Sunday, April 02, 2006

April 9, 2006 - Year B -Palm/Passion Sunday

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, (40-47)

Passion or Palm Sunday? Some years one seems more appropriate to the situation than the other. There is also the reality of ruts and we keep focusing on one or the other, year after year.

How might we continue to hold these two in tension as we need both to walk steadily along taking events as they come (Palm emphasis) and to recognize our aversion to tough spots and to keep them ever before us as a way of looking at the world (Passion emphasis).

My bias is for Palm Sunday and to let the troubles of tomorrow take care of themselves in due time. There is a surfeit of being able to find the downside of life and a deficit of finding something to celebrate in the direst of situations.


  1. Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16

    In Mark we play an important part of setting up the recognized presence of Jesus. We go out of our way to get the colt/donkey/vehicle of peace ready to present Jesus and place our outer lives/coats on the line (vulnerable to receiving the "mark of the donkey" as it passes over).

    In John, King Jesus has resources available at the snap of a finger, only royal palms are used, and, instead of retiring for the night, the Pharisees stay up to complete and confirm their assessment of having no option but to destroy this king in their midst.

    Two very different perceptions and recounting of the same event. In some sense this is a reversal point. Usually speedy Mark lingers over preparation processes while loquacious John is the briefest of the four accounts.

    Finding which of these stories best describes the situation we are in will give us another piece of information about next steps. In Mark, our part is taken back as Jesus goes on to his last act of power, a cursing of the fig tree, and the cleansing of the temple money/sacrifice exchange system. In John, we then see outsiders moving toward Jesus. There is a continuing play between myself and G*D as represented here with my active going to prepare and then Jesus retiring or with Jesus riding forth and my response to find out more. In the back and forth specifics we also find a generally forward arc toward life renewed and life eternal.

  2. Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

    G*D's steadfast love - - for me! - - endures.

    Now comes a question of whether that steadfast love is inclusive or exclusive. Am I an example of all and so the gift to me is a gift available to all? Am I an example to all and so the gift to me shines against the darkness of their non-gift?

  3. Isaiah 50:4-9a

    There are those behind who push and those before who pull, neither in a good way. Hurt is intended and received. It does no good to spin around to confront the strikers as they become the pullers and those who were pulling now push. We simply become more and more unstable as we try to address each and every hurt along the way. Finally we topple over, exhausted.

    An alternative is simply not hiding, riding in to the presence of death's door.

    Perhaps this is not a setting of one's face, like flint, hard and immovable, but a setting of one's eyes on the created goodness within every adversary. We are still upright and moving toward another with steadfast intention to love them. We are not simply reacting to the situations around us, but, not understanding the fuss when all about us are running in all directions, we listen for the teaching of the moment and ready to bring a parabolic word to set imaginations free.

    What city will you be riding into today? Who will you meet and how will you meet them?

  4. Psalm 31:9-16

    One of the deepeners of distress is a consideration of control. Where we think and feel and behave as though we have or deserve a place of privilege because of one small factor or another, we find ourselves in distress when our expectation of an edge doesn't pan out in ways measurable by our idiosyncratic standards.

    G*D, in particular, sets us up for a distressing downfall. We invest all manner of powerful privilege in G*D and expect it to redound to our benefit in the context of whatever modernity is around us. It is difficult to think and feel and behave beyond the culture in which we live and move and have our being.

    When we find ourselves at odds with getting an edge or another rung on our ladder, the establishment (be it religious, political, economic or whatever) intentionally adds to our distress to bring us around to its standard. Our steadfast love, will be called upon to preemptively celebrate defeat and continue living with provocative beauty and challenge in the face of such expected distress.

    Riding into the hypocrisy of a city named for peace that acts otherwise is a powerful moment that can inform the generations to come. Where has your steadfast love ridden these past days? What has encouraged that and what has gotten in the way?

  5. Philippians 2:5-11

    This is not a passage that stands up well to the violent imagery of The Passion of the Christ. It is much more celebrative, more Palm Sunday-ish.

    The humility of the cross is not something that goes over very well in today's digital age. We don't do nuance very well. If it is cross-oriented, the baggage of our religious institutions says it must focus on violence.

    And so a question about where you find encouragement: Well?

