Who Got Da Power?

I hate it when jingles get stuck in my head, especially stupid jingles. Every time I return to Mark’s “Palm Sunday” story, I hear this insipid, annoying sports cheer from High School days. I would be sitting in the stands on Friday night, watching a football game, when the cheerleaders would try to pump up the crowd by asking, “Power, power, who got da power?” The student body would respond, “Vikings, Vikings, we got da power” – a verbal warning not to mess with our awesome team. “Power, power, who got da power” is not only an annoying sports cheer, it is Mark’s favorite refrain. From the first verse of his Gospel, Mark leaves no doubt who has the power. He tells us from the first verse of t

Handed Over

Introduction: Chapter fifteen in Mark’s Gospel contains a series of “handing over.” “Jesus is handed over to Pilate by the duplicitous chief priests, elders, and scribes (15:1). Later . . . the crowd asks Pilate to hand over the prisoner Barabbas (15:11), a longstanding [Roman] tradition of political appeasement (15:6). Pilate asks the crowd if they want him to hand over Barabbas, a convicted murderer, or this Jesus. The crowd tells Pilate to hand over Barabbas for freedom and to hand over Jesus for execution. So, Pilate hands over Jesus to be ridiculed and tortured. Then the soldiers hand over Jesus to be crucified (15:12-15). Meanwhile, the soldiers hand over the crossbar for Jesus’ execut

Get a Life

A few years ago, I had the privilege of preaching the graduation sermon for my alma mater, Union Presbyterian Seminary. Not having preached a graduation sermon and not knowing exactly what approach to take, I decided to offer the graduates one piece of unsolicited advice. I told this group of gowned and hooded graduates that as they go out to serve as educators, pastors, professors, chaplains, counselors, and prophets my one piece of unsolicited advice is this: “Get a life!” Anna Quinlen, novelist and former NY Times writer, dishes out the same advice in her book: A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Anna writes: You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are. So I suppo

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