Mark 16: 1-8

Illustrated New Resources

  • Only the Beginning

    by Kathy Donley
    Brian Blount is Professor of New Testament and President at Union Seminary in Virginia. He describes Jesus’ mission as one of invasion. Invasion is different from rescue. In a rescue, the goal is to secure the hostage or prisoner and quickly retreat to a safe location, with minimal engagement with the enemy. In contrast, the objective of an invasion is to meet and engage all the opposing forces until the entire region is an occupied safe zone. The Biblical narrative describes two ages -- a present age is controlled by forces hostile to God, and a future one where God’s will pervade. But when Jesus is baptized, the heavens are torn open and God’s future invades the present. The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus. Invaded by the Spirit, Jesus then invades the lives of his disciples, demonstrating God’s power to transform the present age.[4] Blount says that it is inevitable that Jesus will suffer because he is ushering in God’s reign. The cosmic forces arrayed against God can be expected to put up a fight. Therefore, if Jesus is to succeed in his task, if he is to carry through with his mission on behalf of God’s kingdom, he will necessarily encounter satanic, cosmic resistance.”[5] Ultimately all of that resistance and opposition culminates in Jesus’ death. The crucifixion is the result of the invasion, not the invasion itself...
  • Still I Rise

    by Jim Eaton
    Maya Angelou is a poet who has seen in the long history of oppression of black people a reason for hope, an image of resurrection. She says, in part, You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise...
  • Trembling and Bewildered

    by Owen Griffiths
    A few weeks back I heard an amazing story on NPR’s On Being[ii] series. Rabbi Ariel Burger told a story illustrating the message of Easter—how God takes on our wounds and gives us life in return. It seems that Burger’s son had a friend named Mason who was visiting historic Jewish sites in Poland. Mason disappeared for a day to make a visit to an elderly gent outside of Warsaw, and, upon his return, told young Burger the purpose of his visit. Mason’s Polish grandparents had been married just three weeks before the Nazis had them deported to Auschwitz. Every night Mason’s grandfather would go to the fence which separated the men’s side of the camp from the women’s and see his bride. He’d often bring her an extra piece of bread or a potato or anything he could save or smuggle. Unfortunately, the young bride was soon transferred to work on a rabbit farm outside of the camp. The Germans were using rabbits to experiment on so they could find a cure for typhus. The Polish gentile who ran the farm noticed that the Nazis fed and cared for the rabbits better than they cared for their Jewish slave laborers, so he began to sneak food to the prisoners. One day Mason’s grandmother cut her arm on a piece of barbed wire. The cut became infected, and the Nazis had no intention to sacrifice antibiotics on a Jewish slave laborer. Realizing that this could be a fatal wound, the rabbit farmer cut his own arm and placed his wound on that of the young woman, thereby infecting himself. He told the Nazi doctors that he was one of their best mangers and, should he die from his infection, the Nazis’ research project would suffer. The Germans gave him the antibiotics which he shared with the young prisoner. He took her wound upon himself and, in so doing, saved her. Six decades later her grandson would track down this selfless man and tell him, “Thank you for my life.”...
  • Sermon Starters (Easter Sunday)(B)(2021)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Computers are powerful tools. Most people under the age of 30 can’t imagine what it was like back in the days of typewriters when every revision of a paper required re-typing the entire thing. Now we store our documents on hard drives or in the cloud and, even if we have already printed a copy, can easily make a few changes, and then re-print it without having to re-type. One of the advantages of word processing is something called “global replacement.” Sometimes churches utilize this tool for documents that get used a lot. Some time ago I read about a church office which had stored onto its computer the standard funeral service. Each time a funeral had to be held the secretary would tell the computer to find the name of the deceased, replacing it each time with the correct name for this specific funeral. So one week Mary Smith passed away and the secretary had the computer put Mary’s name into all the right spots, such as when the minister would say, “We remember our dear departed sister Mary” or “May the Lord now give Mary his eternal peace.” The next week Edna Jones died and so the secretary made the appropriate global replacement of names. But it was quite a surprise at this particular funeral when, in the reciting of the Apostles’ Creed, the congregation learned that Jesus had been “born of the virgin Edna”!...
  • Can This Be Real?

