Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Christians all around the world are observing what we call Holy Week: the last week of Jesus' life. We remember how he entered the city of Jerusalem, had a last meal with his closest friends (known as the Last Supper or Communion), was arrested, tortured, and crucified. On Friday we observe the last hours of his life, and his painful death. 
Jesus was faithful to the end. He was scared, he was alone, he pleaded with God, he even shouted, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" But he believed this was God's will, and "he loved them to the end." (John 13:1) He loved the world to the end of his life.
But, it was not the end. It turned out to be a new beginning: Three days later, Jesus was raised from the dead to a new, eternal life. God used Jesus' death to show the world that God is stronger than fear, violence and even death. In the end, love won.
A couple of weeks ago we hosted a Faith Fair at Trinity: 7 different religions introduced their traditions and beliefs to kids and adults in a creative, playful way, with games, snacks, and crafts. Close to 100 people came to learn. Because they realized that if we want to live in peace, we need to learn about each other so we can break down the walls of fear and misunderstandings. It was a joyful, beautiful event and it made me appreciate the depth and wisdom found in other cultures and faith traditions. Nobody was trying to promote their faith. They were just happy to share what they believe and how they live. 
To me that was another example how love overcomes fear. 
For us as Christians, Easter is the epitome of that. As we celebrate, we pray that God may bring peace, love and hope to all people.
"We give thanks to the Creator and we pray that in the battle between love and fear, which is always raging in the human heart, love will triumph. Love will win. In the end, love always wins."
Henry Meloux, Mide (an Anishinaabe healer).

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


As we're making our way through Lent and getting closer to observing the last few days of Jesus' life I've been thinking a lot about reconciliation and forgiveness.
We all know how hard it is to forgive. And even though we know that forgiveness does not mean we're condoning someone else's hurtful behavior, even though we know that we're punishing ourselves more than the other person, it is still so much harder to forgive than to hold on to a grudge. 
Jesus was betrayed, denied, and deserted by his best friends. He was innocently tried, tortured and executed in the most excruciating way. But he had dinner with those friends who would let him down. He served them bread and wine and said, "this is me, for you. And one day I will have dinner with you again in God's kingdom." And on the cross he prayed for those who got him there: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Jesus is all about forgiveness. What that means is that we are forgiven, too. No matter what we have or haven't done, Jesus forgives us. This is not a free pass, thinking that we will get away with murder and still be forgiven. This is just God's way of saying, "No matter what you may have done or thought, no matter how guilty you may be, it will not stop me from loving you as a person."
Knowing that can inspire us to do better. We will want to live a life of compassion and forgiveness because we experienced it first. We live a more faithful life not out of fear of punishment or to earn a reward, but because that's what God calls us to do, and that's how we fully live into the person God intended us to be. 

You are forgiven. You are loved. 
Go and do likewise. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

How Jesus Treats People

There's a famous story about a woman who was caught in adultery and people brought her to Jesus, saying that according to religious law she should be stoned to death. "What do you say?" they asked him. (Read the full story in the Gospel of John 8:1-11.)
Maybe they wanted to trap him. If he responded with "yes" or "now" he would be breaking either religious law, or the law of the Roman government. Maybe they didn't want to make the decision and wanted to load it off on him. He didn't take the bait. He didn't give them the answer they wanted. He took his time to think about it, and then he said, "Whoever among you is without sin may throw the first stone."
That was not the answer they were expecting. And one by one, they walked away.
Jesus doesn't condemn. Not even women who were always harshly judged, and considered their closest male relative's property. (As a sidenote, this woman may have been raped. Even non-consensual sex was considered adultery if the woman was married.) Jesus breaks the laws and customs of his time and treats people as a a person, not an object. All people. Even those who were considered second-class humans: women, people with disabilities, mental illnesses or diseases. People of other faiths and ethnicities. Jesus treated them all equal: As a person with dignity. A child of God.
Oh, Jesus, if only we treated people the way you did.
If only we stopped judging others and recognized that we are no better than they are.
If only we treated ALL people with dignity and respect.
What would our world look like if we did?