Good Friday Thoughts & A Prayer

Today is the day in our church calendar when we remember the crucifixion of our Lord.  This is the day that He was killed on a cross so that we might live.  I have often thought that the name Good Friday is an odd choice for what happened on this day so many years ago.  It was good for us but very bad for Him.

He suffered and was in massive pain, such that I cannot imagine.  He was ridiculed and found guilty of crimes He did not commit, and then was punished for them.  After last night’s Last Supper with his disciples, he was betrayed and then beaten.

Now, many of us are in major pain and have lots of worries.  Like us, he suffered the not knowing, the begging for the bad things to pass by Him, and wondering why it had to happen to Him.  In fact, He asked for the cup to pass Him by.  However, it did not.

I am not sure if that comforts you, but it does me. To know that the Lord who has helped me through so much, also suffered, lost loved ones, and was betrayed is amazing.  He knows how I feel and He knows how you feel.  He has been through it all and has promised to be there with us.

As He was dying he uttered seven statements that showed some about the loving man that He was.  He still had compassion for those who were persecuting him.  He was concerned about His mother and His disciples.  He also had to deal with physical pain and suffering.

Our church remembers these in the Good Friday services that we will miss sharing with others this year.  Still the meaning is there.

  • “My God, My God, why hast though forsaken me?”
  • “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
  • “I tell you the truth that today you will be with me in paradise.”
  • “Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother.”
  • “I thirst.”
  • “It is finished.”
  • “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”

This man laid down His life for us and then in three days conquered death and the grave.  I hope that can be a comfort and a blessing to you and your loved ones.  It is to me.  Still, there is so much suffering and that is very hard to deal with.  We try and we pray and we hope.

This morning we watched an interview of John Meacham by Stephen Colbert.  Meacham is an amazing historical writer.  He has a new book about Jesus and these last 7 words.  It is called “Hope of Glory.”  Sounds like one that I want to read.

During this interview, Meacham mentioned that this Easter will be more like it was at the first Easter.  He mentioned that the disciples were in hiding and that those of the early church would meet in their homes.  So, we can remember how that must have been since most of us will be home to celebrate this Easter morning.

This meant a lot to me. To think back to those times and what Jesus and His disciples and followers must have felt will be good.  Ian and I both enjoyed that interview very much.

A prayer for this Good Friday:

“Dear Lord, please watch over your flock who are suffering.  May we remember that you are here with us through this hard time. You will not forsake us, although it may feel that way at times.

“May we remember that third day when your son rose from the dead and conquered death so we would have eternal life.

“May we remember those who are essential employees who are in harm’s way.  Please watch over them and keep them and their families safe.

“May we remember those who are at home and trying to adjust to this new way of life. Please help us in the trying days to stay strong and at a distance in order to protect our loved ones.

“May we reach out to those we care about via emails, online chats, and phone calls.  May we bear one another’s burdens by being there remotely for each other.

“May we keep those students in mind whose lives have been upended so much. Please help us work together to help them learn and to be safe.  To our seniors this year, we feel for you.  May you know how special you are and how loved.  May we be able to celebrate soon.

“May we remember those who have lost loved ones due to this virus and other causes as well.  Lord, please give them comfort in their loss. Please be with them throughout their grief.

“May we remember that Sunday is on the way and that what happened today is not the end of the story.  May we remember that Your rising can give us hope.  May we also remember to always, always love.

“In Your holy name, Amen”.

Holy Week Events

This week is known on the Christian calendar as Holy Week. This was a Blog that I posted a few years ago and wanted to again.

This is the week when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, celebrated Holy Communion with his disciples, was crucified, died, was buried, and then rose again.

It is a week of celebration and sadness, a week of the best and the worst, and is the most important time of year to me as a Christian.

  • Palm Sunday“The people who walked ahead of Jesus, and those who followed him, began to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” – Matthew 21: 8-9

On Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday.  We waved palm frons as we sang the hymns.  It was a lovely service.

During the Children’s Chat, Pastor told the children that Christ has the red carpet in our hearts.  During the sermon, Ian drew a picture of his heart with a red carpet on the floor.  It really touched the pastor and me as well.