    by Dawn Hutchings
    It wasn’t my first visit to Anna’s home, but it was my first visit to the home of someone who had just died. In the driveway, I crossed paths with the doctor who had signed Anna’s death certificate. We recognized one another from the few times which our visits to the house had overlapped. I stared with envy at the doctor’s medical bag, “at least she has some real pain medication in there.” All I had in my bag was a bible and my tiny, little travel communion kit. Just some cheap wine and a few stale wafers. I envied the doctor with her knowledge, her pills, her medicine and her skills. The doctor sighed, “Oh thank-God you’re here! They’re a real mess in there.” As I stood there, wondering how to respond, I remember wishing the doctor had something in her bag of tricks which could give me the courage to enter the house. I felt like a fool. What was I supposed to do? I felt as useless as I did upon my first visit with Anna. A parishioner had called me just a few months earlier, “Could I go and visit a friend of hers who was dying? Cancer.” she said, “It won’t be long now. She’s being cared for at home; she wants to die at home. She used to go to church and now as the end draws near, she wants to reconnect. Would I please go to see her?” I knew I was out of my depth from the moment I hung up the phone. I thought this is it. This is the real stuff of being a pastor. This is where they discover that I don’t have what it takes to do this job. Leading worship, preaching, and teaching is one thing, this, this is something entirely different. But my parishioner was insistent, as she described her friend Anna. “Pastor, you’ll never guess, Anna was once a Lutheran...
  • Who Has Seen the Wind?

    by Beth Johnston
    At the beginning of the book, “Who Has Seen the Wind”, author W.O Mitchell, tells a humorous tale of 4 year old Brian O’Connal going to the local church and knocking on the door, expecting that God would answer, just like any home-owner. He was patient, as a delay meant only that “God might be in the bathroom”. Instead of God, he encounters a somewhat bewildered minister’s wife on the steps of the manse next door. His comments and questions seem to make her very uncomfortable. I think that she does not know what to do with the child but does not want to be mean or rude. He is told to come back the next day, after breakfast, when her husband, the minister, will be available. When the boy does see the minister the next day, it seems that he is quite bewildered; adults know better than to ask such questions! Children are a different story. The encounter is an amusing take on how a child might understand the traditional theology of that era! And yes, I can chuckle, because the child is not sitting in my office!!!! Apparently, Mitchell titled his book after a poem by the same name from the work of poet Christina Rossetti, : “Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you: But when the leaves hang trembling, The wind is passing through. Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I: But when the trees bow down their heads, The wind is passing by.” In the preface to the book, Mitchell notes that wind is seen as a symbol of the presence of God...
  • Of Butterflies and Moths

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    We know butterflies as a symbol of resurrection. Caterpillars enter the hardened chrysalis, and turn into "caterpillar soup" before emerging as butterflies. Life. Death. Resurrection. Odilon Redon created multiple paintings of multiple butterflies. The creatures are against semi-natural backgrounds. Cloud-like smears of color are located toward the top of the MOMA image (top left). Paint suggesting rocks and landscapes are toward the bottom of the image. Cool colors dominate the image. The other painting is dominated by warm colors. In both images winged creatures seek to soar upward, some cartwheeling through the sky. Are they all butterflies? Are some of them moths? Does it make a difference for our celebration of resurrection on Easter?...
  • Living Your Passion

    by Steve Peterson
    Greta Thunberg, TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year, writes about Vanessa Nakate, a 24-year-old climate justice champion from Uganda. Her African country is one the regions of the world most exposed to the adverse effects of the climate crisis. Nakate is making a difference through her Rise Up movement. She started the Green Schools Project to transition schools in Uganda to solar energy and champions education and empowerment for girls and youth women. She is a powerful example of what one young woman with passion for something she believes in can do...
  • When Is an Ending Not the End

    by Todd Weir
    Did you see Tom Hanks in “Castaway?” Hanks is stranded on a Pacific island, endures great hardship, overcomes the mind-numbing loneliness where his volleyball, Wilson, is his only companion. He finally makes contact with a passing ship for rescue. When he returns home to the amazement of the world, his wife had re-married because she thought he was dead. At the end of the movie, Hanks is at a crossroads looking at a map and the four directions. The End. The next phase of life will go from there. My heart breaks for him, and yet I’m thrilled he gets to start a new chapter. Just maybe, if everything goes wrong for me, if I can get through it, I will get another chance too. That is a brilliant ending...
  • God Says, "Nevertheless!"

    by Marek Zabriskie
    Mark tells us that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb to see and anoint the body of Jesus, whom they loved. As they approached the tomb, they looked up and saw that the stone, a huge, round stone, which must have weighed a thousand pounds, set like a coin on its side, had been rolled away. On the way to the tomb, they must have been asking themselves, "How will we roll away the stone?" Only Mark mentions this worry. Yet, this is 2021, and we still share the women's worry. I suspect that each of you is worried about some immovable stone in your life - a stone that blocks your way and keeps you from living the kind of life you feel called to live. The stone blocks you from reaching your goal...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

  • Easter Sunday (B)

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Easter)

    by Various Authors
    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    and many more!!

