Perfect for a Holy Week evening – “Even for Us”

April 14, 2014

Dr. Emily at Barnstorming has a beautiful reflection posted this evening:  “Even for Us”

I’m going to post her original poem here, but you really need to go to Barnstorming and listen to the music (Lotti’s Crucifixus) she has posted as well.

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis.
Sub Pontio Pilato, passus et se pultus est.
(He was crucified even for us, under Pontius Pilate:
he suffered and was buried.)

Even for us, He rode into the city under palms and a cloud
Even for us, He wept and sorrowed
Even for us, He overturns the tables of the greedy
Even for us, He teaches and prepares
Even for us, He kneels and washes
Even for us, He breaks bread
Even for us, He sweats blood
Even for us, He receives a kiss
Even for us, He suffers
Even for us, He dies and is buried
Even for us, He rises and calls our name.

Even for us, such as we are, who we are, what we are to be,
He has come and will again.



“Let Us Keep the Feast: Holy Week and Easter” – NOW AVAILABLE

April 14, 2014

Our regular readers will have seen our previous posts about the “Let Us Keep the Feast” series of booklets.  There’s one for Advent, one for Epiphany and Lent, and the third volume in the series for Holy Week and Easter is now available.  It’s been out in print for perhaps 1 – 2 weeks, and it is now available as an Ebook.

Jessica Snell, who blogs at Homemaking Through the Church Year, is the editor of this series.  You can find out more at her blog.

I highly recommend this as a simple resource with a good overview of the Liturgical seasons and lots of practical ideas and resources for how to celebrate the church year at home.

Here’s what Jessica writes:

 I’m happy to announce that in addition to being available in paperback, you can now purchase Let Us Keep the Feast: Holy Week and Easter as an e-book. You can buy it on Amazon for Kindle, and at the publisher’s website for Kindle and other e-pub formats – for only $1.99. Instant delivery, right in time for Holy Week.

Let Us Keep the Feast will show you ways to bring the rhythms of the church year into your own home, so that the celebration of the life of the church becomes part of your daily life. Pick up a copy today!

Major update & reorganization of our Index of Holy Week posts

April 14, 2014

I’ve just finished a long-overdue project:  reorganizing and update our index / compilation of Holy Week entries from the past few years.

Holy Week: Index of Holy Week devotionals, prayers, quotes and resources here at Lent & Beyond

It may not be entirely complete yet, I’m still checking to make sure whether entries prior to 2010 are all listed, but it has probably 80 – 100 entries listed, re-organized by day.  So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and browse through the listings to find prayers, devotionals, music, poems, etc. which will enrich your Holy Week and help you focus on Christ in the midst of the busyness of ordinary life.

Mark 14:3-9

April 14, 2014

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on his head. (Mark 14:3)
      Holy Spirit, help us give our best to Jesus.

But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. (Mark 14:4-5)
      Holy Spirit, set us free from hardness of heart and a “bean counter” mentality. Help us rejoice in whatever anyone gives to Jesus.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but me you do not have always. (Mark 14:6-7)
      Father, please help us recognize all the opportunities you give us to help the poor.

She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. (Mark 14:8 )
      Jesus, prepare our hearts to understand what you are about to go through for us.

Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mark 14:9)
      Father, help us to be living memorial stones that point to the work of Jesus in our lives. Thank you. (See Joshua 4:19-24)

A word received: You are in my hand. Rest there.

Holy Communion
Monday in Holy Week: 36:5-10; Isaiah 42:1-9; Hebrews 11:39-12:3; John 12:1-11 or Mark 14:3-9
Tuesday in Holy Week: 71:1-12; Isaiah 49:1-6; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 12:37-38,42-50 or Mark 11:15-19
Morning Prayer
Monday: 51:1-18(19-20) * 69:1-23; Lam. 1:1-2,6-12: 2 Cor. 1:1-7: Mark 11:12-25
Tuesday: 6, 12 * 94;Lam. 1:17-22: 2 Cor. 1:8-22: Mark 11:27-33

Albany Intercessor

Another Free Easter Song – All Arise, brand new from Michael W. Smith

April 14, 2014

Worship Together. Com is offering a free download this week of a brand new song by Michael W. Smith, titled All Arise.

