Who is like you, Jesus – a wonderful prayer of praise

May 13, 2014

Thanks to Trevin Wax for posting this fantastic prayer this week. I needed this reminder of who Jesus is… (And hey, it even counts as an Easter devotional prayer since it reminds us that Jesus is the life of those who are spiritually dead. :-) )

Who is like You, Jesus, sweet Jesus?
You are the light of those who are spiritually lost.
You are the life of those who are spiritually dead.
You are the liberation of those who are imprisoned by guilt.
You are the glory of those who hate themselves.
You are the guardian of those who are paralyzed by fear.
You are the guide of those who are bewildered by falsehood.
You are the peace of those who are in turmoil.
You are the prince of those who yearn to be led.
You are the priest of those who seek the truth.

- Johann Freylinghausen, 1670-1739, from Prayers for Today


on a personal note…

May 11, 2014

As will be evident to those of our readers who were following the Easter devotional blogging posts I’d begun, I’ve had to lay aside blogging for the past 2 weeks.  Between an illness that required I get quite a bit of extra sleep in order to recover, and a very difficult situation that has arisen in my work and ministry during the past week, all thoughts of blogging have been pushed aside.   I’m not likely to be able to resume anytime soon I’m afraid.   But may the Lord help us all to continue to remember and walk in the reality and wonderful truth of Jesus’ resurrection each day.   – Karen B.


Easter Quotes: Martin Luther, and commentary by Andrew Peterson

May 2, 2014

Apologies for not posting any Easter devotionals this week.  I’ve been unwell the last few days.  

***

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime”

a quote attributed to Martin Luther (#41)

About this quote, Christian songwriter Andrew Peterson reflects:

I long to see him face-to-face. I long to put my hand in his side, and touch the scars. I want to thank him and to worship him without this confounded veil between us. Just fighting to believe can make you weary, and faith is hard to hold. But we are given moments of reprieve. Easter comes around and the pews are full of every-Sunday sinners and once-in-a-blue-moon saints. The ice melts. The daffodils glow like little suns. We remember the earth-shaking fact of the resurrection of Jesus, and hope comes galloping in from the east, trumpeting the tune of victory.

Today, when I walked the hill and saw the buds on the tulip poplar spreading out their little hands, I believed it. When I sat in the dark during the Good Friday service and sang “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” with a roomful of saints who, astonishingly, forsook whatever else they could have been doing to drive across town to mourn the murder of Christ–I believed it. And now, as I write this on Easter morning, when I think of the pain and death and sorrow that surrounds me and my community, I believe it, because I have seen a light the shadow cannot touch. I have seen healing, and unexplainable faith; I have seen quiet mercy stop evil in its tracks.

Demand proof if you want. Proof has its place, as it did for the early Christians. But blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe. The stories are true.

Let wonder infect you.


Bishop Eric Menees’ reflection on the Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter

April 27, 2014

From the Soundings blog

Alleluia. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

What a joyous proclamation of our faith! So much is captured in this opening acclamation of the Easter Season. Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death, and opened the gates of heaven to all who believe in his name. But this is not only a future hope: his sacrifice has made possible true, lasting, and profound reconciliation between man and God, here and now.

This Sunday we are reminded that the Church is God’s instrument for that reconciliation:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room on that first Easter Day. He breathes on the disciples and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:22b-23)

What an awesome responsibility, and what an awesome joy, Christ has given to his Church. As a priest of the Church, it has been my greatest honor to pronounce absolution upon men and women who come to the Lord with contrite hearts. That forgiveness is available to us because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

There is a bit more at Soundings


Easter Quotes: Ann Voskamp – the Cornerstone of Christianity

April 27, 2014

And all the people in need, in desperate need, in broken need,

whisper it like a breaking dawn in the dark,

He is risen indeed, indeed, indeed.

 

and the cornerstone of Christianity

is this rotting cell sparking,

a heart valve quivering in the pitch,

a beetle scratching in the black while

convex chest cavity shudders,

sunken death inflating with His hot breath,

atoms of the second Adam recreating

resurrecting

all the impossible things and the universe.

– Ann Voskamp, from her Easter Sunday post at A Holy Experience

 


An Easter Homily from Saint Ephrem of Syria

April 26, 2014

An excerpt from an Easter homily by St. Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306-373).

Here’s the beginning:

Death trampled our Lord underfoot, but he in his turn treated death as a highroad for his own feet. He submitted to it, enduring it willingly, because by this means he would be able to destroy death in spite of itself. Death had its own way when our Lord went out from Jerusalem carrying his cross; but when by a loud cry from that cross he summoned the dead from the underworld, death was powerless to prevent it.

Death slew him by means of the body which he had assumed, but that same body proved to be the weapon with which he conquered death. Concealed beneath the cloak of his manhood, his godhead engaged death in combat; but in slaying our Lord, death itself was slain. It was able to kill natural human life, but was itself killed by the life that is above the nature of man.

The full text is at Creedal Christian


Easter Quotes: Ann Voskamp – Impossible Stones Rolled Away

April 24, 2014

Powerful and beautiful words from Ann Voskamp’s April 21st blog post at A Holy Experience:

Because we know that whatever stone that’s been trapping, whatever boulder that’s been blocking, whatever rock that’s been locking — we know our God heaves stones because He loves and we know our God tears off grave clothes because He resurrects and we know our God upends to right.

We are the Resurrection People who know that hope can rise from the dead places

and that impossible stones can be rolled back to light

and right now all the sad things are becoming undone.

No matter how the world turns, there’s no turning that stone back now.

We’re the Resurrection People and we won’t live like that stone’s been rolled back. We won’t live like it isn’t the truth: The sad things are all becoming undone now. There’s no turning that stone back now. There’s no turning back now.

What’s been wearing death clothes in a life can get up and walk, what we’ve felt as wounds, by His wounds, are being healed, what’s being burnt to ashes will birth beauty. Ashes are always the papery birth announcement of beauty rising.

Us bound in that sin that’s always been, us with that heartbreak that just won’t take a break, us who feel locked up in these patterns and someone’s thrown away the key — we’re the people who’ve seen that the stone’s been rolled away.

We’re the Resurrection People who  push back against the dark of impossible, because we’ve seen the impossible stone’s been pushed back against the dark. We’re the Resurrection People who walk in strong hope because we’ve seen the strong stones moved and Hope come right out to meet us and move us.

We’re the Resurrection people who believe that we can turn back, that people can turn back, that situations can turn around, because we’ve seen that stone’s been rolled back.

Nothing and no one is impossible now

because impossible stones have now been rolled away.


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