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • Christmas vs. Easter

    by Jim Chern
    Easter needs a marketing make-over or a new advertising campaign. Seriously, compared to Christmas, Easter lags way behind. For the kids, if we put up Santa versus the Easter Bunny... Come on... It’s no contest! Santa with his many, many presents; yeah we do have that basket to thank Easter Bunny for, but... Christmas 1; Easter 0...
  • Extreme Happiness

    by Brett Davis
    Alexsander Gamme is a Norweigan adventurer and explorer who has seen some incredible sights. He’s summited Everest and been to some of the wildest, highest, and most remote places in the world. He might be a bit of an adrenaline junkie – but maybe even that can become habit? A video from one of his expeditions went viral a few years ago and has since been picked up on several news stories because it is one of the purest, most unbridled displays of sheer joy...
  • Still I Rise

    by Jim Eaton
    Maya Angelou is a poet who has seen in the long history of oppression of black people a reason for hope, an image of resurrection. She says, in part, You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise...
  • Bald Eagles as a Sign of Resurrection

    by Tom Harries
    By 1963, the pesticide DDT together with some shooting, had driven the total population of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states down to about 400 breeding pairs. In the whole state of Minnesota, the mid 70’s, there were fewer than 100 pairs. When I was a child, there was always a pair of eagles nesting somewhere north of our lake cabin, in northwestern Wisconsin...
  • Preaching Helps (Easter)(B)(2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    One of the advantages of word processing is something called “global replacement.” Let’s say you had written an essay in which you used the word “society” a lot but when you finished you realized that you really should have used “culture.” With global replacement you can tell the computer to find each place the word “society” appears and automatically change it to “culture.” Even if you used “society” 200 times, the computer can change every one of them to “culture” in the blink of an eye. Sometimes churches utilize this tool for documents that get used a lot. Some time ago I read about a church office which had stored onto its computer the standard funeral service. Each time a funeral had to be held the secretary would tell the computer to find the name of the deceased, replacing it each time with the correct name for this specific funeral...
  • The Dead Christ Supported by Angels

    Images for Worship from Victoria Jones
    A type of “Man of Sorrows” image, the Dead Christ Supported by Angels is a devotional trope originating in the late Middle Ages. It typically shows a naked, half-length Christ standing up in a sarcophagus, his wounds prominently displayed so as to invite meditation on his suffering. One or more angels tend to him—they may embrace him, mourn his passing, unwrap his burial shroud (to give viewers a better look), display instruments of the passion, keep him propped up in the tomb, or, as we will see below, prepare to welcome him back to life...
  • No April Fool's Joke!

    by Nicholas Lang
    I met with a man recently whose teenage son completely distanced himself from him after his wife and he divorced. Shortly after, this man lost his six figure paying job and found he required life-saving open heart surgery. He lost his marriage, his son, his job his home and almost lost his life. In the past few years he has recovered from his surgery, is gainfully employed again, and has had an almost miraculous reconciliation with his son. He happens to be Jewish yet he described this to me as “resurrection.”...
  • Farther Up and Farther In

    by Andrew Prior
    "I have not changed anything I believe in 27 years." I think this public statement by a colleague was seeking to be faithful to call, and faithful to the Christ. They are a witness to constancy. But the words contrast with another statement of faith, which C.S. Lewis repeats constantly in the final book of the Narnia Tales: The Last Battle. There the call is "Farther up, and farther in." There is something dynamic about Christian faith. It is an invitation to deep life; life farther in. Life that is here, and perhaps even in the hereafter, but life which is deeper. Life that is here where here becomes more profound, not only because of our ability to see more clearly the depths of its suffering and depravity, but in our recognition of its glory and beauty...
  • That’s How It Could Have Happened

