Op-Ed piece from Mark Giuliano: Love the Sin, Hate the Sin Tax, published in yesterday’s (Sunday April 20, 2014) Plain Dealer and today’s (Monday April 21, 2014) Cleveland .com.

Sin tax

“The meaning of Easter slips easily from our grasp. At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child. No problem, there! Who can’t get behind a birthday celebration? But at Easter we have to accept that almost two thousand years ago a dead man was raised from the dead. That takes a lot of theological acrobatics to comprehend. As a young person, I spent many summers and other holidays at my grandparent’s funeral home. As a pastor, I’ve been burying the dead for two and a half decades; I’ve never seen anyone sit up in their casket and say, ‘Hi everybody! I’m back!’ But maybe Easter isn’t supposed to be grasped, at least not the way we get hold of a math problem or solve a puzzle. Maybe Easter is just the way God wants us to live, trusting that there is something much bigger and much better beyond the end of our temporal noses. After all, when you live as if Easter is real, even if you are just faking it – working for justice, making peace instead of war, sharing out your abundance, believing that there is a future brighter than the darkness of the present, even if the present includes death, that’s when the staggering truth of Easter starts to sink-in: in God we are abundantly and eternally free!”

- R. Mark Giuliano, The Old Stone Church

 

He is risen, indeed!

“The Christian religion asks us to put our trust not in ideas, and certainly not in ideologies, but in a God Who was vulnerable enough to become human and die, and Who desires to be present to us in our ordinary circumstances.”

― Kathleen Norris

A powerful Good Friday Message of honesty and hope from Rev. Dr. R. Mark Giuliano of the Old Stone Church (First Presbyterian Church, Cleveland) in Downtown Cleveland, followed by a haunting solo of “Were You There” and the Offering of Nails. God bless you all this dark Friday.

Are You Dangerous?

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Even as people of faith, we are dangerous and destructive. Let us never forget that some of the same people who waved palms and shouted ‘Hosanna in the highest’ as Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem were also in the crowd at the Praetorium a week later shouting, ‘Crucify him.’ Good Friday is a day of stark contrast: our propensity toward sin, on the one hand, and God’s propensity toward mercy, on the other. In the end, we must learn to live each day honestly and confessionally about our thoughts and actions, but also freely and joyfully as forgiven beings in God’s grace, not because we earn it, but because God gives it.

- R. Mark Giuliano, The Old Stone Church

“In the first palm procession, Jesus was propelled by a vision, not of what was but of what would be. He was compelled not by lustful imaginings for worldly power but by the conviction of a certain faith which would ultimately lead to victory over death. He saw down the road past the parade, the palm waving party, beyond Maundy Thursday’s holy supper, even beyond the trial he would soon face and the cross on which he would hang one short week later. Jesus looked just outside the present and toward the truth of the eternal.”

- R. Mark Giuliano, The Old Stone Church

“As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent?  Our indifference, our hardness of heart.  What are we to believe?  Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.”

- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta