Lent & Holy Week 2014 – Links and Resources

March 7, 2014

UPDATED April 14, 2014:  (This post will remain at the top of the blog throughout Lent & Holy Week. Look below for new entries.)

lentSince we’ve got hundreds of Lent and Holy Week entries in our archives – prayers, quotes, devotionals, resources, and much more,  I wanted to highlight some links for our readers to make it easy to find various types of Lent and Holy Week posts more easily.

ALL Holy Week Entries

Recent Compilations or Featured Posts:

Other Featured Entries / Category links:

***

ALL LENT ENTRIES (Holy Week entries are also linked in the Lent categories)

Lent Devotionals , Lent – Family & Children’s activities , Lent Prayers , Lent Quotes , Lent Resources,

Read the rest of this entry »


Lent 2014 – Updated and New Links

March 2, 2014

(This post will remain at the top of the blog during Lent.  Look below for new entries.)

Below are some updated links to great Lent Resources for 2014 from around the web – these include favorite sites I’ve linked before as well as brand new links and resources.

Sites with Daily Readings / Devotionals / Prayers:

Read the rest of this entry »


Mark 11:15-18, John 13:34-35, and Isaiah 50:4-5a

April 16, 2014

So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And he would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then he taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ “ (Mark 11:15-17)
      Holy Spirit, restore a life of prayer to every parish in this diocese.

      Jesus, come and cleanse our parishes of anything that corrupts them; and cleanse the temples that are our bodies of any corrupting influences.

      Father, we want to be obedient to your word: make your house a house of prayer that attracts people of every nation, language, and culture. Thank you.

And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy him; for they feared him, because all the people were astonished at his teaching. When evening had come, he went out of the city. (Mark 11:18 )
      Lord Jesus, we stand in the gap with you against all the chief priests of the Episcopal Church who seek to destroy your work. (See Ezekiel 22:30)

A word received: I hold you in the palm of my hand.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
      Jesus, please help us to be true disciples of yours and love one another with your love.

By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
      Holy Spirit, help our love for one another shine forth as a beacon light that points to Jesus.

The LORD has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciples. (Isaiah 50:4-5a)

A word received: Ask me for a disciple’s tongue so that you will know how to reply to the weary.

Holy Communion
Wednesday in Holy Week: 69:7-15,22-23; Isaiah 50:4-9a; Hebrews 9:11-15,24-28; John 13:21-35 or Matthew 26:1-5,14-25
Maundy Thursday: 78:14-20,23-25; Exodus 12:1-14a 1 Corinthians 11:23-26(27-32) John 13:1-15 or Luke 22:14-30
Morning Prayer
Wednesday: 55 * 74; Lam. 2:1-9: 2 Cor. 1:23-2:11: Mark 12:1-11
Maundy Thursday: 102 * 142, 143; Lam. 2:10-18: 1 Cor. 10:14-17; 11:27-32: Mark 14:12-25

      Notes from the Front Lines

***** A report by Bp. Grant and Dr. Wendy LeMarquand from the Horn of Africa.
Refugees Arrive…

Akula: a forest of tiny ‘pup-tent’-like dwellings fronted by cooking fires and filled with children. The tiny faces peeking out to stare at the “Kawaja” (white folks) walking by, break into sudden and delighted smiles as we greet them. Dozens of little hands try to hold mine as we wind our way to the ‘church’ – a large tree around which 3,000 Christians from many denominations are gathered. The new refugee camp of Akula, now one month old, is already sheltering 33,000 with more arriving daily.

Glimpses of the stories of those who have fled here for shelter were seen in the prayer requests.
“My sister died on the way. Her children were suffering from dehydration so they were brought here for medical care without being registered. Now they are with me, but they are not registered, so I cannot get food ration cards for them. Pray that I can get rations to feed them”
“My husband Jacob has been missing since December 15th. I can get no news. I pray to know if he is alive or dead.”
“Not all of us are here. Our beloved elders…”

A few stand up to share their reflections.
“We should not be surprised at the calamity which has fallen upon us. It says in the Bible that these things can happen. But be encouraged, for nothing, not even this, can separate us from the love of God.”