    by Beth Quick
    In 1985, the movie Clue was released. Unlike movies based on books, the movie Clue was strangely based on the popular board game. You’ve probably played the game, where you race other players around the board, trying to solve the murder. You have to make accusations: “I think it was Miss Scarlett with the Rope in the Conservatory.” The movie brought these characters to life in a campy comedy film that did very poorly at the box office. In fact, the film did not earn as much as the movie cost to make. If you went to see the film in theatres and compared notes with your friend who attended a different showing, you might find that you’d seen a different ending. The film has three different ending – three different “solutions” to the mystery – and theatregoers were treated to one of the three endings at random. Like I said, though, the film wasn’t very successful in theatres. Eventually though, when released for home viewing, the movie gained quite a following. I first saw it at home, and it has become one of my favorites – just a clever, goofy movie. And if you rented the movie, you had a different experience of the ending: all three endings were shown, one after the other. So you’d watched the movie through the end, when the mystery was solved, and then, you’d see this screen: That’s How It Could Have Happened…and then But How about This? on the next screen. And then finally, But Here’s What Really Happened as the three endings played one after the other. ..
  • The Disciples and Peter

    by Diane Roth
    In Mark’s Gospel, failure is a more relevant word than triumph: the failure of the disciples, of the women, our failure, my failure … Among other things, that’s what I come face to face with in Mark’s story of the resurrection. The disciples fail to understand Jesus. The women run away and say nothing to anyone. Jesus rises from the dead but no one sees him. How is it possible that there is even a church around after 2,000 years, with all of this failure? … But lately I’m thinking that failure is the point. That Mark is the gospel of failure, our failure—and that resurrection grows only out of this … The Gospel of Mark is the gospel of failure. It is the theme that runs through the whole book, and it doesn’t resolve during those last eight verses—it’s like a piece of music that ends on a discordant note. I suppose this is why there are so many attempts to resolve it. Make your own ending! Add verses! But the gospel of failure is the gospel of life.
  • Do Not Be Alarmed

    by Peter Thompson
    One of my favorite passages in all of literature is this one, from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet: “We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”...
  • Now You See Him

    by Carl Wilton
    “Parents are like God,” wrote the preacher William Sloane Coffin, “when they provide maximum support and minimum protection.” One person who demonstrated this style of parenting is Jacqui Kess-Gardner, and her husband James. They live in Baltimore. The story of their extreme parenting challenges began more than thirty years ago, in a hospital delivery room. Jacqui had just given birth to her second child. “Mrs. Gardner,” said the nurse, “something’s wrong here!” The doctor shot her an angry glance. “I looked in horror,” Jacqui wrote, later, “as the nurse pulled back the blanket to show us our son. One eye was sealed shut. The other was a milky mass. He had no bridge to his nose and his face looked crushed. Although I knew I should take him in my arms and hold him, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. The nurse whisked him away.” Minutes later, Jacqui was on the phone to her mother. She’d been watching the couple's other son, Jamaal. “It’s a boy,” Jacqui sobbed over the phone. “His eyes won’t open. His face is deformed. I don’t think I can handle this. What am I RELEASING THE LOVE going to do, Mom?” “My question hung in the air.” Jacqui continued. “Then Mom said in quiet, measured tones, ‘You will bring him home. These are the children we hold dear. Bring him home and nurture him.” Jacqui’s mother’s words, it seems to me — could be the mission statement for all Christian parenting. “These are the children we hold dear.” No apologies. No conditions. No explanations. Just a statement of fact. “We do it because it’s what we do. Any questions?”

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2017

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2015)

    by Brendan Byrne
    ("one of my favourite poets is the great 19th century English Romantic poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. One of Tennyson's most famous poems is In Memorium A.H.H, a long series of lyric poems written as a tribute to Tennyson's friend and fellow poet, Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly at the age of 22. Written over a period of 17 years, In Memorium charts Tennyson's struggle with grief, and his quest for hope in the face of the loss of a dearly beloved friend...")
  • Resurrection

    by Jane Anne Ferguson
    ("Seeking to take my own advice from above I share with you this week a couple of resurrection stories that are dear to my heart and have lived with me bringing new life in dark times since I was ten. They both come from the Narnia Chronicles of C.S. Lewis. The first is from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe...")
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2015)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Computers are powerful tools. Most people under the age of 30 can't imagine what it was like back in the days of typewriters when every revision of a paper required re-typing the entire thing. Now we store our documents on disks and, even if we have already printed a copy, can easily make a few changes, and then re-print it without having to re-type...")
  • Threatened with Resurrection

    by Jim McCrea
    ("In his book Life after Life, Raymond Moody tells about a woman who counseled with him after her son died from cancer. She was struggling with grief and missed her son terribly. Then Moody tells about an incredible call he received from her. He writes: 'A few days after her visit to my clinic, she awoke from a deep sleep... There standing in her room, was her son...")
  • Prove It!

