Who Do We Trust On this In Between Day?

Today is black Saturday – can you imagine the confusion, the depression and even the anger that the disciples must have felt because Jesus had died.  They had entered Jerusalem a week before with such hope and anticipation.  Their king had come and was about to proclaim himself.  What they did not expect was that he would proclaim himself by dying on the cross.  The shout of the crowd – if you are indeed the Son of God come down and save yourself – must have been their cry too.  And on this Saturday they must have hid themselves away asking Why? Why? Why?  

But as Tom Grosh asks in his Easter Saturday post Who Do We Trust on this In Between Day? or in fact who do we trust on any of those in between days when we have experienced the death of dreams, loved ones, hopes for the future.  That is the time when it is really difficult to believe that not only is God still in control and that what we hoped for will in deed come into being.  

Yesterday I was reading an article about the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies and it struck me how incredible the whole process of resurrection is.  What emerges is totally different from what is crucified.  It is transformed.  And usually what emerges is not only totally different from what has died but it is far more beautiful too – in the same way that the dreams and aspirations of the disciples needed to be transformed.  

Their hopes for an earthly king who would overcome the power and domination of the Roman empire by force had to die but in its place arose a new and far more beautiful dream of a transformed world in which all God’s creation would be made whole through the power of the risen Christ.  

Where is our trust this Easter Saturday? What dreams and hopes have we seen die that God wants to resurrect in a far more beautiful and inspiring form?  Are stuck in the past looking at the tomb or are we living in the hope of God’s resurrection power.  Do we really believe in a God who is able to take the very worst of all that we have done and transform it into something beautiful for his kingdom?

It’s Friday but Sunday’s Comin

I just discovered this powerful video reflection thanks to Sivin Kit

Also check out these posts for the Lenten synchroblog

Ryan Lind’s Short Story for Good Friday

And Bethany Stedman’s Prayers from the Cross 

Maundy Thursday reflections

 

Tibebe Terffa - Ethiopia - used by permission CMU Winnipeg

Tibebe Terffa - Ethiopia - used by permission CMU Winnipeg

Today is Maundy Thursday the last day of Lent and the day on which we remember the Last Supper and particularly Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  I was particularly impressed this morning by Beth Stedman’s reflections here in which she asks

How can I enter into Christ’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” today? How can I commemorate and celebrate and remember the miraculous act of the God of the universe stooping down to wash the feet of dirty and sinful human beings – of stooping down to serve them and to serve me?”

Here is another powerful reflection by Doug Jones here

We all will face our own Gethsemane (if we haven’t already), where our desire and will collides with the clear will of God. When we come to this point we must face that teaching of dying to self, of taking up our cross and following – we can observe this is not mere words – this is Jesus’ example before us in this Holy Week.

And another from Ryan Lind here 

A far-off god would never be so silly as to entrust men with now-clean feet to walk about the world serving bread and wine.  But a God who became a man, who knew these men, even the one who would turn him over, even the one who would cower before a girl in order to deny this God, he might understand the power of liberation.  

Here from Joyce Titular in the Philippines is a very inspiring Stations of the Cross with some challenging and thought provoking questions for us to contemplate.  

My own thoughts this morning revolved around ! Corinthians 11: 28, 29 

Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgement on themselves.  

I had never thought of discerning the body of Christ before as a need to consider God’s worldwide body with whom I share every time I take communion.  How can I fully enter into the Eucharist when some that i share it with are starving, or oppressed or persecuted?  Part of our remembrance this Maundy Thursday is also the giving of the new commandment love one another as I have loved you.  Again I find myself thinking of how far short I have fallen of this commandment.  How else should I be reaching out with the love of God this Easter Season?  

This Lenten synchroblog has inspired some wonderful reflections and ideas.    I want to thank all that have participated so far and look forward to continuing to reflect on our faith throughout the Easter season as well where hopefully we will answer some of the questions about how to be God’s love into our world.  If you have not downloaded the Easter Guide yet it is available here

Fans Watch Followers Walk

Today we have walked with Jesus one step closer to the Cross – not an easy place to be in but one that is necessary if we are truly to become the people that God wants us to be.  My reflections this morning were very much shaped by Kathy Escobar’s new post Fans or Followers  partly I think because I am so frustrated by how many Christians I meet are fans rather than followers and I wonder what does it take to get Christians out of the pews and into the streets?  What does it take to make us followers and not fans?  

