A Prayer for Wednesday in Holy Week

April 16, 2014

Kendall Harmon has this prayer posted at TitusOneNine tonight:

O God our heavenly Father, who to redeem the world didst deliver up thine only Son to be betrayed by one of his disciples and sold to his enemies: Take from us, we beseech thee, all covetousness and hypocrisy; and so strengthen us, that, loving thee above all things, we may remain steadfast in our faith unto the end; through him who gave his life for us, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

–the Rev. Lawrence Tuttiet (1825–1897)

 

Don’t miss all of Kendall’s posts in his Holy Week category.  He usually has some wonderful entries.

 


A blog admin note: you might find using the calendar helpful…

April 16, 2014

Since we’re generally posting 5 – 7 entries each day in Holy Week,  and since there are a few “sticky” posts at the top of the blog, that’s a lot of scrolling to check for new posts.  You might want to use the calendar feature over to the right in the sidebar.  Clicking on today’s date will immediately show you the latest posts.  (You can also hover your mouse pointer over the date and a list of the titles of all the day’s posts will appear.)


“Something for the Feast” a poem by Teresa Roberts Johnson on the betrayal by Judas

April 16, 2014

Something for the Feast

With them you walked and closely held the purse,
The cunning one so trusted, yet so cursed.
Grave countenance to cover evil plans,
Imagining the coins in your hands,
You ate the bread, then lifted up your heel
To crush the One who offered you the meal.
Yes, quickly go into the dark of night
To make your deal; betray the One True Light.
For if you change your mind, the world is lost.
No other sacrifice can pay the cost.
Go, sell the perfect Lamb to the chief priest,
Obtaining what is needed for the Feast.
As your companions thought, your deeds secured
Provision for the poor, who had endured
The terrors of the one whose path you chose.
His plans the God of Heaven to oppose
Came to fruition on the bloody cross,
While deeper plans unraveled all his power.
He won and lost it all in that same hour.
There in the presence of our greatest foe
The feast was set and blessings overflow.

by Teresa Roberts Johnson, Copyright 2013

Go to Angliverse to read more of Teresa’s Holy Week poetry, and to read her notes on this poem.

***

As we continue to think of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus today, you may also enjoy these devotionals:

And here are two other poems about Judas and his betrayal:


Today’s Devotional for “Spy Wednesday” from Desiring God

April 16, 2014

The Holy Week Devotional series at Desiring God’s blog continues…  (these are excerpts from the new book by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger, The Final Days of Jesus,)

***

Wednesday went quietly. Too quietly.

With the previous three days awash in drama — Sunday’s triumphal entry, Monday’s temple cleansing, and Tuesday’s temple controversies — now Wednesday, April 1, A.D. 33, comes like the calm before the storm.

But out of sight, lurking in the shadows, evil is afoot. The church has long called it “Spy Wednesday,” as the dark conspiracy against Jesus races forward, not just from enemies outside, but now with a traitor from within. It is this day when the key pieces come together in the plot for the greatest sin in all of history, the murder of the Son of God.

The Plot Thickens

Jesus wakes again just outside Jerusalem, in Bethany, where he has been staying at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. His teaching again attracts a crowd in the temple. But now the Jewish leaders, silenced by Jesus the day before, will leave him be. Today they will avoid public confrontation and instead connive in private.

Caiaphas, the high priest, gathers to his private residence the chief priests and Pharisees — two competing groups, typically at odds, now bedfellows in their ache to be rid of the Galilean. They scheme to kill him, but don’t have all the pieces in place yet. They fear the approving masses, and don’t want to stir up the assembled hoards during Passover. The initial plan is to wait till after the feast, unless some unforeseen opportunity emerges.

Enter the traitor.

Keep reading at Desiring God…


Classic CCM songs for Holy Week from Christian Stephens: Look What You’ve Done, and Broken and Bleeding

April 16, 2014

christian-stephens-frontAs many of our regular readers will know, I (Karen) am a music lover. My tastes in Christian music are REALLY eclectic. (Yes, in the same week I have posted songs from rocker Mylon LeFevre and the Benedictine nuns of St. Mary of Ephesus…). But while I love good classical music, and also much contemporary worship music, there will always be a special place in my heart for some of the early Contemporary Christian Music of the 1970s and 80s. Those were the years when I was a new Christian and I had little fellowship. (My family attended an Episcopal church in the Diocese of Newark during the years of Bishop John Shelby Spong, need I say more?) Northern NJ seemed like a spiritual wasteland at times, but God used music in a wonderful way to deepen my knowledge of and love for Him.

It’s been a joy to discover that much of the music from that era is being made available in digital format. But a few of my favorite LPs still are not available on CD or online. One such LP is Christian Stephens’ eponymous release from 1980. There are several songs on that album that I listened to every Holy Week for many years….   A few years ago, I digitized my LP.  I thought it would be worth uploading a few songs here for Holy Week as I cannot find them anywhere online.  I pray these two songs bless our readers and help you quiet your heart to worship the Lord and rejoice afresh in His sacrifice, as they have helped me so many times to do.

[Note I will also post Christian Stephen’s  wonderful “trilogy” for the Triduum:  The Song of the Cross; The Descent; and Arise, on Friday and Saturday. Check back then.]

***

(There should be an embedded playlist above.  If there is no play arrow, or if the songs don’t play quickly, try these links: Look What You’ve Done  and Broken and Bleeding.)

Look What You’ve Done (Christian Stephens, 1980)

I was alone, You came to me
I was hurt, but You healed my pain
I was lost, You found me.
I was dying, but You gave me life.

I bow down before You.
O Lord my God how I adore You.
Look what You’ve done for me.

I was blind, You touched my eyes
I was crying, You took my tears away
I had no dream, You gave me hope
I was crippled, You taught me how to fly

Look what You’ve done, Look what You’ve done for me.
Look what You’ve done.

***

Broken and Bleeding (Christian Stephens, 1980)

 Well I saw my Lord as He passed by here
Stumbling ‘neath the weight of His cross, He was shedding a tear
But in His agony, I heard His spirit speak to mine, saying “come with me”

So I followed Him up to the top of Calvary
His screams shattered my soul as they nailed Him to the tree
And when they raised Him high, my heart was torn apart and I began to cry

Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me
Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me

Well the sky grew dark as the end drew near
The love within His eyes took away my fear
and once again He cried, lifted up His spirit, hung His head and died.

Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me
(Look what You’ve done)
Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me
(Look what You’ve done)

You died on the Cross
You gave Your life
You gave everything for me.
Out of Your love, You bled and died.
You died for me.

Jesus I love You, look what You’ve done for me
Jesus I love You, look what You’ve done for me

***

Note: the songs posted are digitized versions of my original vinyl album.  There are some scratches, etc.  I believe the album is out of print, but if anyone knows of a CD or digital version available for purchase, I would love to know so I can link it here and ensure royalties go to the artist.


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


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