Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Nov. 22, 1946, the post WWII Nassoons make their debut in
Alexander Hall. Music Dir. Don Finnie gets the pitch for the
next song.
        If you read my earlier post and watched the video, you saw that Princeton University's premier men's a cappella singing group, the Nassoons, have made a most entertaining production of The Tigertown Blues, which has been one of their signature songs since it was introduced way back in the fall of 1946.
        While sticking with my original harmonization and basic arrangement, the Nassoons over the years have added some clever choreography and varied the original blues tempo. I was most impressed by the presentation of the current Nassoons, a link to which was included in the previous post.
        For an interesting and I hope enjoyable contrast, you might like to hear the original version, as sung by the reorganized post-WWII Nassoons in the album they recorded in the spring of 1947. I don't know whether or not this is going to work, but I'm hoping if you click on The Tigertown Blues below you will be able to listen to the song, as it was sung sixty-six years ago! I first made a cassette tape from the old vinyl record, then last night was able to re-record that copy on to a disk, which in turn was copied into my storage cloud, Sugarsync.
        After listening again to the way I sounded doing the solo way back then, I wasn't sure I wanted to go public with this, but my wife Margie and sons Andy and Woody insisted, so here goes. Now let's hope it works! The link will take you to my storage cloud, Sugarsync, which will say "Richard S. has sent you a file." Right under that you will see "91 Track 1.wma." If you click on that, you should then be able to play The Tigertown Blues
        I hope you enjoy this brief musical relic from my college years. (If it doesn't work, we'll try something else.)

Saturday, April 27, 2013


The Princeton Nassoons
        The Nassoons, Princeton University's oldest (and in my biased opinion best) men's a cappella singing group have a small part in the recently released movie "Admission," starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. They are singing one of their signature songs, The Tigertown Blues, in Blair Arch, when Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan, played by Fey, breaks through their ranks.
        In the movie you hear the Nassoons for only about twenty seconds. To listen to the same song in its entirety, click here, turn up the volume, and enlarge your screen. In this video they are singing at a recent performance at the Friends School in Moorestown, New Jersey. These young gentlemen of song and their predecessors of recent years have added lots of choreography to the arrangement, which makes it even more of an audience pleaser.
        The tempo and rhythm have varied over the years, but the words, melody, and harmonization are the same as when I wrote the song way back in 1946.
        Actually I had written the music and the arrangement two years earlier, while I was at the Naval Supply Corps School at Harvard, but I changed the words for the newly reorganized, post-WWII Nassoons. We introduced the song at our debut, as part of a joint Princeton and Dartmouth glee clubs concert in Princeton's Alexander Hall.on Friday night, November 22, 1946. The song was an immediate hit, even though I was chosen to sing the opening solo that first year. Later on it became a Nassoons' tradition for the current president to sing the solo.
        When I wrote the lyrics Princeton was an all-male college. After the University finally began admitting  women as undergraduates in 1969, I updated the words to reflect the fact that Princeton was now coeducational, but the Nassoons at that time decided they would stick with the original lyrics and treat The Tigertown Blues as a "period piece."
        It seemed to make no difference to their audiences, and the song has remained one of their perennial favorites with their admiring fans of all ages to this day. The original Nassoon arrangement is included in the Centennial Edition of the University's song book, Carmina Princetonia (G. Schirmer, Inc., 1968).
Still the Nassoons!
        Click on Princeton Nassoons for their home page. To see the above and lots of other photos, click photos   

Friday, April 26, 2013


Hello, friends!

In the midst of all the terrible news we've been deluged with in recent days, here's something that
should make you feel good.

I'll be surprised if you don't love this video, which I've just seen this morning for the first time.

The world does have something in common ---dancing!

