Even Resurrection Pauses For Sabbath Rest

Photo by Monette Chilson

Photo by Monette Chilson

It is Holy Saturday, that day between death and resurrection when most of us pause to draw breath. What did not occur to me until I read these words Even resurrection pauses for Sabbath rest, in the Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten guide this morning, that today, for the Jews is indeed the sabbath day. This full day of Jesus time in the grave is the day into which all their hope and longing for the future is poured. A day to look forward with anticipation to the day when God does indeed make all things news.

The last words that Jesus cried before his death are It is finished. The work that God has sent me to do is done. It is indeed time to pause for rest, but what is God’s sabbath rest all about? Sabbath rest is not a rest of exhaustion, a pause before we get going with the next busy thing. Sabbath rest is a rest of fulfillment, of satisfaction for a job well done and as I sit here this morning I can well imagine God resting in the satisfaction of the amazing job that Jesus had just completed.

For the Jews Sabbath also carries with it a sense of longing and promise. It is the culmination of their week, that day on which they hoped to glimpse God’s eternal world and on this Sabbath rest 2,000 years ago they did glimpse it, though they did not know it. As Jesus entered Hades and released those who had died, the first signs of God’s resurrection world emerged in expectation of the fullness of God coming into the world on Easter morning.

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Songs by Steve Bell for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Rainbow tree - posted by Micha Jazz

Song writer and musician Steve Bell has several beautiful posts for this holy weekend that I thought you might like to be aware of

This one for Good Friday features the song Gone is the Light

 

Gone is the Light  
Music and lyric by Gord Johnson
appears on Steve Bell’s Devotion album (see below)

Into the darkness we must go
Gone, gone is the light
Into the darkness we must go
Gone, gone is the light

Jesus remember me
When you enter your Kingdom
Jesus remember me
When your kingdom comes

Father forgive them
They know not what they do
Father forgive them
They know not what they do

Into the darkness we must go
Gone, gone is the light
Into the darkness we must go
Gone gone is the light

And this one for Easter Sunday features another beautiful song Was It a Morning Like This. 

Was it a Morning Like This | Jim Croegaert

Was it a morning like this
When the sun still hid from Jerusalem
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead

Was it a morning like this
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem
And two angels stood at the tomb
Bearers of news she would hear soon

chorus:
Did the grass sing
Did the earth rejoice to feel you again
Over and over like a trumpet underground
Did the earth seem to pound He is risen!
Over and over like in a never ending round
He is risen! Alleluia!

Was it a morning like this
When Peter and John ran from Jerusalem
And as they raced for the tomb
Beneath their feet was there a tune

A Prayer for Easter Sunday 2013

Easter Sunday pryaer 2013.003

A Prayer for Good Friday 2013

Good Friday prayer 2013.002

A Prayer for Holy Week and Good Friday 2013

I posted this prayer on the Light for the Journey Facebook page this morning. Its popularity convinced me to add a photo and post it here as well. Enjoy

Holy week prayer 2013.001

 

Praying the Hours Through Holy Week by Susan Forshey

Susan Forshey just sent me this beautiful reflection with a link to the Booklet of prayers for which is a simple liturgy of the hours for Holy Week that she has produced. Enjoy and thanks Susan for sharing this with us.

A Prayer Booklet for Holy Week

With Palm Sunday, we enter into the Passion week, a Holy Week, remembering the Lord’s final days and building in anticipation toward the Resurrection.

For the world, this is much like any other week, and paradoxically, for ministers and others working in Christian contexts, it can be a week with little time for prayer and reflection.

To counter-act what feels like a break-neck race to Easter, I long to pause and rest in ‘unforced rhythms of grace’; to walk with Jesus through these days and let his Spirit transform my DNA; to practice a new way of thinking by remembering my small story in the midst The Story; to be patient on the hard days before the Glory, even as I learn to be patient in the whole of an often Holy Saturday life.

We live in death. We see it all around.

We live in-between. We are residents of  the Now but Not yet of the coming Kingdom. We live in that moment of baptism, under the water, the moment between death and resurrection.

Yet we also live resurrected in promise and hope, taking in that wonderful first gasp of earthly air as we rise from the baptismal water. One day we will take in that full sweet heavenly breath as we rise with Jesus.

I’m a rushing wind through life right now, a whirlwind of activity blowing through, a Tasmanian Devil of the old cartoons, and I’m not remembering to breathe earth’s air, and even less of heaven.