    It is out of the Palm or the Passion part of the story? Both together, you say. Then how would you weight them?

  6. Here we may look primarily at the Palm story in light of creation.

    In Mark the section ends with a rest. This punctuates the "it is good" refrain from the Word/Logos/Spirit of GOD moving over the deep with a singing retranslation of, "Peace on Earth" and with the days of an evolving ministry with periodic pronouncements booming retranslations of "you are my beloved" that finally come to this Sabbath when it is already late. Now we lay ourselves down to dream of an 8th day, an easter, if you will.

    It is so easy to get caught in the fevered brow of nightmares to come. It is so hard to rest with friends in Bethany knowing this day has had troubles enough of its own without borrowing some from Thursday or Friday.

    Might this be a humble story that also needs telling? Is this enough? Even if folks, like the disciples of old, run away from the Passion stuff and we are not there to repackage it for them?

  7. Mark 14:1 - 15:47

    [Anointing Oil] She anoints my body for its burial.
    [Waving Palms, Laying Coats] They herald my ministry for its trial.
    [Wrapping Linen] He wraps fear and death in compassion.
    [Living Life] We imitate Christ to learn forsaken faithfulness.

    Wherever good news is proclaimed these stories will be told of a woman, a crowd, a man, and you.

  8. Neurolinguistic Programming

    In the early 1970s in America Richard Bandler, then a young college student studied the work of Fritz Perls and later Virginia Satir and found that he could reproduce their high-level therapy skills to a degree that even surprised him. Bandler seemed to have a natural ability to mimic (model) the language patterns by Virginia and Fritz.

    At the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bandler who was well versed in the teachings of patterns in mathematics and computers teamed up with a college professor, John Grinder to help him understand the processes that were at work. Soon Bandler and Grinder, who used what he knew about patterns in linguistics, created a new model for personal growth called NeuroLinguistic Programming.

    Bandler and Grinder had set out to model the hypnotic skills of Milton Erickson. They had astounding results. They built a communication model about human "thinking" and "processing" and used that model of how we see images, hear sounds, reproduces smells and tactile experiences in our mind to track and model the structure of subjective experiences.

    Sounds very complicated but really it works very simply. Here is an example as used by Paul McKenna - probably the best & most successful hypnotist in the world.

    Close your eyes and think of a negative memory. Become involved in the situation as best as you can. Feel the emotions that you felt, see the things you saw and hear the things you heard.

    Now take that memory and project it onto a mental screen seeing yourself in the picture. Put a frame around the picture and view it as if it is an old photograph. Next drain all the colour from the picture and shrink the screen to the size of a matchbox.

    Have the feelings associated with the picture decreased in any way?

    Another good example of NLP involves Anchors. Have you ever smelt a certain perfume or aftershave and had it remind you of a certain person or situation? Gone to a certain place that brings feelings long forgotten flooding back? Or been in any situation that creates emotional responses that would not normally be associated with it? Well if you can answer yes to any of these then you have experienced anchors. Some anchors are associated with positive feelings and some with negative emotions. However, you should be aware that anchors can be consciously installed or already existing ones altered. Here is an example:

    Think of a time when you were really happy. If you can't think of one then imagine something that would make you feel really happy. See what you would see, hear what you would hear and feel what you would feel. Really get into the picture and try to experience it as though it were happening now.

    Now brighten the colours and make them richer. Increase the volume. Make the picture bigger, brighter, louder. That's it and more and more....

    Now press your first finger against your thumb and fully experience your happy feelings. Do this everyday for 2 weeks and you will create an anchor that will instantly recreate these feelings. Whenever you want to feel like that again just press your thumb and first finger together and wham the feelings will come flooding back! Don't believe me? Just try it and see!!! personal development

