Saturday, April 11, 2009

For Holy Saturday

Consider the readings in Cheryl Lawrie's When Hope Goes to Hell.

And consider this prayer quoted from Jesus Creed blog (Scot McKnight):
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer for Saturday, April 11

Day 40 : The ‘in between’ day

Scripture for reflection: Luke 23:50-56

Prayer: God of all,
I wonder if we jump too quickly from the cross to the resurrection? Do we forget
the Saturday of grief and confusion? Today I pray for all those who grieve. I pray for
all those who cannot see any end to their pain and grief. And I pray for those who
are struggling to hope for something better around the corner. May they all, may
we all, know your undying love for us. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Prayer for Friday, April 10

Day 39 : Good Friday

Scripture for reflection: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Some time in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look

on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it
or bought it or even needed it for yourself. For that look on his face, for your
hands meeting his across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot,
or suffer a lot, or die a little, even. --Daniel Berrigan

Reflection – Good Friday
God is dead!!
The sky darkens –
Lightning strikes –
The earth trembles –
The curtain is torn –
Graves open –
Hearts break –
God weeps.
But be at peace,
Sunday is coming.

Prayer: God of transformation,
Through the crucifixion of Jesus, you transformed the cross. You took a symbol of
coercion and destructive power and changed it into a symbol of love and grace. I pray
for such transformation in my life and in the lives of all throughout the world. Amen.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

This beautiful image is of Christ washing the disciples' feet during The Last Supper episode of his life, which took place on Thursday of Holy Week. Thanks to the Faith and Leadership blog for sharing this image with us.

Easter Sunday April 12, 2009

Well, Holy Week is here again. It's almost Easter again. This is a mixed bag for me. Working at a church, that means MUCH more work. There's the traditional Good Friday Hike with the youth and the Sunrise Service. So, Easter is a LLLOOOONNNNNGGGG day. Sort of like Christmas Eve. Hmmm. I think I see a pattern here.

By the way, check this post at Palabras de Deb. The photos are beautiful, but the story is also pretty interesting. The plants were planted almost 15 years ago and the yard has been neglected. Yet the flowers come up in the spring. Does this tell us something about the inevitability of resurrection?

This image from the stations of the cross is awesome. It is from Cheryl Lawrie's blog.

Christine Sine makes some thought-provoking comments about NT Wright's thoughts on the resurrection:

In his recent book
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, NT Wright asserts that Christianity’s most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. After his resurrection, Jesus was a flesh and blood person and Wright contends that we will be too. He further argues that if we truly believe this than it will impact the way we live our lives now. If God intends to renew all of creation and all of life in order to bring a new kingdom of love and wholeness into being - a process already begun in the resurrection of Jesus - then our responsibility as Christians is to anticipate this renewal by working for hope and healing in today’s world. So how can we learn to live as wide-awake people, as Easter people?… In particular if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up…. If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume and in due course bearing fruit” (Surprised by Hope p293)

The good news of the gospel is that we don’t need to wait to see this new world of God’s wholeness and love come into being. As NT Wright asserts, the point that all the gospels make is that : Jesus is risen, therefore God’s new world has begun. Jesus is risen, therefore Israel and the world have been redeemed. Jesus is risen, therefore his followers have a new job to do. And what is that new job? To bring the life of heaven to birth in actual, physical earthly reality.”

Christine also gives a good post explaining how Jesus spent 3 days in the tomb, when the crucifixion was on Friday, and the resurrection on Sunday. Check it out.

Easter worship at The Refuge will feature great music and what I think will be a meaningful message and meditation time. Join us at 9:30 or 11:00. The worship bulletin is here.

Cornerstone music from last Sunday (April 5, Palm/Passion Sunday) is here.