Last night at 3am, I woke to blessed silence and lit a candle and made some tea and journalled the Spirit’s prayer in me: Your life is wonderful–two awesome jobs and a wonderful community–but it is not sustainable. Pray and reflect, but use your night hours to sleep and learn to pause during the day. 

Let Me be the wind and you breathe Me.

I’ve read enough books on prayer and gotten myself into this kind of pickle too many times to know that pausing in the midst of being a one-woman tornado of activity is easier said than done.

But I also know that our rich prayer tradition offers centuries of helps for just such a situation.

One way to pause, to mark the days and hours of Holy Week, or any week, is to join with the wider Church in the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours. For centuries, the Office was the prayer of  Benedictine monks and sisters, but then the Office moved into the lives of laypeople.

This week I will take a couple moments to pause and pray the Hours. Would you join me?

Here is a simple Liturgy of the Hours  for Morning, Noon, and Compline prayer, starting with Palm Sunday evening.  It offers a pattern based on the full Liturgy of the Hours, some simple chants, and scripture passages from The Message translation of the Bible.

I invite you to mark this week with me as different from the world’s calendar, to enter into the Now, but Not Yet, to pause and rest, and breathe in the wind of the Spirit as we are caught up in our Savior’s story.

***

If you want to print the PDF, select the file and choose booklet settings on your printer. It should print two pages horizontally on  8.5 x 11 paper in the proper order so you can fold and staple it. Or enjoy it as a digital prayer book on your phone or tablet.

Resources for Holy Week 2013 – Maundy Thursday

This is the fourth in a series of posts on resources for Holy Week.

You might also like to check out the previous posts:

Resources for Holy Week #1: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Prayer 2013

Resources for Holy Week #2: Stations of the Cross

Washing the Feet - Jan Hynes - Used by permission

Washing the Feet – Jan Hynes – Used by permission

Today I am focusing on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus’ last Supper with the disciples and the institution of the Eucharist. Its name of “Maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “command.”This stems from Christ’s words in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you. Love one another as I have loved you”. Many of us associate it with foot washing:

 a rite performed by Christ upon his disciples to prepare them for the priesthood and the marriage banquet they will offer, and which is rooted in the Old Testament practice of foot-washing in preparation for the marital embrace (II Kings 11:8-11, Canticles 5:3) and in the ritual ablutions performed by the High Priest of the Old Covenant (contrast Leviticus 16:23-24 with John 13:3-5). The priest girds himself with a cloth and washes the feet of 12 men he’s chosen to represent the Apostles for the ceremony. Read more

It is the oldest of the observances peculiar to Holy Week but seems to have attracted the least attention and I must confess creative suggestions were hard to come by. 

Foot washing has taken on new significance for me this year as I read two posts that have been contributed to my blog. Some of you might like to revisit these too.

The Dirty Job of Special Needs Parenting by Barbara Dittrich

Living Into the banquet Feast of God

Maundy Thursday reflections – this post includes a link to a this  great Maundy Thursday reflection by Beth Stedman.

I have adapted other customs of Maundy Thursday here that you may like to consider for your own observances:

  1. Visit 3 or 7 local churches or other places of worship after (or before) your own service.
  2. In Germany, Maundy Thursday is known as “Green Thursday” (Grundonnerstag), and the traditional foods are green vegetables and green salad, especially a spinach salad. Consider planning a vegetarian Last Supper banquet for your celebrations and highlight the environmental issues you are concerned about.
  3. Visit a local homeless camp or home for the elderly (make sure you get permission first) and do foot washing and pedicures for the inhabitants.
  4. This is the traditional night for an all night vigil of prayer and meditation. Give yours a new twist by holding an all night reading of Dante’s Inferno as St Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church has done for the last 5 years.
  5. This is a day to reach out and help someone in a special way: consider looking after a child so that the mother could have a free evening, undertaking some mending or darning, humble, unostentatious things like that.
  6. In Mark Pierson’s Lenten devotional he comments: Jesus, a king who acted like a slave. Perhaps on Maundy Thursday you would like to consider a special way to reach out to those who are still in slavery. 
  7. One symbol of Easter I grew up with that is not so common in the U.S. is hot crossed buns wich some think originated from a 12th-century English monk who placed the sign of the cross on the buns in honor of Good Friday. So if you want to have your hot crossed buns ready for Good Friday make them on Maundy Thursday, together with your family or community. Here is the recipe I use

For those celebrating with kids I rather liked this Fill Your Seder Plate game

So consider including this day in your Holy Week celebrations and if you do something creative let me know.