My reflections reminded me of this prayer that we have been using as part of our evening prayers at the Mustard Seed House  

Lord we have denied you

Each time we refused to see you in the faces of the hungry and the homeless

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we have betrayed you

Each time we have kept our distance from the anguish of the oppressed and the persecuted

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we have mocked you

Each time we have pretended we do not know how radically you call us to live

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we have crucified you

Each time we have failed to walk the path of Calvary

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we are lost and have strayed

Forgive our sins, redeem our lives and make us new

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Amen

Holy Week and Broken Connections

As we move with Jesus toward the Cross many are reflecting on the deeper significance of this for our lives and our world.  Here are some more great posts for the Lenten synchroblog that you may like to add to your reading list

Tom Grosh has provided us with two reflections this week both on Holy Week 09 and Holy Week Looking toward Easter 

Bob Fisher has also provided us with two reflections this week.  One on Broken Connections The other of Palm Sunday – Missing The Point?

JR Woodward Observing Lent Week Five

I also came across another Stations of the Cross here that I think is worth exploring too.

And don’t forget John Chandler’s Twitter walk though passion week Read more here

Enjoy and if you have any reflections or have come across good Stations of the Cross that you think should be shared more broadly I would love to hear from you.

Last Reflections on Lent

Today is the last Friday of Lent and so our Lenten observances and reflections are drawing to a close.  This week we have been focusing on the brokenness of God’s family and I have received 2 great reflections for us to consider today.

Kathy Escobar: Red and yellow black and white we are precious in his sight

Doug Jones: lenten Reflections (As Lent Ends) 

As well as this I thought that you might be interested in some of the articles from the March MSA Seed Sampler entitled: Welcoming a Majority Future.  Tom’s article: Coming of the Majority Future Ready or Not has generated a lively response.  This issue of how we welcome people of other cultures and faiths within the church is not the most popular issue these days but it is certainly one of the most important ones

Last Week of Lent – A Journey Into the Brokenness of God’s Family

 

Ray Dirk, CMU Chapel painting, Winnipeg Manitoba, Used by permission

Ray Dirk, CMU Chapel painting, Winnipeg Manitoba, Used by permission

 

We are now moving into the last full week of Lent.  Next Sunday is Palm Sunday which begins Holy Week, and though Lent does not officially end until the following Thursday for many of us Holy week has its own specific emphasis.  

First here are JR Woodward’s excellent reflections on the fourth week of Lent and the Brokenness of Creation 

And for those that are following the journey here on my blog here are some thoughts from the fifth week of lent which focuses on the brokenness of God’s family

 

“Americans by and large work together, shop together, and play together, but they do not worship together. If we are at our core spiritual, then the fact that we seem unable and unwilling to relate to one another elbow-to-elbow in the pews of the local congregation reveals how fragile the integrity of the church is.”  (Jin Kim A Pentecostal Vision for the Church)

It has been said that Sunday morning is the most segregated time in our Christian life. We are segregated by race, age, economic class, denominational affiliation, and theological perspectives. We gravitate towards those who think and worship in the same way we do. Often, instead of living together in unity and love, we are separated by prejudice and intolerance.

Yet the golden rule of Christianity, what James calls “the royal law,” is “love your neighbor as you do yourself.” At a recent conference, Pakistani theologian Charles Amjad Ali reminded us that we are all prejudiced. What changes in dialogue with others is the focus of our prejudice. He then challenged us to consider, “Can we be prejudiced towards justice, equality, and respect, or do we always live primarily with the prejudices of exclusion?”

God is much bigger than our culturally bound viewpoint. All people are created in God’s image and worthy of being treated with respect and understanding. I do not believe that we will fully understand who God is or appreciate the incredible sacrifice of Christ on the Cross until we learn to see these events through the eyes of others who come from very different viewpoints than our own. And in the process together with our sisters and brothers from all over the world, we too will find the healing and wholeness that we so desperately need.