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St John's Episcopal Church
Tulsa Oklahoma
We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19)
Recent Activity
You can read this week’s passage here: If the 21st chapter of John didn’t exist, would anyone miss it? Chapter 20 itself seems to provide a satisfying conclusion to the Gospel, so some scholars have wondered whether Chapter 21 got tacked on later. But it does emphasize certain themes from earlier in the Gospel, so it serves an important function in bringing the Gospel to a close. Chapter 21 tells another story involving the resurrected Jesus and his disciples, this one having a few distinct components: The disciples go fishing but don’t catch any fish. Jesus calls to them... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: The first appearance after the resurrection was to an individual, Mary Magdalene. At the end of their encounter, Jesus sends her to the disciples with a message. In this section Jesus appears, not to an individual, but to two groups one week apart. In the first encounter Jesus enters through a locked door, greets the gathered group, and shows them his hands and his side. At this point the disciples recognize him and rejoice. Again, Jesus greets them and, as he has been sent by the Father, he sends the disciples out... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: All of the gospel accounts agree that a woman or women were present early in the morning hours at Jesus’ tomb. As with their presence at the cross, the women’s display of faithfulness is accepted as a vital part of the story of the resurrection. The story of Mary Magdalene in John’s gospel is the most detailed and divides into two scenes: Mary at the empty tomb (20:1-10) and Mary and the risen Jesus (20:11-18). Mary Magdalene is the first witness of the empty tomb and, when she sees that the stone... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: As he has done throughout his Gospel, John points out to us that even in death, everything about Jesus is a fulfillment of scriptural prophecy. The soldiers, wanting to hasten Jesus’ death, move to break his legs, but they find that he has already died. To confirm his death, they poke him in the side with a spear. As John sees it, these two actions point back to prophecies in the Old Testament. (Incidentally, the next time you’re at a celebration of Holy Communion, during the Offertory watch the Deacon or the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: A popular way for churches to mark Good Friday is to focus on what are called the “Seven Last Words”, or the various last words that Jesus uttered before he died on the cross. Of course, each of the four Gospels depicts Jesus’ final moments differently, so the seven last words are a combination of utterances from all the Gospels: three come from Luke, one comes from Matthew and Mark, and three come from John. The three sayings from John depict Jesus as being in control up to the end: He first... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: Each of the four Gospels gives a full account of Jesus’ crucifixion. There are details that are common to all four, and each one has unique details as well, leading to a slightly different portrayal of Jesus in each Gospel. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is dignified and in control up to the end. The other three Gospels, for example, refer to Simon of Cyrene being pressed into service to carry Jesus’ cross. John makes no mention of Simon, depicting Jesus as being able to carry the cross himself, not needing assistance. All... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: In the synoptic gospels, the flogging of Jesus occurs after the sentence is passed and just before the crucifixion. In those accounts, the flogging is accompanied by mocking. In John, the flogging is in the middle of the trial. For this reason its function is radically altered. John’s account is briefer than in other gospels and the focus is on the dressing of Jesus in royal attire and the soldier’s acclamation of Jesus as “King of the Jews.” When Pilate presents Jesus to the “Jews”, he presents him to them as a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus continues. Pilate leaves the Jewish leaders and goes back inside to begin a conversation with claims that Jesus is a king. He asks first if Jesus is King of the Jews and, after Jesus’ lengthy response, asks again, “So, are you a king?” We have another example here of Jesus talking on a cosmic level and his audience unable to understand, being stuck on another, earthly level. It’s becoming increasingly common among liturgical churches (including The Episcopal Church) to celebrate what is called “Christ the King Sunday” on... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s section here: The scene shifts this week from Caiaphas’ house to the headquarters of Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea. Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus is a feature common to all four Gospels, although each one portrays the account differently than the others. As John describes the scene, it happens in two settings: inside and outside the headquarters. Jesus is sent inside, but his Jewish accusers remain outside, so as not to defile themselves by entering a Roman building -- doing so would make them ritually unclean and interfere with their ability to eat the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: In this week’s passage the High Priest, Annas, questions Jesus about his teaching, and some Bibles give a heading for verses 19-24, “The High Priest Questions Jesus.” (As mentioned in the entry for last week’s reading, Caiaphas was the High Priest at the time, but the questioning in this passage is by Annas, the former High Priest deposed by the Romans whom some still regarded as the legitimate High Priest.) This questioning is in the nature of an initial interrogation of a prisoner by the magistrate, not an actual trial. But in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: In all gospels the events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection form the climax of the whole book. John continues to show a picture of Jesus as having complete mastery of the situation. From the arrest to the saying “It is finished” on the cross God is clearly in control and the glory of Jesus is displayed. Here are some of the unique aspects of John’s account of the arrest: As in the synoptic gospels, Jesus is arrested in a garden, but no mention is made of its name. This garden is one... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2010 at The Gospel of John
In every Sunday bulletin we note that our outdoor labyrinth is open daily. Now is the season to truly enjoy walking our labyrinth, found on the north-east corner of our property (41st Street and S Atlanta Place). Follow the path because there are no tricks or dead ends...just walk from the entrance to the center and back out again. Many have found that this path becomes a mirror for where they are in their lives, touching sorrows and releasing joys. In the coolness of the season, it's easier to walk with an open heart and mind. We invite you to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2010 at St. John's Common Room
This week I have been marveling at the number of bees and butterflies around the Garden of Hope. We have pulled out the tomatoes, chopped down the okra (note to us: don’t plant okra in raised beds in the future…it’s hard to harvest without a step ladder), and planted some fall crops: turnips, beets, spinach and lettuce. While the cucumber plants look past their prime we are still harvesting cucumbers. You’ll notice a new structure near our garden. Thanks to George and Susan Moffat who have built our compost bin, which is now ready for use. I am glad that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2010 at St. John's Common Room