Share this with your friends.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


        For Republicans across the board to blame the President for the flight delays resulting from the forced layoff of flight controllers at several airport hubs is the height of hypocrisy.
        The layoffs are the result of the sequester, which in turn is the result of the refusal of the Republican controlled Congress to compromise on budget cuts.
        President Obama had warned Congress and the nation of the dire consequences of the House’s failure to act and specified the severity of the cuts that would result from sequestration.  When he described the airport delays and long lines that would occur, he was accused by the Republicans of using scare tactics.
        Now those same voices are screaming about the delays and blaming the President for effects he predicted and for which they themselves were responsible!
Rep. Sen. Mitch McConnell
        To quote Yogi Berra, it’s “deja vu all over again” for Mitch McConnell and the other finger pointing Republican Senators, who also blamed the President for their own failure to pass gun legislation. Now McConnell, for example, is saying, "As a result of the administration's poor planning and, I would argue, political motives, thousands of people were stuck on tarmacs."
        I have a hard time listening to any of them without shouting at the television! They and their Fox news friends misquoted and misrepresented the President throughout the presidential campaign and they’re still at it. They have never accepted the fact that Barack Obama was reelected by a decisive margin. Republican right-wing ideologies were rejected by the majority of the American people.
        Since then the GOP admittedly has been in disarray, but that’s no excuse for their hypocrisy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


        In an interview on WCVB early this morning Dave Henneberry, the owner of the boat in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding, tells a much different story from that originally reported by the police.
        He did not follow a trail of blood to the boat in his backyard. To read Henneberry's own amazing account click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


As more information is being released about the background and motivations of the Boston Marathon bombers, following the capture of the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, widespread discussion of and speculation about the wider implications of their dastardly crime continues.
The young men, we are told, were religiously motivated.  We are warned of the possible increase in this type of terrorism. It is frightening to think that any religious faith could blind its adherents to the obvious contradictions implicit in any act of terrorism against a country whose Constitution guarantees the freedom of thinking and of speech, and of religion, that we Americans enjoy. The very concept of an American jihadist is an oxymoron. 
But, then, who can expect the mind of a terrorist to be logical? Here's an interesting article you may have missed. Click here.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Herbert E. Armstrong
       The scandalous behavior of so many coaches we have been reading about lately and a while back has caused me to ask myself, What would my father think of all this? In my younger days I played for and worked with many great coaches, but I have to say that my Dad was the greatest coach I have ever known. He was a coach of coaches, many of whom would say the same thing of him, if they were alive today.
        I could spend many pages backing up that statement, but I’ll simply say that my father was an amazing analyst of every sport he coached. He could decipher, articulate, and communicate the mechanics of every individual move or team play in a way that enabled players and teams with mediocre talent to hold their own against opponents with much greater talent and size. He amassed an amazing record over the years, and his exploits were legendary in the state of Maryland, where he was revered by his players and respected by everyone in the athletic world.
        I wonder what my father, if he were alive, would think about the coaching profession today and how it has changed. He would not believe the salaries of coaches, which like those of professional athletes have skyrocketed. Many “big time” college coaches are being signed to seven-figure contracts. Some football coaches are paid more than the presidents of their universities!
        Television can be credited or blamed, depending upon your point of view, for this development, because it has made celebrities of coaches. To be sure, television has impacted all aspects of every sport, usually but not always for the best, and in my view its effect on coaches’ and players’ salaries is not one of the better ways. Given the alarming increase in poverty in our nation and the growing gap between the rich and the poor, I think the exorbitant salaries of some professional athletes and coaches are morally outrageous.
        That’s not to denigrate the importance of athletics or the coaching profession. Coaches, especially high school coaches, have a tremendous influence on the character development of the young people under their charge. Some of the most valuable lessons of life, like the importance of teamwork, self-discipline, hard work, loyalty, and sacrifice, and how to deal with defeat and success, are learned on the athletic fields. My values were shaped there more than in the classroom.
        My father recognized that and took it seriously. He attended a football coaches conference one year at which one of the speakers jokingly made reference to what he called “a character building season,” meaning a losing season. The remark and the laughter that followed it infuriated my Dad, who rose to challenge the speaker with the comment that every season should be a character building year! His timely objection was greeted with immense applause.
        That’s who he was —a man of integrity, a man of character, for whom honesty was a quality to be expected not commended. He believed character building should be every coach’s foremost responsibility. He himself taught by word and by example. I can imagine how upset he would be by the behavior of some coaches today, the chair-throwing Bobby Knights and the abusive Mike Rices of this world, who for many folks give the coaching profession a bad name.
        Today it’s all about winning. My Dad wanted to win as much as anyone. And he was a winner. But he never sacrificed his values on the altar of personal acclaim, or let expediency compromise his principles. He was humble and modest, fair in his reprimands and generous with his praise. He was always eager to give others the credit they deserved, especially his colleagues. That’s why his fellow coaches and players admired and respected him so much, and why they gave their all for him.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


