April 27, 2014: Pancake Jesus?

Posted on : Apr 24th, 2014 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“Pancake Jesus?” Did you see it? It was “featured” on the evening news of all the LA networks on Good Friday, and yes, it even made it to national broadcast throughout the United States. The owner of a Coffee Shop in Norco, CA (Riverside County) believes the face of Jesus Christ appeared in a pancake on Good Friday. The owner said:

“He’s got a mustache and a beard, and it looks like he’s got a receding hairline here,” she said.

Hendrickson said the night before the pancake showed up on the grill, she asked God for something.

“I said, ‘Dear God, please just continue to look over the Cowgirl Café,’” she said.

Was this a publicity stunt? If the owner was praying for publicity and increased business, she got it. But if she has any conscience she had better be living in fear that God is going to strike her dead for stupidity. I don’t know who should be taken first, the owner of the Café or the news media.

Quite frankly, this kind of nonsense makes all thinking Christians look like a bunch of absolute idiots. As one religious historian said, “This kind of thinking is fresh out of the 6th Century Church” (as in the years 500-599 A.D.). The only problem is we live in the 21st Century! The credibility of Christianity is rapidly vanishing in the western world, in the US and certainly in Los Angeles. In large part, that is due to the fact that this kind of craziness is giving shape to what Christians actually believe. Do we really believe Jesus appeared on the face of a pancake on Good Friday in a Coffee Shop in Norco? How stupid can you get? And yet that is what went viral in the news media on Good Friday.

I wonder if Jesus knew that his death and resurrection would have such significance in the 21st Century? Think he might have reconsidered that “death thing?” if he had such knowledge?

The early Christians had a hard time naming what the resurrection of Jesus meant. In one of the early accounts (somewhere around 75 to 100 years after Jesus’ death) the story of Thomas emerged to help bridge the gap between the first disciples of Jesus who “saw” or “experienced” the Risen Christ and the rest of us who only know of this story from others who told it or passed it on.

In the biblical story, Thomas, one of the disciples, was not with the other disciples when the Risen Christ first appeared to them. He wasn’t about to take their word that Jesus was Risen, he wanted to see for himself. Most people, when hearing this story, focus on the name that was much later given to him: “Doubting Thomas.” But when the story was originally told and included in John’s Gospel it wasn’t about doubt. It was about transitioning from the first generation of disciples to those who later followed Christ. The point of the story is not that Thomas doubted, but these words of Jesus to Thomas:Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Apparently that message doesn’t have the same appeal in America as Jesus appearing on a pancake. This apparition thing is not new. The Christian Church has been “marketing Jesus” (for profit) since the Dark Ages. This Easter season we’re going to look at the meaning of Christ’s Resurrection from a 21st Century perspective. The way to begin that journey is to just come out and name that “Some Things Should Be Buried and Not Resurrected: Like Pancake Jesus.”

My hope and prayer for us is that the Blessings of this Easter are more meaningful for you and me than Jesus appearing on a pancake! Alleluia. Amen.

Easter Blessings to you,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

John 20: 19-31

Thomas wants to see the Risen Jesus in order to believe in the Resurrection.

[from The Inclusive Bible]

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were locked in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Temple authorities.

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, the savior showed them the marks of crucifixion.

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw Jesus, who said to them again, “Peace be with you. As God sent me, so I’m sending you.”

After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said,

“Receive the Holy Spirit.

If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.

If you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

It happened that one of the Twelve, Thomas – nicknamed “the Twin” – was absent when Jesus came. The other disciples kept telling him, “We’ve seen Jesus!”

Thomas’ answer was, “I’ll never believe it without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into the spear wound.”

On the eighth day, the disciples were once more in the room, and this time Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them, saying, “Peace be with you.”

Then, to Thomas, Jesus said, “Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Don’t persist in your unbelief, but believe!”

Thomas said in response, “My savior and my God!”

Jesus then said,

“You’ve become a believer

because you saw me.

Blessed are those who have not seen

and yet have believed.”

Jesus performed many other signs as well – signs not recorded here – in the presence of the disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Only Begotten, so that by believing you may have life in Jesus’ Name.

1 John 4: 7-21

In this simple, yet difficult teaching, the writer of the first letter of John challenges the people of the first century Church who were severely “beaten up and abused” to know that God is not a God of vengeance, but of Love.

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God,

            and those who love are born of God and know God.

Those who do not love,

            do not know God;

for God is LOVE.

In this the Love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent Christ Jesus into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent Christ Jesus to forgive our sin. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; yet if we love one another, God abides in us and God’s love is perfected in us.

The way that we know that we remain in God and God in us is that we have been given the Spirit. We have seen for ourselves, and can testify, that God has sent Jesus as Savior of the world. When any acknowledge that Jesus is the Child of God, God dwells in them and they in God.

We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God in them.

Love will come to perfection in us when we can face the day of judgment without fear – because our relation to this world is just like Christ’s. There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in Love.

We love, because God first loved us. If anyone says, “I Love God,” and hates another person, that person is a liar; for those who do not love other persons whom they know and can see, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

And this commandment we have from God, that those who love God should also love all other persons of this world, those who are our brothers and sisters of the world community.

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