Pastor's Blog

April 17, 2019

Last year our Holy Land pilgrims from St. John’s traced the steps of Jesus during the final days of his earthly life, from the Garden of Gethsemane to Calvary.  Although time has obscured much of the historical evidence of Jesus’ last days, traces remain to this day that bear witness to Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection.   

It was to Gethsemane among the ancient olive groves that Jesus retreated from the city after sharing Passover with his disciples.  Samples that have been carbon dated from these trees are known to be at least 900 years old, making them among the very oldest on the planet. According to experts they are in excellent health, and DNA analysis shows that they were planted from the same parent plant.  Was this an effort to preserve an ancient lineage of trees, dating back to the first century?  What we do know is that they mark the general location of the ancient grove where Jesus himself came to pray and prepare for his passion.  In this Garden there were...

April 15, 2019

The Bible famously reminds us that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing” (Ecclesiastes 3:5).  There has been a lot of talk in the news about unwelcomed embraces or touches and the respect of personal space.  It is widely agreed today that the “bad touch” is one that is unwelcomed and uncomfortable for the one being touched, regardless of what the touch feels like to the toucher.  I will never forget when as a young seminary graduate I was asked to meet privately with a pastor who was overseeing my ordination process.  The pastor began asking me some very personal questions about my family and then, without any warning, walked over and stood behind me as I sat in the chair, giving me a shoulder massage.  I felt very uncomfortable, ended the meeting, and quietly walked outside.  The odd thing is that I didn't tell anyone about this for about four years.  I was embarrassed by the entire e...

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