        I wonder what thoughts crowded young Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's mind, as he lay bleeding in the bottom of the tarp-covered motor boat in David Heneberry's back yard.
       Was he frightened? I would think so. His older, dominating brother had been killed. The nineteen-year old fugitive was now alone and seriously wounded. He knew the whole world was looking for him. He had nowhere to go, nowhere to turn, even if he had the strength to climb out of what he must have feared would soon become his coffin.
        Was he remorseful? I would hope so. His high school classmates and teachers remember him as a friendly, likable student-athlete, before he began to change. His tweets reflected that change. Were his opposite natures in conflict, as the reality of his desperate situation dawned upon him in the darkness of his hiding place? Was the conscience of the decent young naturalized American he once was now questioning the cold-blooded killer he had become?
        Did the murder and maiming of so many innocent people now feel to him like heroic acts or heinous crimes? Was he rejoicing over or ruing his brother’s violent death? Did he run over his brother’s bullet-ridden body accidentally, or deliberately, perhaps hoping to detonate the IED strapped to the dead man’s chest?
        And what about the victims of his crime? Was he haunted by pictures of their faces and those of their grieving loved onrs he had seen on television?
        Perhaps we shall know the answers to these and many other questions in the days to come, if
the young man survives. While in no way excusing his horrible crimes, I nevertheless can find room in my heart to pity him, especially if he is remorseful and penitent. And if he is not, then I pity him for being duped and brainwashed by his brother, or whomever, into becoming what he became.

Friday, April 19, 2013


They got him ---alive!

Although the police report that he is in serious condition in the hospital, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two brothers suspected of planting the bombs at the Boston Marathon on Monday, is in custody. His older brother Tamerlan was killed in a shoot-out earlier this morning.

Once again it was a call from an alert citizen of Watertown that led to the capture of the fugitive, shortly after the police had lifted the call for people to remain locked in their homes for their own protection. A Franklin Street resident spotted a trail of blood leading to a covered boat in his back yard. Upon stealthily peeking beneath the cover, he saw a man covered with blood. Making a quick retreat, he immediately called 911, and the police closed in at once.

They tried to talk the young man into giving himself up, but he was unresponsive. There was a brief exchange of gun fire, and then they managed to apprehend him. It was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Having lost a serious amount of blood, he was taken immediately to the hospital.

Boston Globe
The announcement of his capture brought an enthusiastic amount of cheering and applause from the large crowd that had gathered. The various news agencies were quickly on the scene and busily reporting the story. A press conference was held, at which Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Boston FBI Chief Richard DesLauriers, and the various law enforcement officials we have been hearing from in recent days, spoke eloquently of their joint accomplishment. It was indeed an amazing achievement.

President Obama also spoke from the White House, and I was pleased that he took the occasion also to reassure the people of the town of  West, Texas, that they were not forgotten and would have the full resources of the Federal Government in dealing with the terrible explosion that had taken so many lives and destroyed so many homes.

It is understandable that because of the need to find and capture the perpetrators of the Boston bombings, that act of terrorism and subsequent events have occupied the attention of the American public, whose sympathy and support must also be directed to the West, Texas, victims and their families.


       Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Chechen born brothers suspected to be the Boston Marathon bombers, who was killed by police in a shoot-out early this morning, was found to have an improvised explosive device (I.E.D.) strapped to his chest.
        The fact that he had may have had ties to and perhaps was inspired and trained by Jihadist terrorists, raises once again an annoying question for me: Why can’t moderate Islamic leaders in Islamic countries convince the followers of their radical counterparts that Allah does not sanction the killing of innocent people and that the idea that they will go direct to paradise by blowing themselves up in the process could not be farther from the truth?
Still at large.
         As of this writing Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger brother, is still on the loose. The entire city of Boston is in a virtual lock down. People have been warned to remain in their homes. The young man will be found. I just hope he will be taken alive, so that the authorities can find some answers to one question nobody has yet answered: Why?
         Why did they do this? Were they radicalized by some Jihadist extremist terrorist organization? What changed them from the apparently normal persons described by those who knew them as fellow students into terrorist killers? What did they hope to accomplish? Why did they do what they did?
        There are many other unanswered questions, of course, such as, Were there any other accomplices? But what is truly amazing is the speed with which the two suspects were identified and found. In addition to the many law enforcement agencies that have cooperated so commendably in this massive endeavor, our thanks go out to the thousands of individuals whose countless videos, photographs, and personal tips have played a huge and indispensable part in this remarkable achievement.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


       Yes, score one for the good guys in rejecting a GOP measure to permit people to carry concealed weapons across state lines, but other than that the Senate failed miserably yesterday to move ahead on gun legislation. Their failure to pass even a watered down version of the gun legislation that the vast majority of Americans are appealing for, prompted the President to sound forth in the Rose Garden in an uncharacteristically strong expression of his obvious disgust with those Senators who still are refusing to respond to the tragedies of Newtown, Aurora, and elsewhere. "All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," he declared.
        The emotional pleas from the families of Newtown victims and the urging of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is herself a recovering victim of the 2011 Arizona mass shooting, and her astronaut husband Mark Kelly were to no avail.
"Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not."
        Despite their great disappointment the Newtown families vowed to carry on their fight for gun legislation. "Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not," said Mark Barden, whose seven-year-old son Daniel was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
        Giffords and her husband issued a joint statement following the Senate vote charging that  the Senate "ignored the will of the American people. . . We will use every means possible to make sure the constituents of these senators know that their elected representatives ignored them, and put Washington, D.C. special interest politics over the effort to keep their own communities safer from the tragedy of gun violence."
        After Vice President Biden, who was presiding over the Senate, announced that the proposed legislation had been defeated, a woman in the gallery cried out, “Shame on you!” She echoed the words I expressed in yesterday’s blog post, and what every reasonable American should be feeling toward every one of those members of the Senate and House who are preventing the passage of the gun legislation.
        Shame on you!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


        Score one round for the good guys today, when the Senate rejected by a 58-39 vote a GOP measure that would have given people with concealed weapons the right to carry their firearms into other states with similar gun laws.
        I don’t think I’m alone in the opinion that any Senator or Congressperson who opposes meaningful gun legislation, including especially universal background checks for gun purchasers, a ban on the ownership of military-type assault weapons by private citizens, and the criminalizing of gun trafficking of all types, does not deserve to be reelected to public office.
        So I appeal to all you reasonable folks to pay attention to how your elected representatives are voting on this issue and make them pay for their caving in to the NRA and their “Red Neck” supporters, whose unwarranted fears for their Second Amendment rights have blinded them to the problem of gun violence in America.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Photo by David Ryan, Boston Globe/Getty
        Our hearts go out to the victims of yesterday’s bombings in Boston and to their families and friends, and to the entire city of Boston. It is most impressive and reassuring to see the cooperation of the various local, state, and national law enforcement agencies, the fire departments and emergency rescue personnel, the hospitals, and the community at large in dealing with this latest act of violence on American soil.
        Along with our sympathy this latest disaster evokes many other emotions, including my growing concern about the escalation of violence in America. While I agree with Senator Marco Rubio that their needs to be a national discussion about the causes of violence and what to do about it, I disagree completely with his view that such a discussion should supersede the current debate on gun control.
        On the contrary, gun violence is a huge part of the problem of violence in general. It is a manifestation of our society’s inclination toward violence as well as the most glaring and prevalent example of our society’s violent behavior.  It is utterly deplorable that the House Republicans and some Democrats are still resisting any effort to enact sensible gun legislation.
         Shame on them! Shame on Congress for failing to act, even to pass a watered-down version of the legislation that the vast majority of Americans favor!
         On the basis of his previous public pronouncements I wouldn’t put it past NRA executive director Wayne Lapierre to advocate that from now on all marathon runners and spectators should carry guns, in fact all athletes and spectators at all sporting events, and people attending conventions or any large gatherings, including church services, and ultimately everybody in the USA, should be armed at all times!
Am I being too cynical? Probably, but with respect to violence in America Pierre and his ilk are in my view part of the problem not the solution.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true (John 21:24, NRSV).


