Saturday, March 31, 2018

Love


Daily reading: John 18:33-40
Holy Saturday 

Focus passage: “So you are a king?” Pilate said. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.  I was born and come into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth.  Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:37

Jesus began his earthly ministry by announcing “the Kingdom of God is near.”  And now as he stands trial he says “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world.  If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders.  My kingdom isn’t from here.”

This might be the most difficult passage of scripture to get our heads around.  The Kingdom of God isn’t won by violence or coercion, it is won through the unconditional love of God that sustains and supports us no matter what.  

The cross then isn’t an act to appease a vengeful God, but a symptom of a world that solves problems through violence and not through love.

Take time today to contemplate the space between death and resurrection.  Seek for God in the darkness of this day.  

Take time in this final day of Lent, to look back on what you let go of for the season.  Was it meaningful?  What insights did the practice bring to you?  Has it opened you up to see other areas of your life that need work?

Prayer:  God I know that tomorrow will be a day of great celebration, help me to rest in this day as I let go of the things that need to be released so that resurrection can happen. Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Forgiveness


Daily reading: Luke 23:32-38
Good Friday 

Focus passage: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.  Luke 23:34

Sometimes we find it easier to forgive when someone asks for forgiveness, because then we get the acknowledgement that they have wronged us.  But here on the cross Jesus forgives without being asked.  Jesus speaks a word of forgiveness because he embodies God and it is the nature of God to forgive.  Before he can ask for something for himself, or say something to a follower who may be in ear shot, he speaks to God about you and me, he says “Father, forgive them.”

Even on the cross Jesus is ministering to us. Even on the cross after being humiliated, he does not allow the mob violence and his own execution change who he is.  The sins of those killing him do not weigh him down, he is not burdened, or angered, or resentful, he does not yell out to the crowd “hey, I’m innocent! This is wrong.”  He does not allow what others are doing to him change who God has created him to be. Jesus turns to God, his life line, and says “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.”  

Take time to think about who in your life is in need of forgiveness.  What would it feel like to release that person or their actions?  How might holding onto your anger be negatively affecting you?  Pray that God can help you to forgive others and yourself today. 

Prayer:  God walk with me through this week of betrayal, denial, desertion and crucifixion.  In the noise and busy-ness of my day may I remember to stay grounded in your love. Amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Humility



Daily reading: John 13:1-19
Holy Thursday 

Focus passage: So he got up from the table and took off his robes.  Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. John 13:4-5

Christ who taught us to serve one another, begins the evening by   bending down and tenderly cleaning off the dust from the road, washing and drying the feet of those that have been following him.

Christ seeks out, of empowers and supports even the wavering and often wrong disciples.

In the midst of a highly charged evening, when Jesus is sure that one will betray, one will deny and the others will scatter in fear, he still kneels down and washes.  

We are called even in the stress of our days, to follow the example of Christ; to seek out others, to serve one another and to do it with grace and love. 

Be open to these opportunities today.  When tasks pile up, or take over and become more important than others, or when others are disagreeing with you, remember to be faithful.  Remember to seek out moments to serve and show the love and grace of God.

Prayer:  God walk with me through this week of betrayal, denial, desertion and crucifixion.  In the noise and busy-ness of my day may I remember to stay grounded in your love. Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Betrayal


Daily reading: John 13:21-30
Holy Wednesday 

Focus passage: After he said these things, Jesus was deeply disturbed and testified, “I assure you, one of you will betray me.” John 13:21

I am constantly aware of the vulnerability we are called to embrace in our faith community and in our closest relationships.  I find that I expend a lot of energy guarding myself and yet God gently reminds me that our call is to love God and to love our neighbor and that means that we have to be willing to be vulnerable.

A mentor of mind, Rev. Herb Lynskey once posed this thought at a clergy retreat: “Judas was an answer to a prayer.”  He was referring to when Jesus prayed before calling the Twelve.   I struggled with this thought because I like to vilify Judas to put him in his own box.  I like to think that I would never be like him, that I would never betray a close friend. But to box him up so nicely keeps me from seeing a part of me I would rather not see.  We all have the capability of being like Judas.  We all have the capability of being like Jesus also, of welcoming in those who we wonder about.  

Prayer:  God walk with me through this week of betrayal, denial, desertion and crucifixion.  In the noise and busy-ness of my day may I remember to stay grounded in your love. Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Darkness and Light


Daily reading: John 12:20-36
Holy Tuesday 

Focus passage:  Jesus replied, “The light is with you for a little longer.  Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you.  If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.  After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.” John 12:35

So much of holy week happens in the dark.  Jesus shared his last meal with his disciples under the cover of night, took them to the garden to pray in the darkness, was arrested and taken into custody all under the cover of night.  He was then placed into a cell, which was most likely a hole in the ground that he was lowered into, dark and isolated.  According to Luke, darkness descended upon Jerusalem at noon on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.  

As we remember the stories of Jesus’ last day this week, we hear Jesus urge us to walk in the light and not in the darkness.  With the darkness of Thursday and Friday just a few days away, we are invited to walk in the light and become the light.  

Lent is a season of invitation.  To shed that which burdens us and keeps us from a life centered upon God’s goodness, walking confidently in the light.  As post Easter people, our perspective on light and dark changes.  We can say with confidences as the psalmist does “surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night, even darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

Even when darkness descends we are not to allow it to overcome us.  For we proclaim as Paul did that we are convinced “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

As the darkness of this week descends, let your light shine, let the presence of Christ be a witness to our world that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”  

Prayer:  God walk with me through this week of betrayal, denial, desertion and crucifixion.  In the noise and busy-ness of my day may I remember to stay grounded in your love. Amen.

Waiting

Daily reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 Monday December 10, 2018 Focus passage:  Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion!  Raise your voice a...