“It was quarreling that brought us here. We must forsake quarreling.”
Sadly, poignantly, many tried to make sense of overwhelming evil: “It was our greed. It was our idolatry”

The congregation breaks out in song.
“Let us greet one another, and when Jesus comes, we will all love one another.”
“Let us kneel together before our Jesus”

Grant is invited to preach: “Jesus hates suffering and death. He wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus. A couple of weeks later, he gave himself to die on the cross and to rise again, defeating suffering and death. Because Jesus rose from the dead we know that one day there will be no death, there will be no suffering – God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. And on that day people from every tribe will be together around the throne – white people and Chinese and Arab and Nuer and Anuak and Dinka and Murle – so we should get used to being together now!”

Snap shots of life in the Horn of Africa:
Gambella
February: We had a wonderful time with a team of engineers and architects who came to help design new structures for the Gambella Centre so we can accommodate a new theological college in next year.
March: The rain is coming soon – we worked hard to organize the construction of as many new, simple church buildings as possible before the rains come in April – 30 new churches under construction. It seems that we now have about 80 Anglican congregations in this part of the world.

Addis
March: While Wendy was in Canada visiting her father, Grant preached and led worship at St Matthew’s, our English congregation; collected large piles of used clothes for refugees in Gambella; met with house group leaders from a non-Ethiopian part of our Episcopal Area (a country about which I can’t say too much); arranged for our Opo priest (David Onuk) to attend a one month course on Bible translation (David and two others have now finished translating the Gospel of Mark into Opo, the first book of scripture in their language)

Mekele
March: Grant spent three days doing Bible teaching and leading worship with a congregation made up of students (some Ethiopian, some from other countries) whose only common language is English; learned of at least three other university cities where groups of students are meeting to worship in English in new Anglican congregations … the Bishop is always the last to know.

Egypt
March: With Wendy back we headed to Egypt: Grant teaching New Testament exegesis of the passion narrative of Mark’s gospel at the Alexandria School of Theology, as well as having diocesan meetings and preaching at five different congregations.

Gambella
Last night: Back in Gambella our deacon, Gabriel Luot was arrested in Gambella on his way home to Sherkole refugee camp from our monthly clergy training session. Fighting between Dinka soldiers from South Sudan and Anuak from Abol the previous night (one from each side killed just a few kilometers outside of Gambella town) has heightened tension against the Dinka – and Gabriel is Dinka. Darash, our Anuak (!) priest went to the Gambella police and was able to get Gabriel released.

Today: David Onuk, John Bol and Isaac Pur work in our office meeting room, translating the gospel of Mark into the Opo language. Today they will finish Chapter 15 and 16 and then bring it to the Opo people and read the whole thing on Easter day – then the process of editing will begin.

Still today: Two Anuak women have been walking around our compound cursing the Gambella Anglican Centre and trying to pull up our fence in an attempt to extort thousands of Birr (Ethiopian money) from us for land they (falsely, according to local authorities) claim to own. This claim might have had more weight if there weren’t several others also claiming ownership of (and therefore compensation for) this previously uninhabited and unused land, and all of whom refuse our offer to take these claims to the municipality where the land ownership history and title deeds are known and kept.

More today: A Regional Dean for the Anglican Diocese of Malakal, South Sudan, displaced by the war, came for help to give him transportation and food/accommodation as he makes his way to Addis, and then to Kenya to be re-united with his family.

Again…today: We had a very helpful visit from leaders of the ‘Ethiopian Network of Religious Leaders living with HIV-Aids’, an organization started by our deacon, Ayano, now deceased.

Tonight: We discover news of “Koma” people (the name of the Opo people who live in South Sudan) who have fled to Opo villages in Ethiopia to escape forced conscription into the so-called ‘white army’ of South Sudan. Their villages having been burned, they are now being housed and fed by our Opo Christians.

Right now: We welcome Michael Anyar’s wife Elizabeth and their five children, now needing to flee threats of violence against them due to their Dinka ethnicity. They will stay in our compound until we can arrange transport for them to Addis.

In Gambella the refugee situation caused by the fighting in South Sudan continues to worsen. The latest official (UN) figures cite 92,448 registered South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella region with 13,000 listed as waiting registration. Estimates predict between 150,000 to an unbelievable 300,000 arriving by the end of this year, nearly doubling the population in this already under-serviced area. Christian friends from all over the world have been providing much needed support for our ministry among these new exiles.

