disciplesIt’s Sunday morning–early–and the disciples have straggled back to Mary’s house where they met for the last supper with Jesus. Andrew, Judas and Thomas are missing. The sun is just beginning to peek out of the east. The women are gathering supplies together to properly clean and prepare Jesus’ body.

The door shuts softly as the women leave. Andrew walks in.

Andrew (putting a jug of water on the table): Judas hung himself.

Silence…

Bartholomew: What was he thinking? We all knew he wanted a Jesus revolution, but really?!

Simon the Zealot (in mournful exasperation): Judas didn’t need to turn on Jesus…he just turned himself in!

Thaddeus (shaking his head): Yeah, crazy. Jesus had Jerusalem in the palm of his hand! They hailed him as Messiah when we entered town.

Matthew (thoughtfully): This makes no sense.

Simon: I really thought this was it. I thought everything was going to come together.

Nathaniel: It all DID come together. He raised Lazarus last week in front of God and everyone–including pharisees. He preached, taught, healed, cast out demons, walked on water, commanded a storm to stop–generally snappin’ out miracles right and left. Everybody in Judea heard of him–most of ‘em were here to greet him as he entered Jerusalem.

Simon: This was going to be THE Passover of all Passovers since Egypt–I thought he was going to deliver us from Herod and Rome…maybe even without a fight…

Matthew: Hmm. Jesus said this was going to happen, remember? So, he KNEW this was coming. What were we thinking?!

Peter (walking to the window): Well, he’s dead now.

John: What are we going to do?

Silence.

James: He said to wait, so let’s wait. I’m not sure what for, though.

Peter: I suppose it’s for our safety–he wanted us to stay safe until things settled down. We’ll head back to Capernaum next week. Our dads still have their boats and we can take care of our families.

Andrew: Where’s Thomas?

John: He said he was going to the Temple to see what’s next. Boy, he’s not afraid of his Jesus association.

Peter: He’s smart–and stubborn. He’ll be okay.

James: So, Peter, what do we do now? You, John and I were with Jesus almost 24-7, so now what?

Peter: I think Jesus would say, “Get everyone together and pray for leadership from the Father.”

John: I agree. We don’t know what to do, but Jesus wouldn’t leave without providing for us. He said as much himself.

James: I agree.

Andrew: One thing is for sure. Jesus isn’t done with something until he’s done with something and this DOES NOT feel done.

Peter: I agree. You know he said. “ask and it’ll be given.” I believe that. Let’s pray.

They all gather in a circle and Peter raises his hands and they begin to pray.

Peter: Father, we are confused. We don’t know why Jesus was crucified. Please help us understand your will and continue Jesus’ ministry in…

The door bursts open and Mary Magellan bounds through the doorway trying to catch her breath. The other women are close behind her with glowing faces.

Mary (shouting, eyes wide): He’s alive! We saw him ALIVE at the tomb!

Peter, James and John jump up and bound out of the room.

Tr8: When confused or questioning, pray. We are never alone or without help in times of need.

 holy-week-timeline

 

 

ants

  1. We need more ants!
  2. This dress shirt needs puffier sleeves and longer lapels.
  3. I wish my circumference exceeded my height.
  4. I wish everyone wore spandex.
  5. I wish church lasted just a few hours longer.
  6. I hope my daughter gets to sleep with a lot of guys.
  7. I wish my husband would have an affair.
  8. Who needs toilet paper?
  9. If there is a god, I’m smarter than he is.
  10. I hope this marriage doesn’t last.
  11. Son, you’re going to have to try harder if you want to get into prison.
  12. We want our kids to try all the drugs they can get their hands on.
  13. I hope you are a smoker when you get older.
  14. You respect me too much.
  15. Well, you are a teenager–we need to start working on your addictions.
  16. Hey, Son, this is called pornography and I hope it becomes a big part of your life.
  17. Sweetheart, it’s prom night! You need to be showing a whole lot more skin.
  18. Son, try on this dress. It matches your heels.
  19. Honey, you can never have too many tattoos.
  20. Don’t worry about education or a job in the future–just have fun!
  21. Hey, kiddo! Maybe someday you’ll get cancer, too!
  22. You need to talk more to strangers about your sexuality.
  23. I hope this business relationship ruins my family.
  24. As I look back, I spent too much time with my kids when they were young.
  25. I don’t want to be loved.
  26. Remember, my point-of-view is way more important than you.
  27. Honey, I hope you grow up to trust no one and become a paranoid loner.
  28. Aliens made me do that.
  29. It’s better to be right than kind.
  30. Walk as close to the edge as you can, kids.

