Happy Sunday! Pastor Jen is on vacation this week but the Rev. Mickey Fenn is back preaching on Philippians. Rev. Janet Ewart will deliver the Prayers of the People, Julie Sommers will be leading as liturgist along with Erin McKibben and guest accompanist Julie Davies. Let us worship God!
This Sunday we will continue the series, “GOD & IMPERIAL POWER: Jesus & Economic Injustice” with the third lecture by Dr. Crossan “The Death of Jesus: Non-violent and Violent Resistance to Injustice.” In this lecture, Dr. Crossan explores the meaning of the death of Jesus of Galilee by first asking a question and then by making an observation. His leading question is an anthropological question, purposefully not a theological one. Each of us has his or her own opinions about theological issues. And the death of Jesus is traditionally a “hot button” for opinion and argument. In this case, Dr. Crossan wants to focus on ancient cultural and religious understanding and practice. He wants to know “Why did people across various cultures in the ancient world think that the gods (or God) liked carnage [flesh]?” “Why did ancient peoples imagine that the gods were so interested in dead animals?” He asks, “Why sacrifice?”
Then Crossan makes a provocative observation about early images depicting the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. After all, we now know that most people in the first century did not read for information. Instead, he tells us, they learned through the images they saw every day on buildings, on clothing, on coins, on tools and weapons. It is remarkable then, when he tells us that there were no images of Christ before the year 200 C.E., no images of Christ on the cross before 400 C.E. and no images of the resurrection before 700 C.E. So, in this lecture, Crossan approaches the subject with a question and an observation (or assumption). The question, “Why sacrifice?” invites us to ask, “Why did Christians see the death of Jesus as “sacrifice” and what kind of sacrifice were they thinking about? The assumption is: Early Christianity deliberately avoided making images of Christ for nearly two centuries.
In this series John Dominic Crossan and Joerg Rieger expand our awareness of the historic collusion between Christianity and the empires of the west, from Jesus’ non-violent program of resistance to Roman Imperialism under Augustus, to the imperialistic “partnerships” of the 21st Century. Individually, these two scholars are powerhouses. Together, they are explosive.