There are also lyrics, chords, and a free lead sheet.

Go check it out.

(You have to register on the site – it’s free – to get free downloads.  And no worries, they don’t send out spam email if you register.  It’s a great site and very worth registering if you like to stay current with new worship songs!)

Monday in Holy Week – Today’s Devotional reflection at Vicar’s Versicles…

April 14, 2014

The Rev. James Gibson has an outstanding reflection posted today at Vicar’s Versicles

Monday in Holy Week: The brigands den and God’s true home

Here’s an excerpt, but really, go read the full entry!

With the best of intentions, the temple had been constructed to house the presence of God and stand forever as a symbol of that presence in the midst of God’s people. But, by Jesus’ day, it had become a symbol of elitism and corruption, a prime target for God’s wrath. Thus, when Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the money-changers, he quoted the prophets in pronouncing judgment, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

The use of the term “robbers” in most English translations obscures the true meaning behind Jesus’ words. Most interpreters today will read this passage as merely a condemnation of the commercialization of sacred space. We have lost a lot in the translation.

The word translated “robbers” is better rendered “brigands.” In Jesus’ day, “brigands” were not robbers or thieves, at least not in the sense we think of today. They were the radical revolutionaries, the ultra-nationalists who saw their special status as the chosen people of God not as a call to be a light to the nations, but as a confirmation of their spiritual and political superiority. They did not wish to draw others in, but to drive everyone else out. In condemning the religious elites for turning the Temple into a “brigand’s den,” Jesus was expressing the righteous anger of God against Israel for having abandoned its true vocation, turning in on itself rather than reaching out to the world.

The Temple was the place of sacrifice. There was nothing morally or religiously suspect about the exchange of money in the Temple courts for the purchase of sacrificial animals. It was not economic injustice Jesus was decrying when he overturned the tables of the money-changers. Rather, he was bringing the whole Temple system under judgment because it was not serving its intended purpose. Indeed, the Temple could never be anything more than a vague reflection of God’s ultimate intention to draw all nations into the light of his eternal kingdom. The moment Jesus entered the Temple, its days as the symbol of Israel’s special relationship with God were numbered.

The fall of the Temple at the hands of the Romans, a mere forty years later, was decisive because there was an inextricable link between it and the true “house” which Jesus himself “raised up” through his death and resurrection. In his vision of New Jerusalem, John says, “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place [literally, “tabernacle”] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3) A few verses later, he says, “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22).

Through his death and resurrection, Jesus restored the original dynamic of God’s relationship with his people. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt [literally, “tabernacled”] among us” (John 1:14a). From the very beginning, God has desired to dwell not “in houses made by hands” (Acts 7:48b), but in the midst of his people, finding in their hearts, cleansed from sin by the blood of the Lamb, his true and eternal home.

Go read it in full.

Quotes for Holy Monday: the piercing glare of Christ and the sin in our hearts

April 14, 2014

Jesus challenged the hypocrisy of these religious leaders, so does He challenge and confront every kind of hypocrisy and insincerity, all cheating and deceitfulness in our lives and societies. Any act that cannot stand the piercing glare of Christ has to be either purged or extricated from us. Hypocrisy is the direct opposite to purity, and thus we have to remember our Lord’s saying that only the pure in heart will be able to see God, and enter His kingdom. Simply put, we must come face to face with the reality that we cannot serve two masters. If our desire is for holiness, we like the temple must be purified and cleansed regularly from sin.

— from today’s Holy Week Devotional at Anglican Mainstream

Devotional Refections for Monday of Holy Week

April 14, 2014

Todays Gospel reading is from Mark 11:12-25 and includes the passage about Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers:

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.

(Mark 11:15-18 ESV)


A few years ago (2009)I wrote a brief reflection on this passage:  Music and Prayer for Monday in Holy Week: Turn the Tables on Me.

I may try to write a new devotional reflection later today and post a new musical playlist, but I may not have time….


