I could talk some more about Lazarus today, along with his sisters. They show up in this chapter. But I only have so much time and space to talk about the chapter, and it seems there are bigger things going on here. In any of the gospels, when you come to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, you know you’re entering the endgame.
In 2001, I took a year off to work between high school and college. During that time, my mom introduced me to Michael Card via his “best of” album Joy in the Journey. One track, “God’s Own Fool,” begins with Card singing in an impossibly high register about Jesus’ contemporary reputation as a wise teacher, despite the fact that many who actually witnessed his ministry firsthand regarded him as certified looney tunes:
For even his family said he was mad,
And the priests said a demon’s to blame,
But God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane.
And this is precisely what we see happen smack in the middle of today’s chapter of Mark.
I’m a little on the short side. But when I was far shorter than I am now, probably only four or five years old, my mom taught me a song that told the story of today’s chapter from Acts.
The psalms repeat themselves. Psalms 118 and 136 begin with the same couplet, word-for-word: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (118:1, 136:1). I could cite more psalms that feature the same line throughout themselves like a chorus or that borrow lines from other psalms like remixes, but I’d be repeating myself. And while Psalm 136 repeats its hook “For His lovingkindness is everlasting” in every single verse, the point of the psalm isn’t repetition. It’s gratitude.
We just finished another minor prophet, so today we flip back to trying to learn new things about gratitude, or at least to remember things about gratitude that we’ve forgotten or haven’t thought about in awhile. Here’s the scene: David has just come back from victory over the Philistines and brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. There, the citizens make offerings, David distributes food to them, and then Asaph the priest (who also wrote a bunch of the psalms) and his relatives offer thanks to God in the form of a psalm. Welcome back to another installment of our stupidly-named series Totally Hip Gratitude. I have made my bed, and now I must sleep in it. But what can we observe about this passage and what it shows us about thankfulness?
Welcome back to Colossians 3 again. Paul is kind of all over the place in this chapter, and so shall I likewise be. Remember, if there’s a single theme to this chapter, it is: “Hey, you! Don’t do that! Do this!”
I can’t read this psalm without thinking of Sara Groves’ song “Cave of Adullam.” As soon as I read the epigraph “A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave,” the melody starts playing, and then I read the line “No one cares for my soul” (4) and Sara Groves is singing it in my head. David wrote the psalm about a particular point during the time he spent fleeing from Saul, when he took refuge in a cave. I feel like I should note that the cave in question wasn’t necessarily the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1-2); David hid out in a lot of caves while he was on the run. Sara Groves’ “Cave of Adullam” is an imaginative interpretation of David’s experience. Nonetheless, I will mention music I love at the drop of a hat because it makes for decent intros, and “Cave of Adullam” is good music.