Visits to refugee churches will dominate the next month. Pray for these dear Christians who need to know that their suffering is caused by human evil and is not a result of God punishing them (sadly a common explanation for their plight).

***** From: Diocese of Albany
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 10:38 AM
Subject: Bishop’s Prayer Request Prayer Request for the Diocese of Egypt, with North Africa and the Horn of Africa from The Rt Revd Dr Grant LeMarquand, Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa, April 15th, 2014
      There are now officially 92,000 refugees from South Sudan in the area, with more arriving daily. We’ve set up churches in several camps and have been able to provide some token practical help (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – the UN Refugee Agency – and the United Nations World Food Program are doing the heavy lifting).
      The specific request is to pray for 120 of these refugees from South Sudan named ‘Koma’ people. They are really the same people as those called Opo in Ethiopia. The Koma have had their three small villages burned by rebel soldiers in South Sudan who were trying to conscript them to fight in the conflict there. When the Koma people refused to fight, their homes were torched. This weekend they arrived in our Opo villages and are being cared for by the church there. We were able to send a big cooking pot, some clothes (from our church in Addis), some mosquito nets and ground sheets. The good news is that David Onuk, our Opo priest, is also taking home a copy of the Gospel of Mark in Opo – finished this week. This is the first book of the Bible in the Opo language. They will read it straight through this Easter weekend.
      +Grant

Albany Intercessor


Holy Week Quotes: Don’t miss the joy and the glory in focusing on the suffering

April 16, 2014

Of course, the four biblical Gospels, especially Matthew, Mark, and Luke, concur that Jesus suffered a great deal for us as he gave his life for our salvation so that we could be forgiven of our sins.

And yet, there is another aspect to the Easter story. It is best encapsulated in John’s statement that Jesus, when he “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world … loved them to the end” (13:1, ESV). When introducing not only the scene of the foot-washing, but his entire passion narrative, John writes the following: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper…” (13:3–4; cf. 14:28).

In other words, John is at pains to show that the Cross was not a dead end but a station on Jesus’ way back home to the Father! This is why he strikes a triumphant note at the outset of narrating the Crucifixion: The Father had given all things into Jesus’ hands, and Jesus was on his way back to his pre-existent glory which he enjoyed with the Father (17:5, 24)! It is, as the writer of Hebrews put it, “for the joy that was set before him” that Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame” (12:2). This Easter, let’s make sure we don’t leave out the “glory” part when we tell the story of Jesus’ suffering. No doubt, the Cross was glorious in and of itself in displaying Jesus’ perfect obedience, God’s love for humanity, and the God-man’s rendering of substitutionary atonement for sinners. Jesus’ earthly work is indeed “finished” (John 19:30), but his glorious work of ruling, reigning, and interceding continues to this day.

- Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor
From here


A Prayer for Holy Week

April 16, 2014

Don’t miss the lovely original prayer for Holy Week by Christine Sine posted at Godspace this week.  I really like the series of prayer cards Christine has designed and posted throughout Lent.


Excellent reflection on Lent and Fasting

April 15, 2014

Today’s Lenten devotional at the Trinity School for Ministry, by MDiv student Rebecca Osborn is really excellent.  I know all too well how easy it is to seek some distraction or comfort to keep me from examining and confronting my sin and the state of my heart…  May the Lord help us all in these remaining days of Holy Week to come to Him and bare our hearts and let Him burn away all the dross that is dulling His life, His righteousness, His glory within us.

God’s grace through judgment is a major theme in the Old Testament. We are used to the idea of grace by gentler means, but we must not miss that God’s grace often takes the form of hardship to get the attention of his stubborn children. In Lent, we enter that hardship voluntarily, so that our hidden sins might be exposed and judged, and our new humanity in Christ might be a little more freed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at fasting. Food, in addition to being the good sustenance that keeps us alive, is also a comfort to hide in. When I am comforted in my physical body, it is easy to ignore an uneasy spirit. Whether I am uneasy because of pain or guilt or isolation, it is easy to escape those unpleasant feelings in a snack or other compulsion. Take away that habit and the emotion is exposed. It is in such a state that I can say, with the dejected voice of Jerusalem in Lamentations 1:19-20a:

“I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city, while they sought food to revive their strength. Look, O Lord, for I am in distress; my stomach churns; my heart is wrung within me, for I have been very rebellious.”