The Rev. Glen Scrivener at the King’s English also has an excellent devotional on the Matthew version of the cleansing of the Temple and Jesus’ statement that the money changers had turned the Temple into a “den of thieves.”  Here’s an excerpt:

Who can deny that religious people use their religion as a cover for evil? Blaise Pascal has said:

“Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.”

The LORD does not deny this for a second.  He exposes it.  And He exposes them – tearing down their den as the Babylonians sack Jerusalem.

Six hundred years later the LORD visits the re-built temple.  And He gives it the same treatment.

More than once I’ve had atheists raise Christ’s “cleansing of the temple” in Matthew 21 as a reason not to follow Jesus.  This is highly ironic since those same atheists have told me how religion is such a great source of evil.  Jesus would agree.  That is precisely why He overthrows the tables, etc!

Few secularists come anywhere close to the anti-religious fervour of Jesus of Nazareth.  This temple cleansing should be a favourite passage for the new atheists.

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  (Matthew 21:12-13)

Just as it was in Jeremiah 7, the temple is, yet again, scheduled for demolition.  In the parable of the wedding banquet Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and now in the following chapter He visits the temple one last time.

Notice what Jesus calls the temple: “a house of prayer.”  It is no nuclear bunker, able to protect “thieves” like us from the coming judgement.  It is a place of prayer.  It is not itself a spiritual safe-house but a pointer to the One who is.

In just 5 days, the LORD Jesus would be torn down on the cross – demolished, shattered under the wrath which belongs to us.  And yet on the Sunday He would be raised up again – the true House of God and the only refuge for we sinners.

Therefore the lesson is clear: there is no shelter in religion.  There are no societies we can join, no rituals we can practice, no mysteries we can fathom, no deeds we can perform that will shield us from “Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.”  If even the Jerusalem temple – the house called by the LORD’s own name – proved a vain refuge, there is certainly no hope in any other religious edifice.  These would-be hiding places are simply “dens of thieves.”  And they are so dangerous since they make us to run in exactly the wrong direction.

The only refuge is the Lamb Himself.  The only fleeing to be done is towards Him.  For Christ alone is our refuge.  All else is sinking sand.

I encourage you to read the full entry.


Other recommended sites for Holy Week Devotionals:

Anglican Mainstream (special Holy Week category)

The Biola Lent Project website

The Barnstorming blog

Vicar’s Versicles

Trinity School for Ministry


Boko haram

April 14, 2014

From Vatican News:  One hundred and thirty five civilians have reportedly been killed in North East Nigeria since Wednesday. The killings, which took place in the State of Borno, were carried out in at least three separate attacks.
The attackers are suspected to be from the Islamist Boko Haram movement. Human rights organizations say that at least 1,500 people, half of them civilian, have been killed in the region this year. . . . Archbishop Kaigama appeals for help and support in tracing the roots of the Boko Haram group in what could prove a necessary attempt to reveal who is behind the group, who provides its militants with arms, what is its scope beyond wreaking fear, death and destruction…

Matthew 10:26-27 (ESV)
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We stand in agreement with these words of Your Son Jesus Christ and claim them over northern Nigeria.  Reveal the works of darkness of Boko haram.  Proclaim it from the housetops for all to know.  Amen.


Music for a Palm Sunday evening: Classic Hymns and Choral Music

April 14, 2014

Finally…. after devoting time earlier today to posting a bunch of contemporary Palm Sunday playlists and worship song compilations, before signing off for the night, I want to post a few classic Palm Sunday hymns and wonderful pieces of choral music.

O Worship the King (Hanover). Robert Quinney, James O’Donnell & Westminster Abbey Choir. from Rejoice, the Lord Is King! – Great Hymns from Westminster Abbey (2014) 2:21


Hosanna To The Son Of David. The Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle.  from Lord, By Your Cross & Resurrection (disc 1): Passion (Palm) Sunday-Good Friday (2005) 2:50


All Glory, Laud and Honor. Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.  from Lent At Ephesus (2014), 2:43


Hosanna To the Son of David Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. from Lent At Ephesus (2014) 2:29


Ride On! Ride On In Majesty! Saint Michael’s Singers, Coventry Cathedral from Christ Triumphant (2008), 2:32


Various Scriptures Prayed

April 14, 2014

Now they came to Jericho. As he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:46-47)
      Holy Spirit, please help all who lack clarity of sight, whether physical or spiritual, call out to Jesus: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Thank you for all those who come to the prayer tables in the diocese.

Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48 )
      Lord Jesus, don’t let me be the one who tries to quiet someone calling out to you.

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, he is calling you.” (Mark 10:49)
      Jesus, in all my spiritual blindness, bid me come to you.

And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. (Mark 10:50)
      Father, help me throw off anything that would hinder me coming to Jesus.

So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51)
      “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road. (Mark 10:52)
      Holy Spirit, please help me follow wherever Jesus leads me.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 )
      Jesus, renew me day by day so that I may set my sight on the things which are eternal. Thank you.

A word received: Ask me to heal your blindness.

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” (Matthew 21:1-3)
      Lord Jesus, help me surrender everything you have need of to your use.

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ “ (Matthew 21:4-5)
      Lord, come into my life more each day and fulfill your word in me.

So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:6-9)
      Holy Spirit, please help me join that throng crying out: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

And when he had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:10-11)
      Father, move this city as Jerusalem was moved. Let the river of your Spirit flow through our city and revive our churches and civic institutions. Thank you.

A word received: Look to me and not your circumstances.

Holy Communion
Palm Sunday
Liturgy of the Palms: 118:19-29; Matthew 21:1-11
Liturgy of the Word: 22:1-21 or 22:1-11; Isaiah 45:21-25 or Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew (26:36-75) 27:1-54(55-66)
Monday in Holy Week: 36:5-10; Isaiah 42:1-9; Hebrews 11:39-12:3; John 12:1-11 or Mark 14:3-9
Morning Prayer
Palm Sunday: 24, 29 * 103; Zech. 9:9-12**: 1 Tim. 6:12-16**; Zech. 12:9-11,13:1,7-9***: Luke 19:41-48***
Monday: 51:1-18(19-20) * 69:1-23; Lam. 1:1-2,6-12: 2 Cor. 1:1-7: Mark 11:12-25
* For the Invitatory: ** Intended for use in the morning: *** Intended for use in the evening

      Notes from the Front Lines

***** Watervliet Prayer Table April 12, 2014, Prayer Team: Candy Palumbo and Susan McManus

Prayer for all people and families living in Watervliet for provision, protection, daily blessings and spiritual growth.

Sam: a 14 year old who needs direction and guidance and to heal her relationship with her mom. Prayers that she comes to Trinity or to another supportive church

Jamie: for empowerment; for healing from anxiety and depression; help in preparing for a test on June 14; for her significant other Daryl

Tonya: to complete her dissertation for college; for peace and motivation

Leslie: health and peace

Abdul: for mutual understanding in a relationship; for calm and peace in his life

Shirley: lungs, breathing, comfort and peace as she is still grieving for her husband.

Marge: for all her grandchildren; for Domimique to do well in school and finish; for Kathleen to become clean and sober and able to take care of her children.

***** Christ Church Schenectady Prayer Table Report, Saturday, April 12, 2014, 9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Elaine Carrubba, Bobbie Young (Belleview Reformed Church), Ray Rockwell, and Torre Bissell on State St. and Louise Popa and Mark Pasko on Albany St.

+–indicates received a wooden cross made by Dennis Adams of North Carolina
a–indicates was anointed with Holy Water
199–“199 Promises of God”, a small paperback with encouraging quotes from the Bible

Albany St.

+ 199 Janet — peace and happiness.

+ Tony — for his family.

+ 199 Samantha — A friend’s mom, Susan, has cancder. Prayed for Samantha to recommit life to Jesus — has Jehovah Witness influences from her past.

+ 199 Raymond — Provision in his life and the neighborhood.

Jonathan — Blessing.

State St.

+ 199 Dave — “That things will go better — that things will be better for me.”

Mark — He will be doing musical programs at the Albany County Nursing Home next Wednesday and Easter from 2-3 p.m. We prayed for a blessing on that. Mark and his wife Mary had a seminarian, Judith, stay with them the last couple of days. We prayed for Judith.