I give thanks, O gracious God, for all the insights I’ve received
        from this Gospel, which John testified is true.
I am grateful for the ways that John has helped me to believe,
        for your Spirit has confirmed his message, too.

What a joy and inspiration, Lord, to know that you inspired
        the disciple Jesus loved to write these things.
And the fact that John was an eyewitness to all that transpired
        reinforces my faith in the King of kings.

Thank you, God, for all the ways that you have made the good news known,
        and for every truth that I have read or heard.
Through John’s Gospel in particular my faith in Christ has grown,
        for I’ve come to know him as the living Word.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another Lectionary Poem: - WHAT ABOUT HIM?

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about him?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" 23 So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:20-23, NRSV)


When Peter heard what would be happening                                        
   to him, as Christ foretold God’s holy plan,
he looked around and saw John following,
and said to Jesus, “What about this man?”

This had to be a negative comment,
according to the way Jesus replied.
It mirrored his competitive intent.
He spoke not out of love, but out of pride.

Said Jesus, “If it’s my will he remain
until I come again, what’s that to you?”
Why should the Son of God have to explain
        to Peter what was in store for John, too?

When Peter asked his question about John,
  he in a sense denied his Lord again.
He wasn’t challenged to choose pro or con.
What sort of a denial was it then?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Another Lectionary Poem: FOLLOW ME! .

 . . . After this he said to him, "Follow me!" (John 21:19b, NRSV)


When you know you are forgiven and redeemed, you can be sure
        that the final word from Christ will always be,
after you profess your love for him and promise to endure,
        what he said to Simon Peter: “Follow me!”

When he asks you, “Do you love me?” as he did Peter that day,
        and you say, “You know I do!” indignantly,
you may not become a shepherd, but you’ll always hear him say
        his concluding words to Peter: “Follow me!”

You may not know what the future holds, or when the end will come,
        or just how you will fulfill your destiny.
But until that final day dawns, you can learn a lesson from
        what Christ Jesus said to Peter: “Follow me!”


Thursday, April 11, 2013


He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:17)


“Do you love me?” Jesus asks me.                                                          
  “Lord, you know I do!” I say.                                                                        
But I find that I deny him
almost daily in some way.

“Do you love me?” Jesus asks me,
“more than all your cherished things?”
“Yes, you know I love you, Jesus!”
(But I still enjoy my flings.)

“Do you love me?” Jesus asks me.
“You know everything, my Lord.
You must know how much I love you!”
(But what price can I afford?)

“Do you love me?” Jesus asks me.
I reply, “With all my heart!
And I’ll do my best to show you,
  Lord, if you just do your part!”


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him
the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go." (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, "Follow me" (John 21:1-19).


Simon Peter and six others had been fishing through the night,
but they hadn’t caught a thing since they began.
As the darkness was retreating from the early morning light,
they were suddenly aware there was a man
on the shore, and he called out to them, “Have you caught anything?”
The disciples told him, “We have not caught one!”
“Cast your net off to the right.”  “There is a most familiar ring
to that voice,” they must have thought.  When they had done
as he told them, the net soon became so full of fish that they
found they could not haul their heavy catch aboard.
Then John, realizing it was Jesus, was the first to say
  to his partner Simon Peter, “It’s the Lord!”

Monday, April 8, 2013


After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. . .  This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:1, 24-25, NRSV).


Chapter 21 of John is like a postscript,                                                
        an appendix that the writer added on
to his Gospel, which concludes in Chapter 20.
        Even so, there are some lessons to be drawn
from the story John relates in his addendum,
        which describes Jesus’ appearance by the Sea
of Tiberias, where some of the disciples
        had been fishing rather unsuccessfully.
John concludes this chapter with a testimony
        that the things which he has written are all true,
and his comment at the end of Chapter 20
        is included in this added chapter, too.
He declares so many things were done by Jesus
        that if every one of them were written down,
the whole world could not contain the books resulting!
        Who could ever count the stars in Jesus’ crown?

