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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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!)
April 14, 2014
The Rev. James Gibson has an outstanding reflection posted today at Vicar’s Versicles:
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.