+Gershon (man) — He put down a can of beer to get prayer.

+ Anna — general blessings

+ Boogie (Rastafarian from Jamaica) — general blessing.

Michelle (woman) — We prayed for the Altar Guild as they prepare the church for Easter and Holy Week.

Paul (man, formerly a Christian, now a Muslim) — At first he was unwilling to receive prayer but then relented. He was happy the prayer table was there to encourage and help people.

+ a Raymond (man) — He just came out from 26 years in prison. His knees are badly deteriorated and painful and one of the has to be replaced. We invited him to church and he came this morning (Sunday) and announced that there was less pain in his knee. At the end of the service he went to one of the healing teams for more prayer.

Jason (man) — “Hit and Run” prayer

Evan (young woman) — We prayed for God’s blessing on her work.

Elaine — She gave thanks that her son Anthony got a job at Global Foundries. We also prayed for the 40 Days For Life campaign up the street at Planned Parenthood.

+ a 199 Sean (young man) — He is just out of jail. He has given his life to Jesus. His birth father left just after he was born. We showed him Romans 8:15 and told him that in accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior he was now an adopted child of God and he could cry out “Dad, help me.” We had him practice doing this. Big hug afterwards.

Take a look at Children of God by Third Day on YouTube

+Romainne (father), +Latrell (young girl), and +Ebony (mother)

Vincent (man)

+ 199 Nathan (man) — He had already given his life to Jesus but need to take care of some sins that have come up in his life. We led him to 1 John 1:9 to let him know that he is now clean.

+ Leon (man) — He has already given his life to Jesus. We prayed for God’s blessing on him.

Albany Intercessor

20 Worship Songs for Palm Sunday (Contemporary)

April 14, 2014

I’m not going to be able to upload all 20 of these songs tonight, but I thought I could at least post the details of 20 worship songs that are part of my 2014 Palm Sunday playlist – songs focusing largely on Christ’s kingship and majesty, several exhorting us to praise Him “before the rocks cry out,” and several focusing on His humility.  Unless otherwise noted, all the links are to the iTunes US store.  They’re in somewhat random order…  Enjoy!

Majesty of Heaven Chris Tomlin. from And If Our God Is for Us (2010), 4:45

The Splendor of a King (How Great Is Our God), Chris Tomlin.  from Arriving (2004), 4:27

King of Glory, Chris Tomlin. from Arriving (2004), 3:08

Glorious, Chris Tomlin & Christy Nockels. from Passion: Everything Glorious (2006), 5:25

The Lord Reigns, Gateway Worship.  from The First 10 Years Collection (2013), 4:12

The Glory of Our King, Matt Redman. from We Shall Not Be Shaken (2009), 4:27

You Reign, MercyMe.  from All That Is Within Me (2008),  3:50

The Lord Reigns, from Revival at Brownsville, (1996) 3:35

Sing to The King, Ross Parsley. from I Am Free (2005), 4:44

King Of Glory, Sandi Patty. from Morning Like This (1986) 2:38

King of Glory. Third Day. from Offerings: A Worship Album (2000) 6:23

Messiah. Twila Paris. from He Is Exalted (2005) 4:44

Oh Deliverer, Matthew Ward. from The Maranatha! Singers Hosanna – 15 Songs Of Freedom (1989), 2:34

Shout For Joy. Lincoln Brewster. from Real Life (2010) 4:32

Before the rocks cry out. [link is to a YouTube audio] Tim Sheppard from I Am Determined (1980) 4:03

Ain’t No Rock. Urban Hope from PMAC Yesterday & Today (2005) 3:04

Crown Him (Majesty) [feat. Kari Jobe], Chris Tomlin. from Burning Lights (2013)

Humble King. Vineyard Music (Kathryn Scott). from Hungry (2001) 4:46

Meekness and Majesty. Graham Kendrick from The Very Best of Graham Kendrick – Knowing You Jesus (2010) 3:38

The Servant King. Graham Kendrick from The Very Best of Graham Kendrick – Knowing You Jesus (2010) 4:55

This Kingdom. Hillsong. from Shout to the Lord With Hillsong Music Australia (1996) 5:46

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