    by Jay McDivitt
    ("The truth of the resurrection cannot be 'proven' one way or the other. The very concept defies all expectations, logic, and science. It's something that is received by faith – and experienced in daily life. This doesn't keep us from trying to 'prove' it's true – or prove it's not, depending on your persuasion. But one does wonder, for those of us who want to believe the resurrection matters; couldn't we find something else to do with our time and energy other than search for 'proof'?...")
  • An Unfinished Story

    by Dave Russell
    This past Wednesday I attended a conference sponsored by AMOS on Affordable Housing. At the conference, Sipele Pablo, the homeless liaison for the Ames schools, told about a 7-year old boy whose family had lost their home. They were staying at the Ames Motor Lodge temporarily. Until transportation to school was worked out, she was giving him rides to school. On about the third day, she asked him to get something out of his backpack. He opened the backpack and she saw pots and pans and all kinds of household stuff inside. She told him that that he couldn’t take all of that stuff to school and asked him what was going on.
  • Watchful Women

    by Martha Spong
    ("When my mother died early on a spring evening in 1993, the ladies of the garden club and the bridge club gathered around my family to stand sentinel over the old-fashioned ritual of paying calls on the bereaved. One of Mother's friends had been ill with cancer herself, receiving radiation treatments that damaged her taste for food and therefore her appetite. Her family worried about keeping her strong enough to survive the treatment intended to save her. Nothing tasted good. Yet she came to take her turn that Tuesday, and during a lull in the visits, we sat at the kitchen table together...")
  • Simply Amazing

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Richard Byrd spent the winter of 1934 at a weather station in Antarctica. The temperature ranged from -58 to -76 degrees. He was suffering from frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning. In his book, Alone, he said, 'I had hardly the strength to move. I clung to the sleeping bag, which was the only source of comfort and warmth left. My chances of being rescued were slim and I was so weak I was unable to take care of myself. But I kept saying to myself, 'You must have faith, you must have faith..' and other illustrations)

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2014

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • No End

    by Christopher Burkett
    ["In the film Lawrence of Arabia, the soldier T.E. Lawrence and his Arab companions have travelled between two wells across a particularly terrifying piece of desert only to discover that one of their party is no longer with them. Lawrence's companions shrug their shoulders, 'It is written,' they say. 'It is not written,' barks Lawrence and he immediately returns to the desert to search for the lost man. Hours later, he comes back having found the one who was lost still alive. The others gasp in amazement and from then on Lawrence is known as 'The one for whom it is not written.'..." and other illustrations]
  • Say What Needs to Be Said

    by Ken Carter
    ("I am also thinking of poetry this Easter, and in particular, of Wendell Berry's Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front from The Country of Marriage. Berry admonishes the reader to 'practice resurrection', a needed word in the midst of our anxiety and turmoil...")
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2012)

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("Some years ago a pastor in SC was invited to a baptism by one of his parishioners who was a guard at the Central Carolina Prison in Columbia. The pastor arrived at the prison early in the morning. He was searched, ID'd, interrogated, moved from waiting area to waiting area for over an hour...")
  • Going Ahead of Us

    by Kathy Donley
    ("Lawrence Anthony died last month at his home in South Africa. He lived on the edge of a 5,000 acre game reserve which he bought in the 1990's. In 1999, he rescued a small herd of elephants who were tearing up the countryside and were going to be killed. The elephants were wild and could easily have left the reserve, but Anthony was able to gain their trust and eventually they stayed. Over time, other elephants were also brought to the reserve. He became known as the Elephant Whisperer. Two days after Anthony's death, one herd showed up at his house...")
  • Practice Resurrection

