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.
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.
Who can deny that the heart of marriage is the love and commitment between the partners? Can you? So, it makes perfect sense to me that public opinion in the United States has moved inexorably toward supporting marriage for same-sex couples.
So the senior pastor and I decided not to chant the communion liturgy this year during Lent, thinking it would be simple and a bit austere—and that, like "Alleluia," we might miss it and long for its return. It's not a total fast, as we still chant the "Kyrie," although that's usually the choir, not me or the senior pastor.
There is still a tremendous gender gap in ministry. By and large, women are the associate pastors and solo pastors. Men are the tall-steeple preachers. (Men of my generation are very sad about this, and they lament it—sincerely, I believe—but will gladly move into those prestigious and well-paying positions even as they tilt their heads sympathetically and decry the patriarchy.)
One of the cool traditions that our church is a part of is what is called “Lenten lunches.” Every Thursday throughout Lent, a different church in our city opens its doors to sisters and brothers from other denominations for a short devotional, followed by a simple lunch of soup and bread. Last week, I was at a table with a few other pastors and the conversation inevitably turned to the demands of ministry: the sometimes seemingly endless meetings, the overwhelming needs of people that we are so often powerless to meet, the importance of boundaries, etc. There was plenty of knowing nodding and mm-hmming. But then there was a pause.
Feeling the need for inspiration as a good Christian woman, I logged onto Today’s Christian Woman. And sure enough, the first image to appear was one that spoke to me, a real heart-to-heart moment. A woman with a shopping bag slung over her shoulder was looking back as if to say, “Come on! Let’s run to the mall for a quick shopping spree.”
Last week was the anniversary of the trial of Galileo, and time for a predictable plethora of commentary all over the place along the good-scientist/bad-prelates line. I have myself written about this in the past, here and here, and don't really want to do it again, but the pseudoargument sat jarringly with other happenings in my world. Particularly, I have been thinking about illusions. About lying, falsehood, deception, prevarications, elaboration of the truth, strategic silences and all the other devices behind which we hide from the light.
There is a wicked irony that as the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, the country’s highest court is edging closer to gutting one of the movement’s greatest victories.