Holy Week Mini-Devotions: Easter Sunday

 

 

Read: Psalm 118:1-2, Jeremiah 31:1-6

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”

Listen: Blessed Assurance – Elevation Worship

Readings: John 20:1-18; Matthew 28:1-10; Colossians 3:1-14

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Pray:

Lord,
Today we stand in the Garden of Gethsemane to find it empty.
You are not there.
All that is left is the light of the moon, holding midnight at bay.

Lord,
Today we stand on the Hill of the Skulls to find it still empty.
You are not there.
All that is left is a sunrise, conquering the darkness of the night.

Lord,
Today we stand outside your tomb to find it still empty.
You are not there.
All that is left in it is darkness, conquered by your light.

Lord,
Today we stand in your light. We are no longer empty
because you are here.
You are what’s left. You live forever.

It is finished

it-is-finished_wide_t_nv1

Looking Lectionary: Easter 2A

unnamed

Easter 2A’s reading: John 20:19-31

Easter is many things. Enriching, captivating, solemn, joyous, troublesome, a relief, a challenge. Easter is toil and contemplation and awakening. For church staff and congregants alike it’s the longest week in the Christian calendar, rapid-fire emotional, spiritual and intellectual experiences squeezed into a single week, usually with multiple services throughout. So while Easter is a blessing, it is also utterly exhausting.

Then comes Easter 2A, with Doubting Thomas’ question forming the core of this rapid-fire reading: peace, the Holy Spirit, witness, Messiah. For overwrought Easter nerves, it might feel a bit like an onslaught. Perhaps this is something we share with Jesus’ original disciples: like we want to lock ourselves in a room just to get a moment to absorb it all, to talk it over, to share quietly. Maybe, like Thomas, we want to go missing in action, to try to find a way to come to grips with the events of the past few days: Jesus’ trial, death, and then his apparent resurrection.

It is at this moment that Jesus steps in, steps into our rooms and says, “Peace be with you” before breathing the peace and power of the Holy Spirit onto us.

In the Bible, breath is often associated with God (as Bruce Epperly writes). God breathed the universe into existence. He breathed humanity into life. He breathed life into dry bones. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, and as Jesus breathes her over the disciples, she breathes life back into them. A week before it had been Jesus’ turn; now it was his disciples’ turn!

If you read the text you’ll notice that Thomas apparently misses out on the deliverance of the Holy Spirit – he isn’t in the room when Jesus breathes her out on the others. But then Jesus does something extraordinary: he allows Thomas to physically touch the wounds in his hand and side. This would have put him within breathing distance. So perhaps when Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” it’s not so much the physical evidence that he finds compelling as the life-giving faith of indwelling by the Holy Spirit.

On Easter we get to preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death; on the second Sunday, we get to preach on our own resurrection and continual life through the Holy Spirit. The excitement (trepidation, frustration) of Easter inevitably gives way to this: a peace that transcends all understanding.

Blessings,

Lee

Holy Week Mini-Devotions: Good Friday

Read: Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Listen: Lord Let Your Glory Fall – Rivers and Robots (acoustic); Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross – ZOE Group

Readings: John 18:1-19:42; Hebrews 10:16-25

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”


13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Pray/meditate:

Child, who are you looking for
on the Stone Pavement, Gabbatha?
The promised one?
I tell you, I am he.

Child, who are you looking for
on the road to the cross, the way of blood?
The king of kings?
I tell you, I am he.

Child, who are you looking for
on the Hill of the Skull, Golgotha?
The saviour of the world?
I tell you, I am he.

Child, who are you looking for
in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea?
The risen Son of God?
I tell you, I am he.

I am.

Amen.

Holy Week Mini-Devotions: Maundy Thursday

 

 

Read: Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Listen: The Servant Song

Readings: John 13:1-17, 31b-35; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

Pray/meditate:

Lord,
The water pours like the blood.
It cleanses. It cleans.
It washes away the death-stains of sin.
It restores. It redeems.
The towel comes away white as snow.
We are remembered, but our sins are forgotten.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah,
amen.