    by Carl Gregg
    ("Clarence Jordan, one of my heroes and a twentieth-century Christian saint, said, 'The proof that God raised Jesus from the dead is not the empty tomb, but the full hearts of his transformed disciples. The crowning evidence that he lives is not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship. Not a rolled-away stone, but a carried-away church.'...")
  • He Is Going Ahead of You

    by Peter Haynes
    ("In his book, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, Simon Winchester tells of the 1883 eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in the Pacific ocean. In a series of four blasts an island was totally obliterated, and huge tsunamis destroyed many other lands, killing tens of thousands of people. The book reveals how this event had a tremendous impact around the world, still felt today. It was said back then that the sound of the detonation was audible 3,000 miles away. That's like hearing from San Francisco an explosion in New York City...")
  • Now What?

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Deadly Things

    by Scott Black Johnston
    ("In recent weeks, I have been reading a powerful book of poetry by Louise Glück, entitled Averno. The title Averno takes its name from a crater lake in southern Italy that during the time of ancient Rome was thought to be the entrance to the underworld. In one of Glück's most haunting poems in this collection, called October, she contemplates the season of autumn and the gradual, day-by-day dimming of light that goes along with that time of the year...")
  • Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

    by Paul Larsen
    ("Twenty years ago Sister Therese was a counselor on the faculty of the international school that her community runs in Rome. There was a student named Carmen who was very dear to Sister Therese. Sometimes Carmen came to school with strange bruises and welts, and one day she confided to Therese that her stepfather was abusing her...")
  • The Incomplete Good News

    by Jim McCrea
    ("One time in 1987 I was high up in the mountains, in the Ixchel region of Guatemala, staying with a Wycliffe Bible translator and while we were talking one night, I noticed over his desk a framed photo from a newspaper. It was a picture of about twenty young children standing between a building on one side and a large pit on the other...")
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2009)

    by Lawrence Moore
    Gone With the Wind is one of the cinematographic experiences … allegedly! It's certainly memorable. I saw it when I was about 12, and I remember it clearly. What I remember, though, is not a great film, but the enormous frustration I felt when, after sitting through four hours of cinema, the story was never resolved!...
  • A Surprise Beginning

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    Perhaps the most famous and compelling of surprise endings from Hollywood came ten years ago in the movie Sixth Sense. Haley Joel Osment played a young boy who saw and talked to dead people; Bruce Willis played a child psychiatrist who treated him. But the ending brought a shocker that had you suddenly sitting on the edge of your seat, “What! That can’t be!” Here’s a spoiler warning. Since the movie’s ten years old, I hope I won’t ruin it for anyone who’s never seen it and still wants to someday. Cover your ears, if that’s the case. We find out at the end of the movie that Bruce Willis is dead and hasn’t realized it. And neither have you, the movie patron, realized it. It pulls you in makes you want to watch it again right away. And I think some people did. They went out and paid to watch again so that they could spot some clues about why about why they hadn’t realized it.
  • Holy Week (B)(2012)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("When I was a Jesuit novice, the novice master once decided that the novices should all go on a pilgrimage in the North of Spain. He had been reading about the life of St Ignatius and had gottento the part where St Ignatius went on a long pilgrimage in Northern Spain and achieved many deep and wonderful spiritual insights. So our novice master decided that what was good for Ignatius was good for us...")
  • Easter Vigil (B)(2009)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("Every doctor always remembers the first patient who died under his care. For me, it was an elderly woman who came to hospital very sick with heat stroke and dehydration. Late in the evening of the day she died, I was driving along the road past the hospital. And I saw her husband, standing by the side of the road all alone, holding just a little plastic bag which, somehow I knew, contained the few little possessions his wife had left behind...")
  • Christmas and Easter

    by Fran Ota
    ("This morning we are singing two pieces of music that we normally associate with Christmas. First, we've sung the last verse of O Come, All Ye Faithful.....'Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing all ye citizens of heaven above. Glory to God in the highest! O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.' We sang it as a response to The Exultet...")
  • A Voice That Never Dies

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("I would like to recount one such voice, that of an anonymous, young woman who was brutally raped and murdered by the Salvadoran military in 1981, at a place fittingly called La Cruz. The story was reported by Mark Danner, a journalist....")
  • The Good Part

    by Alex Thomas
    ("A family was watching the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told on television one night. One of the children was deeply moved and completely enthralled by the events of Jesus life. As Jesus struggled toward Calvary under the weight of the cross, tears rolled down her cheeks. She was absolutely silent and still until Jesus had been taken down from the cross..." and other illustrations)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Keep Looking Up!

