As a John scholar, I have always been fascinated with the scribal confusion about Jesus' "I AM" statement: "I am the resurrection and the life." Some of the ancient manuscripts for the Gospel of John omit "and the life," with the assumption that this is a redundancy and that no self-respecting Jesus would repeat himself. This is Martha's misunderstanding, isn't it?
A majority of congregations in the United States average fewer than 100 in attendance. While some congregations manage to employ a full-time minister with the requisite M.Div. and standing in their denomination, many others can't afford this desirable arrangement.
It's a truism that Christianity lives and breathes as much
(or more) through music as through preaching or teaching, to say nothing of
dense theological texts--so Christian preachers and teachers should be on the
lookout for ways to incorporate the great hymns of the tradition into our
sermons, lessons and other theological work.
As a church musician, I've been known to program what I thought were familiar Charles Wesley hymns, only to find my non-Methodist song leaders tongue-tied by the ambitious melodies and all-doctrine-all-the-time words. When I have a week off and visit an Episcopal church, the Hymnal 1982's Arthur Sullivan tunes make my mind wander to operetta.
Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, said he is in conversation with Pope Francis, Coptic leader Pope Tawadros, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Orthodox church, about establishing a fixed date for Easter. Easter in the Western church is on the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon following the spring equinox. It can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. The Orthodox churches follow the Julian calendar and celebrate Easter at a later date. The Vatican approved a proposal for a fixed date in 1990, subject to agreement with other Christian churches and government, which has not yet been reached (BBC, January 15).