A Sermon for the Great Easter Vigil

By: Eleanor Wellford, Priest Associate

Those women were busy – the ones we just heard about in Luke’s gospel. But maybe they needed to be busy so they wouldn’t have to stop and think about the awful events of the last couple of days. Maybe they weren’t ready to give into their grief and needed a job to do just to keep putting one foot in front of the other – just to keep moving forward.

It was a little before dawn on a Sunday morning when they awoke and gathered up their spices and hurried off to meet up with each other. There was no doubt in their mind about their mission. They would all walk over together to the tomb where Jesus was buried and they would use their spices to anoint the body of their friend, their teacher, their lord. It would be a way to honor him, to remember him and to give expression to their grief.

It’s not unusual to hear about the men who followed Jesus around, but Luke made a point of specifically mentioning some women by name. Mary Magdalene became known to us earlier in Luke’s gospel as a woman whom Jesus had cured of evil spirits that had humiliated and shamed her for years.

We know less about Joanna. Supposedly her husband worked for Herod which meant that he probably didn’t like that his wife was heading out to visit Jesus’ tomb. But he also probably knew better than to try to stop her.

And we know even less about the other woman named Mary. She was thought to be the mother of James, one of Jesus’ disciples. But Mary was such a popular name that it’s hard to keep them all straight!

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A Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent

By: Eleanor Wellford, Priest Associate


Right off the bat…right in the beginning, I sense something strange about this morning’s gospel.  Luke wrote that “Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’”  (Luke 13:31).  It wasn’t what Herod was planning to do that was so strange since he or a member of his family had been threatening to kill Jesus ever since he was a baby.

It was WHO delivered the message that was strange.  The Pharisees, or the very people who had been trying to trick Jesus, or trip him up, or make him look foolish, were suddenly being friendly to him in their warning about what Herod was planning to do.

Apparently, Jesus didn’t think that the messengers or the message was all that strange.  He was used to such threats and knew that “that fox”, Herod, couldn’t kill him.  That was the fate that awaited him in Jerusalem and he wasn’t there yet.  And until he was there, he still had work to do.

I’m always amazed at how Jesus knew what that work was and was able to keep his focus on his mission and ministry.  It couldn’t have been easy with all the pushback he got.  And think of all the times he was misunderstood – even by the people closest to him.  Despite all of that, he seemed to have few if any doubts about what he wanted to do or who he wanted to be – when he grew up.

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