Essential Workers at the Cross

Who was essential at the cross?

Not Peter or John, Matthew or Mark.

Simon was essential: when Jesus could no longer carry the cross, Simon, a common laborer, with the strength to do the manual labor, the construction, the carrying of an essential item to where it needed to be. Simon was essential.

So were the two criminals who hung by the cross. Worthless and killed for being heretics, these two were essential for having the existential and theological conversation about who was saved and who wasn’t, and when was it too late to be saved.

The Centurion, and the common prison guards, were essential, they were the first to realize Jesus was the Son of God after he died. These workers in prison were essential.

Joseph of Arimathea, was essential. He gave up his own burial place, and risked his own death by the officials, boldly asking Pilate for the body, revealing what he believed and why. Then Joseph and Nicodemus polluted themselves–wrapping the dead body with their own hands, and using Nicodemus own mixed spices to move Jesus to the tomb. These men who put down politics to work with the dead were essential.

The women were essential. The women were sent, because they were thought to be harmless. Women prepared Jesus for the tomb with the wrappings and the spices to hide the bad smell. They entered the grave, where the guards watched–socially distant–to make certain no mischief was done. Women were the worthless but essential workers of the day.

Who was essential at the cross? Who did the work that needed to done? Who carried, cleaned, buried, wept, wrapped and worshipped?

Help us to pray and remember and rejoice in all of the essential workers we pray. Amen.

Pandemic Prayers

John 3:1-17: Narrative Lectionary, first thoughts

Less than compelling than Nicodemus in a tree (I mean Zecheus is way more fun story)….I mean really, they are secretly meeting to…..discuss theology… and to make matters worse, this is the where all the “Born agains” get their terminology…..As Beuchner says, the problem isn’t being born again, its proclaiming it like your a Super Christian

John 3:1-17

3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Pneuma: Wind, Spirit….we will be born on the wind, or the spirit….because “the wind blows where it chooses” Fresh air…the winds of change will blow us, and being born again/born from above (this is a pun in Greek that means both)… We are able to be MORE flexible because of God (not less) You know some great examples of winds of change (beyond the Holy Spirit) Mary Poppins Image Wizard of Oz Image You know the old serenity prayer? I think its a good one…. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. But maybe another viable version is God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change the courage to change the things I can the graciousness to grow into changes around me and the serenity to know the difference.

Another good resource on this passage 🙂