    by Bob Allred
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
  • Are You Afraid?

    by Rob Elder
  • Easter Eggs and Easter Victory

    by Richard Fairchild
  • Everyday and Everywhere

    by Mark Haverland
  • Between "The Troubles I've Seen" and "Glory, Hallelujah!"

    by Peter Haynes
    ("Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down, Oh, yes, Lord, Sometimes, I'm almost to the ground, Oh, yes, Lord. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, Nobody knows like Jesus, Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, .... Glory, Hallelujah...")
  • Full on Empty

    by Anne-Marie Hislop
    New York Port Authority Police Lt. Brian Tierney surveyed the pile of wreckage before him. What had been several hundred parked cars before the terror attack on the World Trade Center, was now mostly a pile of twisted metal. A few cars were not as badly damaged. One of the cars in particular was actually in very good shape. This was a car that was well sealed up. Realizing that anything in the trunk was probably going to be very clean, Lt. Tierney called the widow of the owner. When the widow arrived to collect the personal property from the car, the crew began to cut the car's sealed trunk open. While they were cutting the lid, she started telling them that September 11th was actually her birthday. She and her husband had planned to go out that evening to celebrate that event. Then the trunk of the car popped open. Sitting right on top of everything was a neatly wrapped package tied up in a bright purple ribbon, a large bow and a card on top - her husband's last birthday present to her...
  • Fear Not! Christ Is Risen!

    by L. Bevel Jones III
  • Are You Jesus?

    by Paul Larsen
  • Nothing to Fear

    by Paul Larsen
  • The Easter...

    by David Leininger
  • Heaven

    by David Leininger
  • Afraid?

    by David Martyn
  • Why Resurrection?

    by David Martyn
    When we have done all the work we were sent to earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the butterfly. And when the time is right, we can let go of it and we will be free of pain, free of fears and worries, free as a very beautiful butterfly, returning home to God... That was written by Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross, who had this to say about her beliefs. "When we have passed the tests we were sent to Earth to learn, we are allowed to graduate. We are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul the way a cocoon encloses the future butterfly, and when the time is right we can let go of it. Then we will be free of pain, free of fears and free of worries–free as a beautiful butterfly returning home to God... which is a place where we are never alone, where we continue to grow and to sing and to dance, where we are with those we loved, and where we are surrounded with more love that we can ever imagine."...
  • On the Wings of Dawn

    by Jim McCrea
    ("In her book A Man Called Peter, Catherine Marshall tells of the unexpected death of her husband, Peter Marshall, who was the Chaplain to the U.S. Senate. He had a heart attack in the middle of the night and was rushed to the hospital. As she prayed for his recovery, she says that she was enveloped by a boundless expression of the love of God and an indescribable peace..." and another illustration)
  • Freedom

    by Robert Morrison
  • The Failure of Failure

    by Nathan Nettleton
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2006)

    by William Oldland
    Over the years I have taken a series of different tests described as personality indicators. These tests help give insight into how we collect information, how we process it, where we get our energy from and how we like to order our lives. These tests can be very helpful to someone who is looking to find out more about themselves or why they react in certain ways to the world around them. One such test is the Myers-Briggs test. It has four parameters that do what I just described above. One parameter is described as the N or S factor. This factor describes how we collect information. It really looks at how we absorb information from the world around us. The letter N stands for intuitive. An intuitive person primarily gathers information through their feelings. They feel good about something they have heard or they feel negative about something they have read. They meet someone and they just have a kind of feeling about them. Now, the S letter stands for sensate. An S person primarily gathers information through the senses. It's real if I can see it, touch it, hear it, feel it or taste it. Both ways of gathering information are acceptable. A person is not simply one way or the other. Everyone has some part of both ways of gathering information. Most of us use one method more often than the other. Now, what is interesting is that both of these are used in Mark's story of the resurrection...
  • Did You Get the Point?

    by John Pavelko
  • Hope In the Face of Failure

    by Stephen Portner
  • This Moment of Life

    by Karen Senecal
  • Light Cracking the Darkness

    by Byron E. Shafer
  • Always One Step Ahead

    by Keith Wagner
  • And No One Said a Word

    by Keith Wagner
  • Simply Amazing

    by Keith Wagner

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

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