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My Feet Unto a Lamp – Jesus Trail Day 1

imageOK, so technically we didn’t “hike” the Jesus Trail today but we did receive our orientation to the trail this morning and also found out that an older German couple will be hiking on the same itinerary. They are very nice (he’s a travel agent checking out the trail so that he can push more German tourists this way) but they also tend to walk very slow which, if you know me well, is a challenge for me. As one of my colleages once said, “You walk like your hair’s on fire,” which could be why I don’t have any more. We’ll be hiking with them with a guide on the first day since getting out of Nazareth can be tricky navigation-wise. I will do my best not to run circles around the formation.

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“I Pulled Into Nazareth…” The Jesus Trail – Day 0

After 10 great days of touring with people from TLUMC and others from my friend Chris Howlett’s church in Lebanon, KY, Chris and I said goodbye to the group last night and today headed for Nazareth and the start of the Jesus Trail. We’ll be hiking the 40 miles between here and Capernaumimage on the Sea of Galilee, following in the footsteps of Jesus during his ministry in the region.

We began this morning with a little more time in Jerusalem and began with the Ramparts Walk, which takes you up on the walls of the Old City and allows you to circumnavigate most of the top of the defensive wall built by Suleiman the Magnificent, the 16th century Ottoman emperor. One of the things you learn quickly here is that everything historical consists of layers that go from the present day on the surface all the way down to some of the original walls built in the Old Testament period, like the walls we saw in the Jewish Quarter that were built by King Hezekiah of Judah. You have to look down through a hole in the street to see them. It’s helpful to keep in mind how each successive period in the city’s history builds one upon the other–same stones, different day and arrangement.

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Sherlock Goes to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

sherlock1680x1050One of the things I love to do when I have a little down time is to binge watch a good TV show on Netflix—not that that happens often given my schedule and due to the fact that “good TV show” is actually more of an oxymoron these days (emphasis on the “moron”). Still, there are some gems to be had and one of these shows has not only captured me but the whole family—it’s the BBC’s updated version of the Sherlock Holmes stories starring the marvelous British actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role along with Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. Each episode is an hour and a half, almost like a movie, and it’s twists and turns are mind blowing.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock has had a revival of late, with the movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and the show “Elementary” on CBS. Sherlock has always been a bit of mess personally, “a high functioning sociopath” as the BBC’s Sherlock is quick to admit, but what captivates me about him is the fact that his mind is always seeing things that others miss. As Doyle’s Sherlock puts it in the novels, “A man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.”

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Simon of Cyrene: The Cross-Bearing Life

The cross-bearing life of the Christian isn’t a theory about which we have opinions, it is a way of life in which we learn by experience.

Mark 15:21-24

fender-benderLiving as we do on the I-25 corridor between Denver and Colorado Springs, rarely does a week go by when we are not stuck in some kind of traffic slowdown for an inexplicable reason. Traffic slows nearly to a halt and then, almost as quickly as it stopped, it breaks loose again so that the interstate resumes its resemblance to a NASCAR race.

One of the main reasons for these instant slowdowns is rubbernecking. A fender bender on the side of the road, someone getting pulled over, will cause people to slow down and take a look. Occasionally it’s more serious—a real accident with police, fire, and ambulance on scene. We naturally slow down to look, wanting to know what happened but also being glad that it didn’t happen to us.

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The Wife of Pilate: Dreaming of Jesus

Matthew 27:15-26

keep-calm-it-was-all-a-bad-dreamSo, here we are, all rested and ready to worship this morning. Hopefully you had a good night’s sleep and pleasant dreams, but that also raises a question: Do you remember what you dreamed last night? Or how about any dreams you may have had in the past?

Scientists tell us that all of us dream during REM sleep, but very few of us remember those dreams. The ones we do remember are often the scary or anxious ones and scientists tell us that the reason is that when we’re anxious or depressed our dreams take on a more vivid quality that make them memorable. I still remember a dream I had when I was about 8 or so when killer elves were trying to climb up on my bed and I was beating them back with my Bill Mazeroski autographed baseball bat. For a kid who was afraid of the dark, that kept me awake for weeks and still makes me shudder.

Sometimes those dreams are recurring ones that grab us when we’re most anxious about something—like the dreams I’ve had over the last several months where it’s Sunday morning but I forgot to prepare a sermon and show up at church late underdressed and frantic. That’s a scary dream, let me tell you, especially when it happens just before the alarm goes off on Sunday morning!

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