April 24, 2022

Easter 2C – George Yandell

“Peace to you,” said Jesus to his disciples, huddled in the room in fear on Easter evening. ‘Salem’ is Peace in Aramaic, ‘Shalom’ in Hebrew. They feared those who’d collaborated with the Roman officials to have Jesus crucified, they feared living without Jesus. They were scared enough to lock the doors and hideout. Maybe rumors of the empty tomb had reached them- maybe they were just still too traumatized by Jesus’ crucifixion to venture out of a safe place. But Jesus came, stood among them, and said, Salem. And he said it again. “Peace to you.” 

Interestingly, he and the disciples were gathered in Yaru-salem, the city whose name means “Foundation of God.” I think the disciples may have heard two complementary messages when Jesus spoke to them, and we might as well. 

1) Jerusalem, the city of Zion, was the site of the crucifixion, and the resurrection. It became the foundation for their faith in the resurrected Jesus.

2) When Jesus spoke “Peace” to them, they also might have heard echoes of Salem, a name for God. I think they may have been quaking, seeing Jesus alive, and they may have realized that everything is different, the foundation of God has shifted, everything is new. All is right!! Jesus lives!

The peace Jesus spoke is the new foundation of the new city of God. Poor Thomas- he’d missed the appearing of Jesus, so no wonder he didn’t get it. How could he?

Continue reading April 24, 2022

April 17, 2022

Easter C – George Yandell

“Now I lay me down to sleep…..” How many of you recited that bed-time prayer as children?  I don’t know about you, but I never dwelt on “If I die before I wake, pray the Lord my soul to take.” Some say Jesus was praying a bedtime prayer on the cross, psalm 22- we’ve been reciting Psalm 22 on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but we’ve left off the last stanzas, which are uplifting. They are vindication for the one praying the psalm, where God has forsaken him. Hear some of those stanzas:

“To God alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; my soul shall live for God, my descendants shall serve God; they shall be known as the Lord’s forever. They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving deeds that God has done.” If Jesus did pray those stanzas, he was doing much the same that many of us did- he was taking solace from familiar bedtime words. Almost foretelling that his ministry, his life would continue and thrive after his death.  And then, Easter morning: 

Resurrection!! Jesus rose from death before anyone else knew of it. He rose alone, long before dawn, on the first day of the week after Passover in 30 a.d. It was a new day, a new week, a new creation. God had raised him, not taking his soul, but re-creating Jesus, a new man.

The idea of resurrection was known first in the mind of God. The unfathomable,

Continue reading April 17, 2022

April 15, 2022

Good Friday Year C – George Yandell

When I was a little boy in Mobile, my best friend Mikey lived next door. He was a year older than I. He had to lift me over the low fence when we went from his yard into mine. We played together nearly every day. On the other side of our house lived a girl who babysat for me. (I thought she was the most wonderful girl in the world.) Her father grew beautiful daylilies in his front yard. There were 100’s of them, many different colors. One day in the spring, Mikey suggested we pick a few of the daylilies. So we did. And we picked some more. And we picked more and more until we had picked every daylily in Mr. Hodges’s front yard. They were lying all over the ground. I knew we had done something bad. Mikey said not to worry, that no one would ever know how it happened. 

Mr. Hodges came home from work and knocked on our front door. Mikey was there, playing with me in our back yard. When Mr. Hodges told my mother about his flowers, she was real upset. As I remember it, she brought Mr. Hodges into the back yard, and said, “Boys, Mr. Hodges has something he’d like to ask you.” I remember freezing up and being afraid. Mr. Hodges asked whether we knew anything about his flowers. Mikey piped up, “No, George and I have been playing back here all day.” I couldn’t bear the look in my mother’s eye,

Continue reading April 15, 2022

April 14, 2022

Maundy Thursday – George Yandell

I’d like to offer a distinction, tiny in some ways, earth-shaking in others. The distinction comes from comments Marcus Borg made on the pilgrimage to Turkey that I took in 2006 with 40 other pilgrims. What would it be like for us instead of saying “We have faith in Jesus,” to say “We have the faith of Jesus?” Do you hear the fine distinction? To claim the faith of Jesus makes me, for one, sit up, take notice, and feel woefully inadequate. On this holy night, the faith of Jesus drives him to offer the most poignant goodbye in religious history.

In every thing he did, Jesus disclosed the character of God. Having the faith Jesus himself had in God means we have the passion for doing God’s will, as Jesus did. It means having the confidence in God that Jesus demonstrated the night before he was cruelly tortured and murdered by the Roman Empire. It means we participate in the passion for justice Jesus lived each hour of his ministry. For us it implies the same loyalty to God that Jesus lived up to the moment of his death.

There are many overlays in our remembering the last night before Jesus’ crucifixion. First, there was the foot washing. Peter balked, as we heard, at having his feet washed by Jesus. Peter thought it was too embarrassing, too demeaning for Jesus to do so. But as he washed the feet of his closest friends,

Continue reading April 14, 2022