Lamentations 1:17-21 is the distress call of Jerusalem in judgment. She has hit rock bottom. Many times in our Christian walk, we stand before the cross admitting our weakness. The path to wholeness in Christ is long. While we must be willing, our will alone is not enough to change us.

But unlike the woman Jerusalem, we are not without comfort (v. 17). We know that the worst of the suffering has fallen on the servant, of whom Isaiah tells us, “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3). Through the fasting of Lent, we take our faintly burning wick to Christ, trusting him to bring forth justice in the fire of union with himself.  

(emphasis added)


Holy Week Quotes: We construct our own whited sepulchres…

April 15, 2014

On this Holy Tuesday, let us reflect upon our blindness and deafness; our shortcomings, hypocrisies and inadequacies. Everything we do is dirty rags before the Lord. We construct our own whited sepulchres full of dead men’s bones, and are plagued by all manner of uncleanness, so let us take the Lord’s warnings about authority and hypocrisy very seriously indeed: we must not be outwardly what we are not inwardly, and our outward must be faithful to the inward. Many are called, but few are chosen.

– from the Cranmer blog, today


Pastor Scotty Smith: A prayer for Tuesday in Holy Week

April 15, 2014

I *REALLY* like Pastor Scotty Smith’s prayer today at Heavenward.  Yes.  How amazing that Jesus wept for those who would crucify Him, and how thankful I am that He shows the same love and compassion to me as marred and scarred and broken by sin as I am.

***

 As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

    Dear Jesus, everything about Holy Week reveals the depth of your compassion for sinful, broken people, like me. The tears you wept coming into Jerusalem, and even the passion you showed driving the moneychangers from the temple—every encounter, parable, and action gives staggering clarity to Paul’s words,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).

Paul was writing about me. I’m one of the powerless, ungodly sinners for whom you died—demonstrating God’s incomparable, irrepressible love for the ill deserving. I wasn’t an impassioned seeker; I was God’s enemy when I received the gift of reconciliation (Rom. 5:10). I have peace with God only because God made his peace with me, through you.

I would still be blind to what alone brings us peace, if you hadn’t opened my eyes to see my need and your provision. The gospel would still remain hidden from my eyes unless you had given me sight to behold you as the Lamb of God, who took away my sin. I have no claim to salvation… no boast, no hope, no assurance of sins forgiven and righteousness received, apart from sovereign grace.

How I long for the Day when I will no longer even be tempted to look for peace anywhere else, but in you, Lord Jesus. I yearn for the Day when we will see you as you are and we will be made like you (1 John 3:1-3).

This is my great hope—until that Day, keep healing the eyes of my heart of all spiritual myopia, astigmatism, or anything else that keeps me from seeing the magnificence of your glory and the full measure of your grace. So very Amen I pray, in your tenacious and tender name.


A devotional for Tuesday in Holy Week

April 15, 2014

Desiring God has a nice Holy Week devotional today:  The Escalating Conflict: Tuesday in Holy Week,  by Justin Taylor and Andreas Köstenberger.

Here’s the beginning:

It is now Tuesday morning, March 31, A.D. 33. The disciples point to the withered fig tree that Jesus had cursed the day before. Jesus gives his disciples a simple lesson from it: have faith in God. In particular, he says, if they have undoubting faith they can throw even the mountains into the sea.

Now if the disciples had ears to hear they would recognize that Jesus is talking about more than seemingly magical powers that can curse trees and crumble mountains. He is talking about realities bigger than this.

Note that he closes this mini-lesson on mountain-moving, undoubting faith by saying, “whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Jesus is reminding them that failing to forgive looms as a bigger obstacle to answered prayer than a mountain. The disciples will soon face great challenges to their faith and their ability to forgive. Will they remember this withered tree on the road from Bethany?

As they approach the Holy City, the events from the day before could not have been far from their minds. As Jesus enters the Temple Mount, crowds gather to hear him teach (Luke 21:38), and the chief priests, scribes, and elders waste no time in making their move. They will try to lay four traps to ensnare their adversary.

Read the full entry here.

***

Note: This is the third post in Desiring God’s 2014 Holy Week series “The Final Days of Jesus,” inspired by the new book of the same title by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger. Holy Week illustrations provided in partnership with Crossway Books and Adam Greene. Previously in the series:


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers