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Well, praise the Lord in highest heaven, He is Risen!
I hope you and your loved ones and church communities are enjoying a splendid Easter, with lots of love, light, and lilting music. Even if you think you have a tin ear and a leaden tongue, please join in the singing – we are called to “make a joyful noise” unto the Lord, and if that’s what you do, well, you are indeed blessed!
Way beyond Christmas, Easter has long been my favorite Holy Day. The mystery (no one saw Him rise, but He did!) and the majesty (an empty tomb, angels, the women first seeing it all and witnessing) – what a terrific way to revisit the elements of faith that make suffering with heavy challenges easier, even blessings.
May you be filled with Easter Hallelujahs now, tomorrow, and all into the rest of the year!
In Easter joy,
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Many times during Holy Week, I think about the way and the weight of the cross that Jesus bore to Calvary. Not only was it a monstrous thing – heavy and cumbersome. But Our Lord had been beaten, scourged, starved, and was being forced to carry it despite his physical state. The weight of the cross was compounded by our Lord’s increasing physical fragility. And as for the way of the cross, well, there was no easy path, no downhill slide. Just a labored, agonizing plod uphill punctuated by horrible falls.
Our illnesses serve as crosses, too, and our journeys with them are, as we too-well know, not easy, either. Yet, this week makes carrying my burden, my cross, more meaningful to me, because I am reminded vividly again of how much Jesus suffered for me – and for you – in these last days of his life on earth. Knowing how much he loved me – and you – makes complaining seem trivial and anger toward suffering completely childish.
In fact, my burden, my cross, becomes easier to bear as I approach Easter, although the symptoms and ongoing troubles persist.
I hope you may find your burden eased by what we focus on this Holy Week, too. And I hope for myself – and for you – that I do not forget the significance of these days as Easter dawns and the days and months move ahead.
Blessings for the day,
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Passover and Holy Week’s commemoration of the Last Supper make me think about how we prepare meals today, and how different it was in Jesus’ time.
For one thing, the obvious: There were no drive-thrus or microwaves in Jesus’ day, and the need for a room, even an upper one, has been supplanted by “grab and go,” and the occasional “my car is my dining room table.” And as for sharing a meal, well, in many families, this boils down (please pardon the pun) to labeling individual portions and placing them in the refrigerator, or hastily-made plans that are then carried out with one or more parties raptly focused on cell phone or tablet.
Yes, much of our ritual at mealtime is fading, or gone completely. But it need not be so.
Even in Jesus’ day, there were times when meals were merely times to replenish energy stores. But there were also times, such as those at Passover, when gathering, sharing, and honoring the time at a meal were extremely important, indeed crucial, to the fabric of the community at large and family, however extended.
This week is a wonderful time to remember the underlying importance of sharing a meal with people close to us and tying that activity together with giving thanks for the One who provides the food and time, and for each other and the support, encouragement and love that also nourishes us, no matter how frantic the rest of our days and meals might be.
Blessings for the day,
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Lord, you are all great, all good, and I love you.
But I am feeling pulled by cares, noise, and the ways of a worldly world.
This week, of all times, please help me to center my thoughts and my heart in You.
Bring me the quiet I need to hear your voice.
Bring me the strength I need to exercise restraint so that I do not fill my time with idle activities.
Help me to be open to Your Word like never before,
And let this Holy Week be one of great renewal and growth.
So that I may be more fully prepared to celebrate a truly joyful Easter.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.