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31, NRSV).


Chapter 20 verses 30, 31
        are the obvious conclusion of John’s Book.
For they summarize the writing he has done
        and they make a point one must not overlook:
the disciples witnessed many other signs
        not included in this book.  But these have been
for the purpose John states in his closing lines.
        Faith in Jesus as the Christ, he hopes to win.
“These are written that you may come to believe
        Jesus is the Christ, that he’s the Son of God,
and that through believing you may then receive
        in his name eternal life.” Praise be to God!

Friday, April 5, 2013


A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (John 20:24-29, NRSV).


When Jesus came the first time, John says, Thomas wasn’t there.                      
He may have had a reason, but John doesn’t seem to care.    
John simply states that Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus came.
So Thomas went on doubting, and because of that the name
of Thomas probably will be what it has always been:
a synonym for doubters, as if doubting were a sin.
But Jesus didn’t reprimand him, when he next appeared,
or criticize him for his doubt, as Thomas might have feared.
For Jesus knew that Thomas really wanted to believe,
  and Thomas was a thinking person, not at all naive.
From Mark, and Luke, and Matthew we know nothing of the man,
except that he was one of the disciples. But we can
get some idea of the kind of person Thomas was
from incidents they don’t include, which the Fourth Gospel does.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe" (John 20:24-25, NRSV).


I have wondered about Thomas
and why would he not believe,
when his friends said, “We’ve seen Jesus!”
Thomas just could not conceive
that his Master could be living
after being crucified,
so he laid down the conditions
by which he’d be satisfied:
he would have to see the nail prints
and the wounds in Jesus’ side,
that the soldiers had inflicted
to make certain he had died.
Why would Thomas be the only
one his doubt still to declare?
Because when the Lord appeared the
first time, Thomas wasn’t there!

. . . . SO BE THERE!

When church members are in their own church each Sunday, it’s a bet,
  that in matters of the Spirit, all their needs are being met.
If on any given Sunday they decide not to appear,
they may miss the very sermon that they needed most to hear.
Lest one be a doubting Thomas, every Christian must take care,
when the saints have gathered, not to be the one who wasn’t there.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (John 20:19-29, NRSV). 


On Sunday evening of that day, the first day of the week,             
        for Jesus’ followers the future still was very bleak.
They gathered in a house where they had sometimes met before,
        and fearing the authorities they’d bolted every door.
How startled they all must have been, and maybe frightened, too,
        when Jesus suddenly appeared and said, “Peace be with you.”
He then showed them his hands and side.  Oh, how they did rejoice
        to see the Lord alive again and hear their Master’s voice!
He then repeated what he’d said before, “Peace be with you,
        for as the Father has sent me, so I now send you, too.”
And after that he breathed on them, and then went on to say,
        “Receive my holy spirit.”  He empowered them that day
to pardon sins or to condemn.  Because of this last word
        much controversy among Bible scholars has occurred.
Now Thomas wasn’t with the others when Christ came that day.
        So when they said, “We’ve seen the Lord!”  Thomas replied, “No way!
Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and feel his side,
        I won’t believe!” For he was certain that Jesus had died.
However, when they met again, after a week had passed,
        the Twin was there when Jesus reappeared, and now at last
he, too, believed.  For Jesus told him, “Put your finger here,
        and see my hands, and touch my side.  Have no more doubt or fear.
Believe!”  Then Thomas answered him and said, “My Lord, my God!”
        The doubter was the first disciple to call Jesus, God!
But Jesus said, “Have you believed because of what you see?
        Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe in me.”
What John reports that Jesus said was needed to convince
        those who have had to answer “Who is Jesus?” ever since.


Monday, April 1, 2013


But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:11, NRSV).


When you’re told something astonishingly new
        and with all your heart you’re wanting to believe it,
if it seems it is just too good to be true,
        you may find yourself unable to receive it.

So you temper your excitement, until you
        can confirm the thrilling news that you are hearing.
The disciples were reacting that way, too,
        to the stories there were told of Christ’s appearing.