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Category Archives: Holy Week

The Burial of Jesus

40There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. 42When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid. (Mark 15:40-47, NRSV)

Joseph was a respected member of the Jewish High Council and yet was there to offer his grave and to help take the body of Jesus off the cross. This would mean that he would not be able to participate in Sabbath rituals for having been in contact with a dead body. But yet he did it. He did it knowing it went against what most on the council thought. We do not know why he did it, but he did.

Would you have done it?

Risk your place in society?

Do something for someone who can no longer do anything for you?

Would you risk your life for Jesus?

Jesus came to show us how God had intended for us to live. He came showing love to all and forgiveness and He was killed for it. Do you stand with Jesus?

Are you ready to lay Him in the tomb?

 

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The Death of Jesus

16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. 25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. 33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:16-39, NRSV)

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani. This seems a weird thing for Jesus to say from the cross. Why would Jesus cry out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Well, it could be because Jesus feels like God is nowhere near Him and He has been forsaken or left by God. Saint Teresa felt this in her life and often commented on it as the dark night of her soul. Is that it?

I don’t think that is why Jesus says this. If you know your Hebrew Scripture, you would know that My God, My God, why have you forsaken me is the first verse to Psalm 22. And in my understanding in Jesus’ time when a person wanted to pray a psalm they only needed to say the first verse to call all of at that psalm to cover them.  And Psalm 22 starts out dark and like the writer had been left by God, but then becomes light and talks of God’s ruling over the world.

27  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,   and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28  For kingship belongs to the LORD,   and he rules over the nations.
29    All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;   before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,   even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30  Posterity shall serve him;   it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.

They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it!!! Jesus died to complete something that none of us could have done. And it is something we will not understand until it doesn’t matter.

But know that God never left Jesus and God will never leave you.

 

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Prayer in Gethsemane

32They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42, NRSV)

Have you ever fallen asleep while praying? I have. I have been in such a state of sheer peace that my ramblings to God became snores of praise. And while Jesus was not happy with Peter here, I would think that God would be moved to cradle us in arms of love when that happens.

I have also been intently in pray and would not be able to sleep, for the adrenaline was flowing through the power of the connection with God and others I was praying with and for,

Prayer is a communication with God and there is no right or wrong way to do, the only thing that God asks is that we do it.

Be in prayer. Communicate with God.

 

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Virtual Easter Vigil

This has been an interesting year. I resigned from my call at the end of November 2019 and started looking for a new place that God had in store for me. God had a super cool adventure in mind as God placed me at the ELCA Campus Ministry of the Brazos Valley. And I still have to look that up every time I have to type it or say it. I know this ministry as Treehouse Ministries. It is the ELCA campus ministry to Texas A&M and Blinn College. And I have truly been blessed since arriving here on March 1. And just about that same time, we were hit with COVID-19. And took everything from in-person to online. And this being Holy Week, we need to have a vigil.

Well, some of my friends have created an online streamed Easter Vigil. It starts at 6 pm EST on April 9 and goes until 12 am EST on April 12. I will be on this live stream at 6 pm EST on April 10.

I am also taking part in The Triduum Role Playing Game which is happening at 8 am EST 4/10, 1 am EST 4/11 and 5 am EST 4/11.

Below are the graphics of the schedule and the link for the whole event is thetriduumproject.com

 

 

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The Last Supper

22While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” 30Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same. (Mark 14:22-31, NRSV)

Even though I must die I will not deny you.

How many times each day do we deny Christ?

Maybe not in our words, but in our actions?

And how many of us are just like Peter? Vehement that we will die for Jesus, but when the time comes we don’t?

Jesus just gave the disciples the meal we celebrate weekly, well we used to celebrate weekly, and some of us still are, while others are waiting to be together again. But aren’t we all together in this? We are all a part of the body of Christ and therefore connected to God and to each other. We are in this together, and we are always together.

Know that even when we deny Christ that Christ is always with us.

 

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Passover Preparations

10Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. 12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. 17When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” 20He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 21For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” (Mark 14:10-21, NRSV)

Judas went to the chief priests to “betray” Jesus.

Betray is a word that is interesting to me. We can only betray someone if we have power over them, and did Judas have power over Jesus?

Do any of us have power over God?

While Jesus may not have had all the answers, i.e. when the end of the world would come, Jesus said only the Father knows this, he was not under the power of Judas. Jesus knew what was going on and who was going to “betray” him.

I looked up the Greek word here, and it is the word παραδοῖ the third person singular aorist active subjunctive version of παραδίδωμι which means hand over, deliver over.

So Judas made plans to hand Jesus over, which was really all part of the plan.

How do we do what God wants even when we may not understand it?

 

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Open Your Hand to the Poor

7If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. 8You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. 9Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. 10Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11, NRSV)

If we have something and someone is in need of that we need to give to them. We should not withhold because it is about the time to forgive debts, or because we think they can not payback. We were given when we needed and we have been blessed and so we should be a blessing for others.

It is not our place to judge another heart or position but to love as God has loved us. When we did not deserve it.

Therefore freely give as you have been freely given.

 

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Triumphal Entry

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.  (Mark 11:1-11, NRSV)

These passages are great because every year it reminds me that there is only every one thing in all of scripture that Jesus says that he needs. And it is a donkey. And it isn’t even his. In a way, it is stolen. The disciples do not ask if they can untie it, and Jesus only tells if someone tries to stop you then tell them I need it. But all Jesus ever needs is a donkey.

Which always reminds me to think about what it is that I need.

What do we want versus what we need? Most of us reading this have way more than we need.

But I bet if we were honest we would all say that there is a lot we need. But is that want?

What do you really need?

 

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The Risen Jesus

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10, NRSV)

The first witnesses of the resurrection were women! Without women, we would not know of the resurrection!

The angel told the woman to see where Jesus had been and told them that he has risen as he had told everyone would happen. Now go and tell the disciples.

But who would believe the women? Jesus knew the disciples would meet him as he told them. But where does Jesus tell the disciples to meet him? The angel tells the women that he is going ahead of them to Galilee and he will see them there, and Jesus tells the women the same thing, but the disciples meet him on the mountain that he had directed them to, and where did this happen. And I’ve never been to Galilee so I’m not sure how big it is, but even telling someone go to Little Suamico and I’ll see you there, they would be like where in Little Suamico, while most people would be, where is Little Suamico?

But Jesus rose from the dead, the grave could not hold him. He met with the women, then he met with the disciples and he sends us all into the world to live as he did and to share his love. Believe it and it will change your life!

 

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Crying out to God

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
9Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
12Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;
17I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;
18they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.
19But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
21Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
25From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
29To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
31and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.
(Psalm 22:1-11, NRSV)

Here we see the writer crying out to be saved and at first, it seems like God is not going to be there, he is mocked and seemingly left to die…

Yet read it again and see that God never left and through God there is victory!

 

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