  9. The personal development industry has never been bigger! It consists of a myriad of authors basically telling us how to improve our lives. We are constantly being told self help and self improvement has never been easier. New techniques, gadgets and potions adorn the shelves of new age shops and the 1 billion dollar industry, that is personal development, offers many different approaches to help better our lives. They offer ways to increase our bounty and ultimately alter our own reality. A great example of this is how to develop a Prosperity Consciousness. But does this state really exist and if it does will it bring the effortless unlimited wealth promised?
    A lot has been written about prosperity and how to attain it. We have been told by many religious traditions and every personal development guru that the Universersal Source (God, Spirit, Cosmic Mind or whatever label you chose to give it) is boundless wealth. We are also told that abundance, wealth and prosperity are our birthright! Why then are so many people ill, broke, frustrated and unfulfilled? Can a person really develop a prosperity consciousness and effortlessly attract wealth? Well as with everything in life there is only one way to find out. Test it for yourself!
    Before we can attain and then test the effectiveness of having a prosperity consciousness we need to understand some basic truths. Let's start by explaining three fundamentals of personal development namely; 1. The Universal Source is all wealth, abundance and prosperity; 2. Prosperity is our birthright; 3. You get more of what you focus on.
    1. Why are we told that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth? - Because the Universal Source is the consciousness of the Universe - a universe that is still expanding. It is the driving force behind physical reality. It created everything you see, hear, touch and smell as well as all that we are unaware of (microwaves, radiation, air etc.). It has been stated in religious and metaphysical traditions that this intelligence is not only the Source of everything but that it is also the substance of it! It creates the Universe from itself! It is omnipresent (everywhere present). That means that the entire seen and unseen aspects of the universe are a part of this Universal Source. Science reaffirms this theory as it states that nothing is solid and everything is just one mass of pure energy that vibrates at different frequencies and gives the illusion of separateness.
    So we can now claim that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth, abundance and prosperity with some belief. For if this Source is the very substance of everything then it is all the wealth, abundance and prosperity that exists at this very moment!
    Ok so far? Now lets look at the second point - prosperity is our birthright.
    2. If this Universal Intelligence is the source and substance of all things then there can be only one intelligence in the Universe. Jesus said to his disciples "know ye not that you are the temple of the living God?" Buddha attained enlightenment and "oneness". The list of these religious teachings are too numerous to mention but their message remains the same - God (Universal Substance) resides within and around us. It's very substance makes up our physical body and the world around us - "For in him we live, move and have our being" Acts17:28. Therefore, if this Universal Source is at the very core of our being and is the substance from which we take physical form then it stands to reason that we are connected to everyone else and in fact everything else around us - we are a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the universe. Just as your hand or foot is a part of your body, so every grain of sand, blade of grass, wisp of wind, bar of gold and brick that is laid in a mansion is part of you. The unlimited wealth of the universe is yours for the claiming. It is already yours, always has been and always will be. It is a part of you.
    Ok let's go the third point - you get more of what you focus on.
    3. "It never rains but it pours", is a saying I have used myself in the past. Have you ever wondered why such a statement appears to be true? Well metaphysics and religion tell us that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" or as Job cried out to God "For that which I greatly feared has come upon me". What we focus our conscious attention on increases! Don't believe me? Test it for yourself! If you can muster up the strength to do it then think in negative terms for a week. Judge everything that happens to you in negative terms and think only of a negative outcome and watch what happens in your world!!! This is a relatively easy experiment as we are conditioned to think negatively by the world. A word of warning though - once you prove that your focus determines your reality stop thinking negative thoughts as best you can.
    I will not go into the 'hows' of why our focus has such a profound influence on our lives (that would be the subject of a book or perhaps a future article) just prove to yourself that it does. A clue can be found in the teachings of Jesus when he said "The Kingdom of heaven is within".
    So now we have the three principles of the prosperity consciousness explained let's put it to work. The attainment of a prosperity consciousness is relatively simple - just think on the first two principles until you fully understand them and integrate them into your consciousness. As you focus on them you will discover that your feelings of lack disappear and you begin to feel a connection with everything around you. It is really just an attitude shift - nothing metaphysical or mystical about it at all. You begin to consciously realize that everything is a part of you. Your focus changes from poverty to wealth.
    If it helps make a list of affirmations that correspond to the two principles outlined e.g. "God is the Source and substance of everything", "I am at one with everyone and everything around me", "I am a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the Universe" etc. Don't just rhyme them off in a parrot like manner, think on them and realize the scientific or spiritual truths behind them.
    Will it work? Well I can say now that if you follow the above instructions a real change will happen in you. You will start to see the beauty of the world and the unlimited resources that are available within and around you. Will you attain wealth, abundance and prosperity? Test it for yourself! personal development

  10. Very best site. Keep working. Will return in the near future.


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