 

Tr8: If you wouldn’t wish it on your child, don’t do it.

Feel free to add more in comments.

 

 

P-shipJesus: So, how was spring break?

Peter: Great! I took the kids, Mom and the little woman to the beach at the Promontory of Zeus, near Haifa.

Jesus: Yeah, super beaches and great restaurants. Our family went there a few years back for Jimmy’s birthday.

Peter: Did you go to the Phoenician Museum?

Jesus: Yep. At the time, Jimmy was crazy about ships and Jude wanted to see a dolphin.

Peter: So, you went to Sea World?

Jesus: Yeah, but paying two denari to stand and look in a big tidal pool is a bit much. Thank goodness there was a 10 denari limit for families!

Peter: I had to pay 8.

Jesus: Did you like the Phoenician Museum? Did’ja see the round boat?

Peter: Amazing–they sailed those to the ends of the earth and back.

Jesus (smiling): Yep. Did you go to the Crab Shack?

Peter (surprised): Lord, no!!! I wouldn’t eat one of those sea spiders in my dreams! We went to the Purple Clam and sat in the kosher room. I had some terrific grilled tuna and Salome and the kids had the ‘catch of the day,’ fried mahimahi.

Jesus: Did you sea fish?

Peter: Of course, I saw fish.

Jesus: No, did you fish in the sea?

Peter (clumsily): Oh, yeah–I went out on a day boat with some Samaritans–they were a lot of fun for a bunch of sinners.

Jesus: Samaritans. What’d’ya think? Should they be kicked out for disagreeing over temple sites and stuff? Should they be allowed to worship in our synagogues?

Peter (thoughtfully): Really (rubbing his chin)…I think there should be as few barriers between God and humans as possible. If someone wants to know you, or the Father, who am I to put up hurdles? Like you say, if they love God and others as themselves, they’re headed the right direction. We, Jews, try to keep the Law of Moses in our hearts, but that’s a joke, really. Mercy and grace are our only chance at seeing God. As you say, “Truth on the inside; grace on the outside.”

Jesus (patting him on the back): That’s key, Peter. You have the key–you will fish for people someday. Remember this conversation. Pull’em into God’s boat. (Pointing at Peter) Upon this ‘rock’ I’ll build my church.

Peter: Wow. That’s a lot of metaphors.

Jesus (sheepishly): Yeah, that kinda got away from me…

Tr8: You have the key to open and close doors or pull people into the boat or whatever. Don’t mess it up.

Loosely based on Matthew 16.

 

surveyName: Jesus of Nazareth

Date: March 31, 3

Directions: Place an X after those who really annoy you.

1.  Samaritans, Philistines, Edomites, etc.

2.  Adulterers

3.  Thieves

4.  Liars

5. Tax Collectors

6. Roman centurions

7.  Prostitutes

8.  Mafia

9.  Arsonists

10. Murders

11.  Homosexuals

12. Merciless haters       X

13. Banjo players

14. Sinners

15. Old people

16. Bloggers

17. Beggars/unclean

18. Rude teenagers

19. Legalists    X

20. Circus clowns

Other:  Self-righteous, ungracious, judgmental, hypocritical, mean people annoy me the most.

Tr8:  Don’t annoy Jesus. Don’t be critical of others. Obey the truth God gives you. Love everyone.

JonahGod: Jonah, I want you to go next door and invite your neighbor to church.

Jonah: Umm, God, he’s mean and he stole my rake.

God: Just invite him to church. If he doesn’t come, I’ll rain fire and brimstone on him.

Jonah: He has tattoos.

God: Invite him. Jonah slips out the back door, walks down the alley and catches a local bus headed downtown. The traffic begins to pile up and pretty soon the bus is stuck in gridlock traffic. Nothing happening. 1 hour. 2 hours. 3 hours.

Rider: What’s the deal here? Are we cursed or something?

Jonah: It’s me. I’m running from God.

Others: Throw him off the bus!

The driver opens the doors and kicks Jonah out into traffic. He gets hit by a Smart car and is thrown to the side of the road. The Smart car is totaled. The driver calls 911 and an ambulance shows up shortly. The EMTs put Jonah on a gurney, slide him in the ambulance and they drive off. Jonah is dazed and confused. In transit the EMTs spot a two-for-one at Chick-fil-A and pull in. Then, the ambulance drivers drive around and park, drive around and park, and drive around and park.

This goes on for three days.

At the end of three days the ambulance is in an accident at a drive-thru and the doors crash open and Jonah’s gurney shoots out. He coasts to a stop a few blocks from his house. A street person trades his grocery cart for Jonah’s gurney. Jonah pushes the grocery cart home. It has a wobbly wheel. Crossing the driveway, he climbs the steps to his neighbor’s door and knocks.

Neighbor (opening door): What?

Jonah: God told me to tell you you are doomed. You can visit my church, if you want, but you are screwed.

Neighbor (scratching his chin): Is this over the rake?

Jonah: No. God’s sending fire and brimstone your way.

Neighbor: Hmmm. Yeah, I’d like to visit your church. When are services?

Jonah (swearing under his breath): Tomorrow morning. Service is at 11:00. You’ll need to go early ’cause parking is sometimes complicating, but there will be folks directing traffic.

Neighbor: Okay, I’ll leave at 10:15.

Jonah (turns and walks away): Yeah. Whatever. 10:15.

The neighbor and his family go to church. They love it. After a couple of weeks they go to Starting Point and Next. The neighbor begins volunteering with a parking team and joins a small group. Not long afterward, the whole family is baptized and their video testimonies get a standing O.

Jonah missed all of this because he’s in a snit. He’s in his backyard working on his grocery cart hoping God will strike down his neighbor. As he adjusts the wobbly wheel, his neighbor comes out and waves.

Neighbor: Jonah! Thanks about the church thing. We’re loving it. Jonah storms toward the front yard, pushing his grocery cart.

Jonah (furious): God! I knew it—when I first heard your plan, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I got on the bus! I knew you were full of grace and mercy, not easily angered, abundant in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to forgive this creep!

God: So, what are you angry about? But Jonah just left. He pushed his grocery cart across the street and sat down in the grass median to pout. He put together a makeshift shelter of newspapers and cardboard and sat there to see if anything would happen to his neighbor. It was hot. God arranged for clouds to come and turned on the sprinklers. Shade and a mist swept over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry mood. Jonah was pleased and happy with the shade and mist. Life was looking up. Within 30 minutes the sprinklers stopped and clouds passed. The sun came out and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east.

Jonah: @#$%^& this is terrible! I can’t stand this! No fire and brimstone and now, no sprinkler! Jonah goes in his garage, gets in his car and starts it.

God: What are you doing parked in the garage with the car on?

Jonah: Killing myself.

God: Why?

Jonah: The sprinkler. YOU turned off the sprinkler. I LOVED the sprinkler mist. And YOU turned it off. AND you saved my neighbor. He deserved fire and brimstone. Makes me so mad I can’t live another minute. And the sprinkler. I’d be better off dead.

God (turning off the car and opening the garage door): Seriously? How can you be so happy with sprinklers, then be so ticked off when they’re off? All you did was sit there next to your pathetic cart (which belongs to Kroger). So, why can’t I change how I feel about your neighbor and his family, to say nothing about his cat and dog?

Tr8: Don’t rejoice in another’s pain or judgment. Be gracious and merciful. “When theology becomes an obstacle to your mercy, adjust your theology,” Andy Stanley.

—- Read how the author nearly kills himself.

Originally blogged on April 29, 2012.