  • Maundy Thursday“Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”– Luke 7: 19-20

Then we have Maundy Thursday which celebrates the Lord’s Last Supper.  He shared bread and wine with his disciples, including the man who betrayed him. Prior to that meal, he washed their feet.

He shared with them some of what was to come in the next few days.  Can you even imagine being there for that meal?  Or can you imagine having your feet be washed by a man who you have so much respect for?

  • Good Friday“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” – Matthew 27:50

Good Friday follows.  I have always wondered why that was the name chosen.  After all, this is the day that our Lord was crucified, beaten, nailed to a cross, and died.

During the service, we listen to the last 7 Words of Christ and watch the lights turn off as a book is dropped, signifying the closing of the tomb.  We then leave in silence.  This service is a challenge with a 5-year-old who loves to talk but is truly meaningful.   We are reminded of what the Lord did for us.

  • Easter“Simon Peter said, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” – Luke 24:34

It is an amazing contrast to Easter morning.  Easter is when we say, “He is Risen.  He is Risen Indeed.”  I love that my church has a sunrise service at the local marina.  It is hard to get up early enough for it but is the truly most meaningful service for me.

Watching the sunrise over the lake as we sing, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia” nearly moves me to happy tears.  I hope that we can make it to this service.  But, we’ll have to wait and see.

Also on Easter will be a breakfast at church, an Easter Egg hunt and then another service — often with the glorious organ and full orchestra.  It is a day to celebrate.

After church we will gather at my parent’s house for lunch with the family – including extended family — and maybe have a family egg hunt.

I hope that you too will have a very blessed and meaningful Holy Week!

I wonder if I can truly appreciate all that Lord has done for me?  I know that it will be demonstrated this week.

Passion and Love

3 crosses Easter liilyToday I am writing about passion and love, but it may not be what you think.  I am talking about the passion of our Lord and the love that he taught us to have for one another.  This is a love that is not seen very much any more.

Palm Sunday was celebrated yesterday and is the beginning of Holy Week.  At our church, we sang lovely songs, waved palm branches, listened to the scriptures about Jesus riding in on a donkey, and had communion.  We were reminded of Christ’s humility and love.  And we were reminded of the week to come.

Last night, the Fox Network broadcast an amazing show called The Passion.  It was about the Passion of the Christ and his last few days of his life.  It was a modern re-telling with contemporary and popular songs included as well.  It was aired live from New Orleans and included a bright white cross being carried throughout the city.

Kirk, Ian, and I watched it together and enjoyed it.  Ian had questions and we were all moved.  I grew up hearing the story of Holy Week so it was all the more meaningful to see this take on it.  Several of my friends also enjoyed it. The special included the Last Supper, the betrayal, the arrest and conviction.  It was interesting to see Jesus in an orange jump suit after being arrested by modern-day police officers.

The narrator explained the brutal death that Jesus suffered on Good Friday.  None of the 7 last words of Christ were included or the crucifixion, but the crowd watching was moved and rightly so.  Hearing about 7 inch nails being placed into his hands and feet was just as powerful as seeing it enacted. The burial was then explained with the guards who stayed at the tomb.

The show ended with the resurrection of Christ, followed by another lovely song.  The audience clapped and the cast came out on stage — all but Jesus.  I suppose that was fitting, although I would have liked to see that actor again.  He did a wonderful job and had a great singing voice. Throughout this production, the passion of Christ for his calling and for others was evident.  Christ’s love was clear.

To me, the entire passion story demonstrates a love that is so hard to share.  We say we love our spouse, our children, our parents, and others in our lives, but would we lay down our life for them?  I think that I would for my loved ones, but would rather be with them for my entire life.  So, I try each day to demonstrate love, compassionate, kindness, and help take care of them.

My prayer this Holy Week is that:

  • We remember the gift of Communion and Christ’s Last Supper
  • We remember the Lord’s suffering and death
  • We remember and celebrate His resurrection
  • We remember Christ’s passion
  • We love others as He taught us to
  • We forgive others as Christ has forgiven us
  • We always remember to be kind to each other
  • And that we spread the love that He demonstrated and taught us