Prayer for Thursday, April 9

Day 38: Maundy Thursday : the arrest −

Scripture for reflection: John 18:1-14

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ,
Thank you for bending your will and submitting to arrest in the Garden of
Gethsemane. You could have chosen to walk away but you didn’t. I offer my
thanks and praise for your willing and obedient sacrifice for the sake of all of
creation. Holy Spirit, be present in power in my life so that I too might be willing
to love the world that much. Amen.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Prayer for Wednesday, April 8

Day 37 : Prayer for the people of Mwandi, Zambia

Scripture for reflection: Psalm 139:13-18

Prayer: The warm love of people who care is one of your most precious gifts, great
God. In fragile years, when we are just beginning, that love forms us. We pray
for children where disease has taken the ones to whom they looked for love,
in whose cradling arms they were cherished, from whose eyes they learned to
smile. We are sad because that gap will never fill. Bring among them people
who value them, people who listen, attend and love. We remember the maturing
of your Son, and we ask you to provide support for young people to grow in
wisdom and stature, spirit and grace. We pray for the end of HIV/AIDS, the
knowledge to end it and care and thoughtfulness that honours those who live
with it. Where care reverts to grandmothers or grandfathers, uncles or aunts,
sisters or brothers, or others in the village, sustain them. You number every hair.
You notice every falling sparrow. So we ask again, notice those who fall or who
are in danger of falling. Make us and your church part of your noticing. Through
Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Prayer for Tuesday, April 7

Day 36 : A battle between kingdoms

Scripture for reflection: Matthew 27:11-26

Prayer: God of forgiveness,
There are times in my life where I have the chance to choose Christ over the
‘Pilates’ of this world. Just as Jesus had the opportunity to bow to Caesar’s
representative, so I am tempted to bow to the ‘emperors’ of materialism. Forgive
me, holy God, for the times when I have failed to stand the test. Empower me to
stand fast in the future in the face of such temptation. Amen.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Prayer for Monday, April 6

Day 35 : Eyes to see and ears to hear

Scripture for reflection: Matthew 13:1-15

Prayer: God of Light,
By faith I have hope that your Kingdom will win the day. I believe that it is breaking
into this world all the time. Give me the eyes to see the signs of it. Give me the
ears to hear its sound. I want to rejoice in it and lift my voice in songs of praise.
May it break into my heart. I pray for the inner warmth of your Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Prayer for Sunday, April 5

6th Sunday : Palm Sunday - Who is this Jesus?

Scripture for reflection: Mark 15:1-39

Reflection – Announcing the Kingdom.
The King approaches –
Not on a stallion but on a donkey.
Not with battle cry but with tears.
So is announced the upside down kingdom,
the feast of fools, the banquet of the outcasts.
Let us not replace the crown of thorns with a wreath of empire.
Let us not replace the cross with a bejewelled throne.
The land of milk and honey will come.
It will be all-encompassing rather than oasis.
The wilderness will be flooded out by springs of living water.
Streams in the desert will blossom flowers that for too long
have been bent over in the withering glare of drought.
Hearts broken by shame and grief will beat healthily again,
and a smile will creep across the tear-stained face of the outcast.
Guns and mortars will be smelted into the tools of the garden.
Funeral dirge will turn to praise
and the bent and downtrodden will find themselves dancing.
Maranatha! – ‘Come O Lord’
May we speed the day.

Prayer for the Lent Event project : Zambia

Scripture for reflection: Matthew 9:35-38

The church must participate with energy and commitment in Africa’s
reconstruction and development. . . faithful to continuing the mission
of Christ, the church must also continue to raise the collective public
conscience about the ethical choices that lie at the heart of the current global
financial, trade and political systems.
--South African Council of Churches

Prayer: Even a cup of water offered in your name honours you, loving God. Even a
widow’s tiny gift, humbly given, receives your praise. Even a prayer privately
offered is upheld by you. We confess that in the face of overwhelming need, our
responses seem so miserly, so useless, so inadequate. Touch our spirits, we pray,
that the little we offer may reflect your generosity and be helpful for people. You
lavish your world with love. Trouble us with its unequal distribution. Some have too
much food while many die of hunger and thirst. Some have rooms to spare while
many shiver in the cold. Some have power and many have no voice. Overturn
this world. Establish your rule. And as we look to your coming in fullness, may
the deep bowels of our being be stirred with your compassion. When we grab
breakfast, catch lunch or dine out for dinner, connect us with those who lunch in
Mwandi in Zambia, for whom a simple meal means salvation. Bless those who
offer cups of water there, and those who fetch the water, those who provide
meals every day, and those who eat them. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.