…and another thing…

A few miscellaneous tidbits for Good Friday.

First off, we had an amazing Seder dinner here at my congregation last night.  Almost 100 people gathered together to participate in a liturgy very similar to what Jesus and his disciples shared on that first Maunday Thursday almost 2000 years ago.  
Seder dinners on Maunday Thursday have been a part of my life for over 20 years now.  Last night was the largest one I have ever attended, let alone presided over!  I am humbled by the servant hearts of the people in my congregation, who contributed food, logistical support & advice, and strong hearts and hands.  Some of us were there for over six hours, setting up, cooking, participating, and then cleaning up.  What a wonderful experience for me, to see the Body of Christ at work in joy!  I am deeply blessed.
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A thank you to the oft-times interesting and thought provoking blog site Mockingbird for providing this reprint of a Good Friday-appropriate play by Thornton Wilder.  It’s brief, but beautiful.  May it provide food for thought in your Good Friday contemplations.

4 Responses to “…and another thing…”

  1. Dianne Says:

    A couple of friends, my husband and I were priviledged to attend your Seder dinner again this year. Your congregation is awesome. I appreciate all the time and effort you all put into making the evening so special and taking us back to the way it was. Thanks for the “vegetarian” lamb. Very tasty and I’ll ask my butcher if he can get some for me.

  2. Doug Vossler Says:

    Wilder does make one think about the significant difference between being remorseful and being repentant. We know from Matthew that Judas was remorseful. Unfortunately, since Jesus speaks of him as the one who was lost, it is doubtful he was ever repentant and there is nothing in Scripture to lead one to believe that this was the case. Wilder has taken some liberty with the information the Bible provides, but, nevertheless, this is certainly a thought provoking playlet. Thanks for posting it!

  3. Paul Nelson Says:

    It was great to have you all join us!  What a wonderful evening – part of an amazing Holy Week overall.  I pray that your Good Friday and Easter were just as meaningful as Maunday Thursday was with us!

  4. Paul Nelson Says:

    Discerning the meaning of Jesus’ comment on Judas being lost is an interesting exercise.  I like to challenge people with the possibility that Judas was not merely remorseful, but also repentant, and that he is in heaven.  I don’t think we are given enough Scripturally to be certain of his eternal fate (which shouldn’t be much of a surprise – when are we ever given clearly the condition of another’s heart?).  

    Judas definitely seems remorseful.  Was he repentant?  I think his actions could certainly be an indication that he was.  If repentance is a ‘turning away’, it would seem that his return of the money he was paid for betraying Jesus was a definite turning away from his decision, not merely a sorrow at what it brought about but a determination to repudiate it.  However this action (or any action) is never enough to give us clear indication of the state of someone’s heart when they die.  I won’t ever fault someone for saying that Scripture leads them to believe that Judas is lost eternally, but I think it’s most important that we leave open the possibility for the grace of God to have won out in Judas’ heart in his final moments. 

    This is particularly important when we remember that we are judged not specifically on our actions, but on our hearts, on whether Jesus is our Lord even when our actions don’t bear that out.  When I teach in the county jail each week, I drive this point home because I believe it’s a powerful one that is overlooked in many theological circles.  Our actions are not what save or condemn us.  Our relationship to Jesus Christ is what saves us.  It may look to those on the outside as though we are lost, but Jesus knows where our hearts are, regardless of where our actions are.  While we have to be concerned about professed Christians who refuse to seek to live in harmony with the will of God as outlined in Scripture, we have to be careful not to overstep our bounds in insisting that they are outside the grace of God.

    Glad that you enjoyed the post!

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