Our partnership with Trinity and Holland Hall has built more Habitat for Humanity houses than any other church sponsor in Tulsa. On September 11th we participated in the wall-raising for our 13th house, built in cooperation with the Landrum family, who will own this house, and Tulsa University’s wonderful corps of Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Unlike in some previous years, we had a beautifully sunny morning. Irv Cutter gave the invocation, all the partners spoke to the importance of building a home, and then the walls were raised. For pictures of the event see Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2010 at St. John's Common Room
You can read this week’s passage here: At the Last Supper, Jesus has been addressing his disciples. Now he turns his attention to God. After a long time teaching, Jesus now offers a prayer, and the whole of Chapter 17 is Jesus’ prayer to the Father. Jesus’ prayer might be divided into a few distinct parts: Prayer for himself. Jesus begins by emphasizing his close relationship to the Father. Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus said that “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). When he makes his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, he said, “The hour has come for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2010 at The Gospel of John
The text is at “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” At the beginning of this section the expression “a little while” is used seven times in four verses. Jesus uses it, the disciples puzzle amongst themselves about this expression, and Jesus knows that they want to question him about it. Remember the disciples haven’t experienced the resurrection, so this expression may well have been really puzzling. According to commentators, the expression could refer to his coming again in the person and work of the Holy... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2010 at The Gospel of John
One of Jesus’ goals in the teaching he shared with his disciples at the Last Supper was to prepare them for the challenges they would face later on. In this week’s section, he’s explicit about what lies ahead: “They will put you out of the synagogues.” i.e. they will be separated from the places where they’ve worshiped God all their lives and cut off from their fellow Jews. “Those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.” i.e. they’ll have to face enemies who will want to kill them and who will see... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: In this week’s passage Jesus continues to speak to the disciples on the night before he was lifted up on the cross. In John’s Gospel this final discourse is lengthy, and some themes are repeated: Jesus is the One sent by the Father; Jesus has chosen those who follow him -- their following is a result of his action first; Jesus’ coming has been the cause of division between those who respond affirmatively to being selected (his disciples) and those who do not (in John’s Gospel, primarily the leaders of the nation... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: We’re still in the midst of John’s account of the Last Supper. Interestingly, after speaking at length to the disciples, Jesus said at the end of chapter 14 “Rise, let us go from here.” We would have expected them to get up and leave at that point, but then chapter 15 begins another long section of Jesus’ teaching. Apparently he wasn’t quite yet ready to leave! Chapter 15 begins with the last of the “I am” sayings in John’s Gospel: “I am the true vine,” Jesus says. The vine and the vineyard... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week's passage here: We are still with Jesus and his disciples at the last meal. In today’s section of John we have another wonderful promise to comfort them: the promise that Jesus will ask his Father to give another paraclete, translated in the NRSV as “Advocate.” The Greek word is one that is difficult to translate into any one English word. In the Greek the adjective is in a passive form, having the meaning of “called to the side of [for the purpose of helping].” The Latin equivalent is a legal term indicating the counsel... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week's passage here: This passage falls into three sections: 1. Jesus’ departure and promise of abiding (1-7) 2. The relationship between Jesus and the Father (8-11) 3. The greater works of the disciples (12-14) Jesus’ departure and promise of abiding The disciples’ hearts are troubled by Jesus telling them that one of them will betray him and that Peter will deny him, in addition to his being only with them for a short while longer (chapter 13). For those who have given up everything to be with Jesus, this is indeed troubling. Jesus comforts the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week's passage here: Immediately after the foot washing is the prediction that one of the disciples will betray Jesus. We have already heard twice before that something is amiss in the band of disciples (vv. 10, 18) and John has made clear that this refers to the betrayal (v 11). But nothing has been said to the disciples to clarify to them what is about to happen. The reader knows that Judas is about to betray Jesus, but the apostles only know that one of them is false in some undefined way. The disciples are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week's passage here: This week’s passage begins John’s version of the story of the Last Supper. The Gospel accounts of the Last Supper and the events leading up through Jesus’ crucifixion are often called “passion narratives”, and another name for Palm Sunday is Passion Sunday, because we hear portions of the passion narratives from one of the Gospels. “Passion” is a word that derives from the Latin word for “suffering”, so when we read about Jesus’ “passion”, we’re focusing on the suffering he endured in his last hours. But, certainly as John tells the story,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2010 at The Gospel of John
You can read this week’s passage here: John’s Gospel is divided into two large sections, the Book of Signs (chapters 1-12), and the Book of Glory (chapters 13-21). In the first section, after the prologue, Jesus performs seven signs that demonstrate who he is and what the Father has sent him to do. In the second section, after a long account of the night before he is lifted up on the cross, we have the story of the trial, crucifixion, resurrection, and post-resurrection appearances. In this week’s passage, the Book of Signs comes to its end – the public... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2010 at The Gospel of John
We are so thankful for those wonderful folks who have signed up to be the Keeper of the Garden of Hope for a week. These Keepers water and weed the garden, harvest the produce and take it down to Iron Gate. For far Jessica Stowell, Donna Farrior, Miriam Young, Peggy Byrne, Maurine Miller, David Clupper, and Tiffany Greco have participated. There are still slots for others to sign up towards the end of August. Training and support are available for those with no/little experience. A parishioner who likes both vegetables and flowers has donated pots of blooming vinca to add... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2010 at St. John's Common Room