Our church has a Palm Sunday tradition: we dance around in the aisles, wave our arms and our palm brances, and jubilantly sing “Lord of the Dance” (here’s a link to info about the song). If I had to pick my favorite time in the entire Christian calendar, it might be this particular moment (partly because I really love this hymn; the tune is an old Shaker hymn, which only adds to its coolness). I always look forward to this jubilant welcome of Jesus into our midst. What a wonderful celebration to take us into Holy Week and into the joys and hope of Easter. Picture in your mind this: 65 year-old women, 30 year-old men, and 4 year-old children dancing in the light of Christ’s love, and singing (last verse of the hymn):

“They cut me down and I leapt up high,
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.”

Let the Lord lead you in His Dance. Let us be ever mindful that He lives in us and through us this Holy Week.


Those of us who follow the Christian Calendar year are going to be busy this coming week. Sunday is the Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday). On this day, those of us who confess Christ as Lord and Savior are confronted with hypocrisy in our own lives. How many of us praise Jesus (“Hosanna!”) one week, and shout “Crucify Him!” the next? Then we have Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday, days to reflect on Lent and prepare ourselves for the rest of the week. Maundy Thursday puts us at the last supper, and Christ in the garden. Do we sleep when Christ asks us to be in His service? Good Friday follows. Someone once told me that they hated Good Friday, because it was so solemn. How can anyone hate Good Friday? Without Good Friday, we can never have the joys of Easter. Yes, Good Friday is solemn. It is meant to be. But it is a solemness that anticipates the joys of resurrection.

Then Saturday – one more day to reflect before Easter. Consider Christ’s decent into hell to set the captives free. Then we have Easter: that day that affirms our faith, that day that Christ gloriously anticipated. Christ is risen, risen indeed! We serve a risen Savior, one who gives us peace and joy. Praise Him this holy week.

The other day, someone told me that they attend a church were little time is spent on “theologians and other such types”; he said that those at this particular church “simply take the Bible for what it says.” Can you see the implications here? I inferred from this statement that this person (and his church) believe that there is a purely objective, agenda-free reading of the Bible (and, after asking him if my inferrences were correct, he affirmed them). Rob Bell does a great job of handling this issue in his book Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, where he has a similar encounter. Definately a recommended read.

We all have our interpretations of Scripture; it is impossible to separate our readings of Scripture (or any other text) from our influences and unique perspectives. Bell gets it right when he says that “the idea that everyone else approaches the Bible with baggage and agendas and lenses and I don’t is the ultimate in arrogance.” We all read our own cultural perspectives into Scripture. So, how do we approach and understand Scripture?

I think the answer lies in: 1) Recongnizing the Scriptures as alive, as dynamic, and as narrative; and 2) to embrace Wesley’s quadrilateral. First, when we approach Scriptures not as a stagnant, static document, but as alive with the breath of God, as something that we are participating in even now, as a narrative not only of the Biblical characters but also of us as post-modern followers of Christ, we are freed from being bogged down with arguments of the objectivity of particular interpretations and such. We, with a humble spirit, can acknowledge, that, in the motto of the United Church of Christ, that “God is still speaking,” (note the comma).

Secondly, Wesley’s quadrilateral helps us greatly (please allow me to stand on my Methodist soapbox for a moment). Albert Outler (a Wesley scholar) looked at the sermons, the teaching and preaching of John Wesley, and noticed four things guiding him: Scripture, Reason, Experience, and Tradition. “Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason” ( from The Book of Discipline). Scripture, as it should, holds the highest place. Do you see how this gives us liberty? Whenever we interpret a passage of Scripture, we look at the text, we look at how Christian tradition has dealt with this Scripture, we examine how this Scripture fits with our personal experience, and we use our God-given reason.