The funeral is over. The body has been buried or placed in columbarium. The funeral luncheon is over. The food is gone. So are family and friends. Then the sadness and loneliness take hold our hearts – we wonder if it will ever let go. I wonder what the disciples and Mary and Martha and Lazarus (!) and so many others were experiencing on this day? They thought it was over. Their worst fears had come true - the powers of this world…the Prince of Darkness…had won. Jesus, the Son of Man, was dead.
Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
It is Holy Saturday. We wait. We trust.
See you tomorrow morning – 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary.
(Scripture from Psalm 139:7,11-12 and John 1:5)
A SONG FOR THE TOMB
Ages before Jerusalem was founded
I was formed for this day.
God said, shall these sea bones live?
I will sculpt me a tomb: a lime white chamber
fit for a king.
I was ready when they brought him in:
bloody and broken, like a king from his last
battle. Dusk was falling. They hurried, careful.
So careful. They were brittle with pain.
They straightened him (legs, arms, head) in the niche;
stopped my mouth with a rock, and crept away.
We were quiet together.
He slept inside me. I cradled him,
like a child unborn. Outside,
Earth shuddered; the sun failed; stars shot like bolts
Through warring heavens.
I kept him safe.
til he began to stir
like the child whose time has come.
The deep places of creation whispered,
Let there be light!
A mighty spasm shook the stone. I gaped.
He rose For a moment
he stood facing the dawn, then he was gone.
there would be angels, blazing-eyed
and docile, folding linen bandages.
There would be men and women, storms of grieving
But first, as the sun rose,
there was just the light and silence. A cave empty
and a world full of promises fulfilled.
(from The Journey to Jerusalem by John Pritchard, pg. 123)
Today is Good Friday. After a betrayal by a companion, hours of mockery, a brutal beating, and being nailed to a cross, the One we call our Savior and the Son of the Living God, said, “It is finished. Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” Whoever would have believed that God would allow his own son to endure this awful death? Whoever expected the Messiah, the Christ, to “humble himself and become obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.”
How deep and true is God’s love for us. Now we know. Even on our darkest, most painful days of despair and dejection we know that God is right there beside us, suffering with us, just as God suffered with his Son. Today is Good Friday. This present darkness is necessary. Even now, it is leading us toward the light of a new dawn.
Grace and peace,
Please join us in the sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. this evening for our Good Friday worship service.
I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.
When “we breathe our last” – it will not be our last. We will be born again. We will not come to an end of life – we will arrive at a new beginning. We will not die; we will fall asleep and wake up in our new home. We will not be buried in a cemetery – we will be planted in a garden.
I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.
My hope is that you will live in this hope. We do not, we cannot, work for it, be good enough for it, earn it, or deserve it. We merely accept it. Receive it. Rejoice in it. Give thanks for it. This is the new life Christ longs to give us. When we receive it, we are living “in Christ.” We are becoming a new creation.
The good news gets even better. We will not have to endure death before resurrected life begins. “I am the resurrection and the life”, Jesus says, not “I will be the resurrection and the life.” A new heaven has come down to us, we will not go “up there.” Marva Dawn is an inspiring theologian who memorably proclaimed, “We do not go to church – we are the church wherever we go.” We will not go to heaven. We take heaven wherever we go. This is the good news of the gospel.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Can those who "read" your life tell? Go in the power of the resurrection to live as Easter people in a Good Friday world. Trusting that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- always goes with you.
Somehow the gray, dripping clouds are appropriate for Holy Week. We are approaching the darkest day on the Christian calendar. The opposition to Jesus is gaining strength. There is a sense of foreboding hanging in the air. Yet, these words, found in both the Old and New Testaments, describe the nature of God’s servant-savior. When our spirits are down, he will tenderly hold us, God’s Will will be done… Stay awake.
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
The Lord be with you.
(scripture can be found in Isaiah 42:3 & Matthew 12:20)
Holy week, the most important and meaningful week of the year for Christians. It is a week of profound renewal. Let us draw close to Christ this as he fulfills the will of the Father.
On Monday of Holy Week we remember how Jesus was enjoying dinner with his friends, in a home just a few miles away from Calvary, the hill upon which he would be crucified. Mary, sister of his best friend Lazarus, took a pound of costly perfume, anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.* As Jesus walks into the last week of his life, Mary, the only person to minister to Jesus, anoints him…loves him…blesses him… Perhaps we can open our holy week by giving thanks to God for the depth of his love for us and for the whole world...
How precious is your steadfast love, O Lord!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings…
With you is the fountain of life;
in your light, we see light.**
Grace and peace,
(*John 12: 3; **Psalm 36: 7,9)
Good afternoon everyone,
A brief reminder – there is a palm waiting for you at the First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood. Each palm is waiting for someone to pick it up and wave it. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday! The singing and praying and fellowship will echo the joy we find in the one who is riding a donkey. The One we honor tomorrow will ask us the centuries old question – what kind of king has your allegiance?
See tomorrow morning! (Adult Sunday School at 9:45 in the lounge.)
Good bright morning everyone,
As MacTavish and I went on our early morning stroll, I could not keep my eyes lowered. The brilliant blue sky…the shining star that gives us light…the orange glow on the horizon…the gift of another day.
Our Sunday morning adult class is reading a book entitled, The Journey to Jerusalem; Jesus takes the road up to Jerusalem, climbs the Temple Mount, and stands face to face with enemies. I often wonder: when did Jesus know that his time had come? When did he know that the taunts of his accusers would be realized? What kept him going?
What keeps you going when you walk through difficult days, weeks, months? I wonder if these words ever slipped out of his lips during this final, perilous journey. I wonder if these words can be our prayer today. Especially if the day is a difficult one for you.
I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand…
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love! (from Ps. 31: 14-16)
Grace and peace,
Good morning good people,
Repeat after me – “At least we are not in New York.” God bless those citizens, especially the emergency workers, road crews, medical teams on the northeast coast of this land.
But here we are, snow-bound again. Some of us may be feeling trapped. But it is not only the snow that can trap us inside, is it? All of us, at one time or another, are trapped within ourselves. Perhaps it is a difficult and tenacious personal issue that we don’t want to address. Or a troublesome relationship. Or a body that just isn’t behaving as it is supposed to. Or loneliness. What to do?
I recall the story of rescue workers struggling their way through mountains of collapsed buildings after the devastating earthquake in Haiti back in January, 2010. Workers did not give up on one pile of rubble because something beckoned them to continue. An elderly woman, trapped and injured, was singing a song. A hymn of faith. When feeling trapped, perhaps we can sing. It may not solve our problem, but it will heal our hearts and open us to the presence of God. See now, the Lord is the God of my salvation I have trust now and no fear, for Yahweh is my strength, my song, he is my salvation. (Is. 12:2, New Jerusalem Bible)
Hang in there everyone – stay safe, keep warm. Spring will be spring to life again.
Good morning everyone,
My time spent with pray-as-you-go.org inspired this reflection. I hope you find it helpful.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
You are the center, Lord, of my life.
Amid all the preoccupations, all the worries, and hassles, and concerns of my mind right now,
can I focus for a moment on the center of my life?
can I open my heart to God, my guide, my healer, my teacher?
can I stop for a moment and listen to God’s voice?
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
Take a minute or two or three. Lie down. Be still. Be restored. You are worth it. You are loved.
Grace and peace,