Metanoia: Credits and Acknowledgements

The cover picture was taken in 2001 at Clonmacnoise, Ireland by Kathy McCabe. Text was added using Microsoft Paint.

My deepest thanks go to all our writers: Keith Axberg, Rob McPeak, Mary Ann Taylor, Michael Boss, Carol Boss, Cathey Frederick, Sherri Greenleaf, Barbara Cheyney, Sally Rode, Tom Worrell, Penny Worrell, Sister Katherine, Vicki Wesen, Marilyn Allen, Ashley Sweeney, and Francisco Lopez.

Additionally, I would like to thank Ashley Sweeney for being available for consultation, Michael Boss for helping me brainstorm layout and topic, and both Rob and Helen McPeak for the text conversations about anything that came up while editing.

Metanoia: April 1, 2018 (Easter Sunday)

Acts 10:34-43
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Mark 16:1-8
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:8b)

So, now you have to decide.

Did you notice how the women at the tomb brought their practical questions right along with them? “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” They were thinking clearly.

Then they were alarmed. They were blown away! And some calm young angel told them Jesus was not dead but raised. “But go, tell his disciples…” Riiiiight.

These are practical women, thinking ahead about heavy barriers, unafraid to anoint lifeless flesh for honorable burial. They know that dead is dead. They saw Jesus’ death with their own eyes.

They left. Terror and amazement seized them. And they said nothing.

Still, here we are, you and I, reading Mark’s story and celebrating Easter… The church exists. So, somewhere along the way, somebody decided to say something to somebody.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome walked forward to meet their grief and discovered instead mind-boggling joy. In the face of this inexplicable gift, too precious to believe, these practical women had the humility and fortitude to decide that they had more to learn, more to share.

God is amazing.

So, now you have to decide: are you gonna say anything? Are you gonna be in on the joke, the wonderful, inclusive, humbling, powerful joke? Death is not the end. Are you gonna risk accepting that this illogical, impossible story is true? Can you laugh with God at the craziness of the resurrection?

Halleluiah; Christ is risen! April Fools!

Come, Holy One. Fill my belly with the laughter of joyful amazement that rises out of my having misunderstood, having been so stuck in narrow understanding when you are doing so much more when you are so much more. Come alive in me again today, that the parts of me that are dead may be enlivened and sent forth. Amen.
-Helen McPeak

Metanoia: March 31, 2018 (Holy Saturday)

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24
1 Peter 4:1-8
John 19:38-42
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

On Holy Saturday in 2009, I was released from the hospital after six days with HELLP Syndrome, a nasty variant of preeclampsia that almost killed both Daniel and me. (Thankfully, they were able to transfer me to a hospital where the best high-risk doctor in the Mountain West performed an emergency C-section at 29.5 weeks to save us both.) I spent the next week dealing with horrible PTSD and post-partum depression as I struggled to come to terms with everything that had happened. Adding insult to injury, 30 minutes after we arrived home from Great Falls, someone called to scold me for not being down at the hospital with my baby. That phone call destroyed the hard-won progress the NICU nurses had made in helping me come to terms with Daniel’s impending long stay in the NICU. It was devastating.

I feel a kinship with the disciples as they were in hiding. They had seen their rabbi and leader arrested and crucified. Crucifixion was used by Rome as an example of why not to challenge their authority — Jesus’ disciples were likely terrified of facing a similar fate. Seeing Jesus crucified must have ended their hopes and dreams of Jesus being the one to come into Jerusalem triumphantly to overthrow the oppressive Romans. They could not even do the full burial rites because the Sabbath was starting, and Jesus needed to be buried before sundown. How devastating it must have been for them!

Jesus, in these times when we lack hope, remind us that things did not have the ending people anticipated; but instead, You triumphed and defeated death once and for all. Our hopes may be dashed, but You have better plans for us. Amen.
-Jen McCabe

Metanoia: March 30, 2018 (Good Friday)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
Psalm 22

March 1, 2011, will likely be known as the worst day of my life. Two days earlier, my son Daniel woke up with a fever and respiratory distress, and within 36 hours, he was on a ventilator at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. That night, I was coming back into the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) after dinner when I heard, “CODE BLUE! TOWER 7!” blaring over the loudspeakers. I was plastered against the wall as doctors, nurses, and a crash cart raced into the unit.

