures up images of Joan of Arc, John Hus and others who met their ends in the cruel and literal flames of persecution.
The Areopagus--the former location of the Athenian
equivalent of the Roman senate--was a center of civic life. The name comes from
"Ares," the Greek god of war, and "pagos," which means "hill" or "rock." The
Roman equivalent of Ares is Mars, hence the translation sometimes used: the
Eating at my city grandmother's table was a chore. I remember being dressed up, speaking in soft tones
if at all, and being terrified of spilling on that lace
tablecloth. But my country grandma served her meals in the kitchen.
Reflecting on depression among African Americans and its isolating effects, Wynnetta Wimberley of Emory University says the African adage “I am, because we are” should be used to combat depression in the black community. One study has shown that African Americans are more likely to seek help from clergy than from mental health counseling or medication. Hence African-American pastors play a key role of helping to overcome the shame of depression and restoring people’s place in their communities (Journal of Pastoral Theology, March).