Richard Rohr: Jesus’ Death

Deposition from the Cross by Bosnian artist Safet Zec (2015).
“The deep-time message of Jesus’ death is presented through a confluence of three healing images from his own Hebrew Scriptures: the scapegoat whom we talked about on Sunday; the Passover lamb which is the innocent victim (Exodus 12); the “Lifted-Up One” or the homeopathic curing of the victim (Numbers 21:6-9) who becomes the problem to reveal the problem.

The victim state has been the plight of most people who have ever lived on this earth, so in all three cases we see Jesus identifying with humanity at its most critical and vulnerable level. It is God in solidarity with the pain of the world, it seems, much more than God the omnipotent who, with a flick of the hand, overcomes all pain. But Jesus walks the victim journey in an extraordinary way.  He neither plays the victim card himself for his own aggrandizement, nor does he victimize anybody else, even his murderers. He forgives them all.

In the Hebrew tradition, the Passover lamb was a perfect, unblemished sheep or goat that apparently lived in the family home for four days before it was sacrificed (Exodus 12:1-8). That’s just long enough for the children to fall in love with the lamb. What could this symbolize? I personally think it is an image of the first (false) self that is thought of as good, adequate, and even innocent. It is who I think I am before I do any shadow work and see my own dark sides. It is when religion stops at the “cleaning up” stage and never gets to “growing up,” “waking up,” or “showing up” for others. Only when we let go of our attachment to any good, superior, or innocent identity do we begin to grow up spiritually.
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Viritual Visitas for Holy Week in the Philippines

Filipino Da Vinci

The Philippine’s news outlet Rappler offers seven Holy Week “sacred spaces” in cyberspace with it’s online stations of the cross.
See more below and step into the world’s Holy Week.

I particularly enjoyed the Virtual Visita Iglesia, where you can meditate on the Stations of the Cross and learn more about Filipino traditions observed during the Holy Week.

MANILA, Philippines – In need of a sacred space, as a religious website calls it, within the noisy cyberspace? We’ve got you covered.

For the soul-searching netizen, Rappler compiles 7 online retreats, recollections, and reflections for Holy Week.

Time to click – and pray.

1. Pins of Light – Washing Feet and Cleansing Temples

For the past 6 years, Jesuit priest Fr Johnny Go with the help of his colleague, Fr Francis Alvarez, has held Holy Week retreats on the Internet. Retreats on include multimedia content – including music, video, and even virtual candles – and pop culture references.

2. Victory – The King

Run by Victory, a Christian church, “The King” contains reflections, in English and Filipino “on Jesus, and what it means for Him to be King.” Through podcasts and modules in PDF form, it leads users to “discover the different events leading to His death and resurrection.”

3. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Visita Iglesia

A one-stop shop for Catholics, the CBCP’s Visita Iglesia site contains an online Stations of the Cross and 7 Last Words, among others. It also features videos by Philippine bishops on the meaning of Lent, as well as a livestream of Holy Week services.

4. – 7 Last Words

This page by a Christian pastor, Mark Roberts, presents the traditional 7 Last Words of Jesus in online form. Each of the 7 Last Words contains a reflection written by Roberts, questions for personal reflection, and a fitting prayer.

5. United Methodist Church – Lent and Easter Resources

For those who would like to reflect, this page compiles more than 60 links on Lent and Easter. These links include devotions and meditations, study guides, and videos. It is for people “invited to simplify their lives to focus on their relationship with God in Christ.”

6. Sacred Space – Lent Retreat: “Called to be Saints”

A 15-year-old website, Sacred Space presents an online retreat with the theme “Called to be Saints,” based on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Elsewhere on the website, users can also find other multimedia content for Lent – in 20 languages.

7. Rappler – Holy Week Online

Rappler’s Holy Week Online presents multimedia reflections, including music videos courtesy. It also features a virtual Visita Iglesia through 14 Philippine churches, in 360 degrees. It comes with the traditional Stations of the Cross in text and audio.

Origins of the Visita Iglesia

Why the Holy Week has no fixed dates

Video: Pope Francis Picks Up Church’s Cross

As we begin Holy Week, Pope Francis modeled for all Christians the way of humility and what it means to take up the cross and bear the sin – actual sin – of the church and the world.

In unscripted remarks to the France-based International Catholic Child Bureau, the Pope took responsibility for the harm done by priests against children in the pedophilia scandal. While other popes have castigated the abusers and prayed for the victims, none have take personal responsibility. Pope Francis said:

“I feel that I must take responsibility for all the harm that some priests – quite a number, but not in proportion to the total – I must take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the damage they have caused through sexual abuse of children. The Church is aware of this damage. It is their own personal and moral damage, but they are men of the Church. And we will not take one step backwards in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we must be even stronger. You do not interfere with children.”

Rabbi Waskow’s 10 Plagues of Climate Change

Rabbi Waskow arrested. (Photo Credit: John Zanga, #NoKXL Actions, D.C.)
Rabbi Waskow arrested. (Photo Credit: John Zanga, #NoKXL Actions, D.C.)

It gladdened my heart to be with Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other people of good will outside the White House on Thursday for the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate’s public witness marking Passover and Holy Week.

Rabbi Shneyer blew the shofar to announce the danger President Obama is putting the planet in by not denying the Keystone XL pipeline. And we prayed together to claim our human right of eminent domain over corporate interests that endanger the earth.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center, one of the great Jewish leaders of the justice movement in America, at age 80, was one of the 15 who were arrested and taken to jail in Anacostia.

Here’s an excerpt from Rabbi Waskow’s Huffington Post article describing the event:

“In a circle of 70 people in the midst of Pennsylvania Avenue, we had just completed a religious service. Rabbi David Shneyer had blown the shofar of warning and liberation. We had heard the Muslim call to prayer from the Quran, an invocation of the Four Winds in the spiritual tradition of the First Nations, and a Christian prayer.

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Australia: What Does Resurrection Look Like Down Under?

I was glad to see the blog post by Australian Christian Jarrod McKenna with a video of four Christian peace activists who entered Swan Island, one of Australia’s most secret military installations near Queenscliff, Victoria, in March seeking to disrupt the supply chain for the war in Afghanistan. “Both Swan Island and the war on Afghanistan are out of sight, out of mind. It’s time to end further suffering of the Afghan people and our soldiers by bringing our troops home,” the group said.

Said McKenna, “The kairos moment during Holy Week is a moving meditation on a man who taught and lived the nonviolence of the cross in ways that socially witnessed to resurrection. This is made all the more potent for those of us in Australia given the courageous actions of The Bonhoeffer Peace Collective who yesterday with a fierce nonviolent love exposed further connections of the Australian government with the war in Afghanistan.”

Watch the video:

Bonhoeffer 4 Trailer from julian masters on Vimeo.

Rev. Simon Moyle (Baptist Minister), Jacob Bolton (Community Worker), Jessica Morrison (University Lecturer) and Simon Reeves (Social Worker) have called themselves the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective after Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s favorite theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was also an antiwar activist.

‘Lay Our Lives Like Palms Before Him’


Andrew of Crete was archbishop at the end of the 7th century. Here’s a thought of his for Holy Week:

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither; but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been  baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him.–St. Andrew of Crete