I followed them down the corridor and found them in Daniel’s room. I remember the feeling of one of the hospital chaplains holding me tightly as I watched them attempt to revive him. The attending physician then told me quite tersely that she would be recommending he be put on ECMO (the heart-lung bypass machine) because it was a 50/50 chance of her being able to revive him again if he had another cardiac event.

I remember various things from the next four hours: being unable to stop vomiting from the sheer intensity of emotion, calling my former husband Jon and my twin brother Sean to come be with me at the hospital, signing the paperwork giving them permission to put Daniel on ECMO, intermittently sobbing and then wailing after my tear ducts dried out, and eventually the new attending physician coming to tell me that Daniel improved on his own and there would be no need for ECMO. One week later, he was off the ventilator. Three weeks after that horrible night, we walked out of the hospital with our son very much alive.

A few months ago, I was reflecting on that night and was smacked upside the head by the Holy Spirit. God’s Son died that day on the Cross. GOD WATCHED JESUS DIE. That realization gave me so much healing as I realized that God was there with me in that waiting room that night, understanding everything I was feeling.

God, thank you for choosing to let your Son die to bring healing to this world. Thank you for going through the pain of watching your Son die so that we might not be alone in our darkest hours as parents. Amen.
-Jen McCabe

Metanoia: March 29, 2018 (Maundy Thursday)

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Psalm 116:1, 10-17

Can you imagine being at the first Passover event described in Exodus? Eating some roasted lamb and matzoh, which is kind of a hard cracker, having your sandals on, and being ready to flee for your life at a moment’s notice? Can you imagine sitting up at night listening to the Angel of Death going over and passing by your house because you remembered to put the lamb’s blood on the lintel?

Or…. can you imagine being at the Last Supper with Jesus and having this teacher you have been following around for three years do something as menial as washing your feet? I mean, this amazing rabbi stripped down and did a job reserved for the lowest of servants. Why would he do such a thing? And why would he want us to do the same? He wants us to touch each other’s stinky feet and wash them? Why would we want to do that? Jesus, we do not understand.

As with many things in this world, the only way to understand is to live our experiences, seeking God’s insight and pray.

Not until after Christ was risen did we have the wisdom given to us by Paul in the reading from 1 Corinthians. And we will not understand many things that happen in our lives until after we see the ways God chooses to work in them over time. We do not see the wisdom of being servants, for example, until we learn that by serving, we cultivate relationships with others and these relationships help us to grow.

Lord Jesus, as we wash each other’s feet tonight and receive your Body and Blood, draw us closer to you and help us to start to understand this sacrifice you made for us on the hard wood of the Cross. Amen.
-Jen McCabe

Metanoia: March 28, 2018

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32
Psalm 70

Have you ever accused anyone of being a Judas…or been accused of being one yourself? It’s an accusation that anyone of any faith — or no faith at all — can relate to. You believe in someone…you dedicate yourself to that person…your faith at some point wavers…an opportunity arises to benefit from severing your bonds…and you choose the pay-off over the person. It’s the classic definition of betrayal.

All of which gives me a great deal of sympathy for Judas. To begin with, he was set up. Jesus knew what his end would be, and Scripture required that someone sell him out. In the same way, some of our betrayals may be driven by larger forces than ourselves. There are all kinds of “environmental impacts” on our loyalties. How often does the death of a child, for example, culminate in the ending of a marriage? And isn’t divorce a form of betrayal?

The word “betray” is so repugnant to us, thanks to a wavering disciple and 30 pieces of silver, that we tend to overlook a second meaning of the word: “to unintentionally reveal; be evidence of”. In the spirit of this meaning, let us pray:

Lord, let our lives betray your presence, through Jesus Christ — for whom betrayal was the fulfillment of the prophecies. Give us the strength and the perseverance to rise above falsehood, and to hold to the symbol of the cross as the ultimate triumph. Amen.
-Michael Boss