Dear Hyde Park Family,
Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, 7:20 p.m.
Daydreaming a bit while watching the Oscars’ red carpet coverage …
Ryan Seacrest: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our very special broadcast. We’re here, live from the red carpet just outside Jerusalem, awaiting the arrival of this year’s biggest stars, giving you a front row view of all the famous celebrities as they arrive. We’ve put together a terrific broadcast team to bring you all the action, up close and personal. Let’s send it over to Tamron Hall. Tamron?
Tamron Hall: Thanks, Ryan. I’m here with Reuben Ben-Tobas, owner of Reuben’s Livery Stable. He has been attending the festival for the past thirty years and has seen some major stars come through. Reuben, tell us what you have seen today?
Reuben: Well, so far the crowd seems a lot bigger than in years past. And business has been very good, with lots of people renting my donkeys to haul their souvenirs around. In fact, I just rented my last animal this morning. Interesting fellows. Said they were from out of town, and I told them all I had was this young colt —
Ryan: — Sorry to interrupt, Tamron, but we’re here with our first famous celebrities. James and John, sons of Zebedee. (Crowd cheers. “Thunderous” applause.) It’s an honor to welcome you to our red carpet show. First of all, you both look fabulous. I love what you did with your hair, James.
James: Oh, thanks. Glad you like it. John and I were having this discussion on the way here about whose hair was the greatest. You can’t imagine how heated it got! But I think we both look pretty good.
Ryan: And tell us, John. What do you expect from tonight’s festivities? Who are you hoping to see?
John: Well, I’ve been a big fan of Billy Crystal since he first hosted the seder in my hometown. Never been a better host in my opinion. Makes this night more special than any other night.
Ryan: And I think a lot of people here would agree with you. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with the festivities. And now, look who it is! Speaking of big names, it’s Peter! Welcome, Peter, how are you doing?
Peter: WOO-HOO! FREEDOM! (Crowd cheers loudly) Fine, Ryan. I’m doing fine. No denying that.
Ryan: As we all know, it’s been a big year for you. Your mother-in-law came back from a grave illness, you got front row tickets to see Elijah and Moses, and … you walked on water! Tell us, how was that?
Peter: Biggest thrill of my life. For a while. And then … well, no comment.
Ryan: (laughs) I see. How about telling us who you are wearing tonight?
Peter: Oh, this? This is the latest John the Baptist. He specially designed it just for me before he, you know, got his head served on a platter. But this isn’t just any camel hair coat. It’s got a cool zipper pocket for me to hide this sword. (Waves sword awkwardly) I’m not very good with swords, but you never know when one might come in handy.
Ryan: Fascinating. Now, Peter. Let’s talk about your latest project. You are currently in a production with Jesus of Nazareth and the other disciples. We all want to know: what is it like working with such an amazing cast of people throughout these past several months? Give us one bit of juicy gossip about one of your cast mates that folks at home would never know.
Peter: Well, let me think. There’s not a whole lot I can say, really. We’re all very different, with little personality quirks. Andrew keeps trying to bring new people into the production, so that’s good. Matthew, he’s a tax collector, so the others kind of leave him alone. James and John? They seem to like to argue. Like all the time. And then there’s Judas. I tell you, that guy is really going to make a name for himself someday.
Ryan: You heard it here first, folks. Thanks so much, Peter, and have fun tonight!
Peter: Thanks, Ryan. FREEDOM! (Crowd cheers wildly)
Ryan: And here he is, the one everyone has come to see. Just look at all the palm branches waving, and the folks throwing their coats on the ground in front of him. Let’s go back to Tamron, who is right there for an interview. Tamron?
Tamron: Yes, Ryan, I’m here with Jesus of Nazareth. (Crowd cheers) My goodness, Jesus. Listen to this crowd! I can’t say that I’ve ever seen such a large crowd for a red carpet event. Look at them all, chanting “Hosanna, Hosanna!” Must make you feel pretty special, huh?
Jesus: I have come not to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.
Tamron: (chuckles) Oh, there you go again, always ready with a sound bite! Now tell us, all the reporters are buzzing about this young colt you are riding! What gave you the inspiration for such an eye-catching fashion accessory?
Jesus: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Tamron: Profound, Jesus. That prophet Zechariah sure had a way with words, huh? Now let me ask you. There has been a lot of speculation in the press that you have come today to make a big announcement about the next major project in your career. A career, as we all know, that has commanded crowds all across the land, with healing, teaching and miracles. We all want to know, Jesus: what is next in store for you?
Jesus: Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.
Tamron: Oooh! Sounds like an action film! You heard it here first, folks. No more dramas or documentary movies – it sounds like Jesus will be branching out to star in his first ever big budget blockbuster! We will all be waiting to see it, I’m sure!
Jesus: You will all fall away, for it is written: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
Tamron: Heh, heh. Good one, Jesus. Oh, wait. Ryan has a question.
Ryan: Thanks, Tamron. Yes, Jesus, this is Ryan Seacrest from Good Morning Jerusalem. I was wondering, with all of the great lines you’ve delivered in your storied career, which one do you want to be remembered by? I mean, Arnold has “I’ll be back” and Tom has “Life is like a box of chocolates.” When you’re dead, what do you want your tombstone to read?
Jesus: He is not here. He has been raised.
Ryan: I love it. Well, Jesus, enjoy the rest of your time here. Now go meet your adoring fans! Look how they love you!
Jesus: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
Ryan: Oh, that Jesus. Always a kidder. Thanks for joining us, everyone!
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
BIBLE PROJECT 2020 READINGS FOR THE WEEK
In the next seven days, we will finish Deuteronomy and conclude our journey through the Pentateuch. The readings may at times felt dry and repetitive, but I hope you have found some rich insights to apply in your life through your small group, the podcast, the sermons, and the Facebook page. Check out bibleproject2020.org for all the resources. Here are this week’s readings:
Feb. 13: Deuteronomy 5:1-8:20. Faithfulness in the wilderness. How might you draw strength from God in your wilderness, just as Jesus did when he quoted these verses?
Feb. 14: Deuteronomy 9:1-12:32. Faithfulness in the Good Times. It’s one thing to claim faith in tough times, but do you remember to stay faithful when times are good?
Feb. 15: Deuteronomy 13:1-16:22. Putting to Death. What sinful hang-ups do you need to “put to death,” so that God’s grace can come alive in you?
Feb. 16: Deuteronomy 17:1-20:20. Kings and Prophets. What is God telling you about trusting in God, rather than in earthly rulers and human institutions?
Feb. 17: Deuteronomy 21:1-25:19. Reason and Experience. The laws here might seem archaic and odd, so what permission do you feel to use your mind and your experience in discovering meaning in these passages?
Feb. 18: Deuteronomy 26:1-30:20. Covenant. How might you serve and love God simply because God loves you, rather than expecting God to bless you in return?
Feb. 19: Deuteronomy 31:1-34:12. Living in Faith, Dying in Peace. How do you want your faithfulness to God to be remembered, after you are gone?