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”.

Five Minute Friday – Empty

Hi and Happy Good Friday.  Today’s Five Minute Friday word is empty, just right for Good Friday.  I haven’t written one of these in a long time.  But, here goes. This image is from Power Point’s clip art.

Empty – our lives can be empty if we have no purpose, no one to care about, don’t love ourselves, or have no support. My hope and prayer is that we all have people to laugh with us during the good times and to be there in the times of sadness, hurt, and struggle. And that we can learn to love ourselves and realize that we are worthy of love, acceptance and caring.

I also think about people who are hungry and have no regular source of food. And those with no clean and safe source of water.  May we help them so they don’t have empty bellies. May we help them so they do not thirst, but instead can safely be nourished and fed.

Empty is also what was found at the tomb on Easter morning — three days after the death of Jesus.  Imagine what that must have been like.  I can picture them thinking, what happened and where did he go?  Did someone steal him?  I imagine they were very puzzled yet amazed at the miracle.

Today is the day we remember the suffering and death that our Lord endured.  He became human and felt all the feelings that we do and learned how we feel in times of happiness, struggle, pain, and loss.  He suffered a brutal death for us.

On Sunday, we celebrate His resurrection and that empty tomb.  The stone was rolled away and He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!  This is what our faith is all about.

Okay times up.  That five minutes went by fast.  I have a few things to add.

No matter what you believe or celebrate, please remember that you are loved, you are valued, you are important, and you don’t have to be or feel empty.  There are those who will care for you and be there for you.

May you  have a blessed Easter weekend.  For those celebrating Passover, may you be blessed as well.  And, may we never feel empty.  God’s blessings to you!

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

He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

Easter liilyHe Is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!!!

Hi and Happy Easter!  Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus after a brutal beating and death. The fact that He endured such pain and suffering is an amazing one and something I cherish.

A friend of mine who is a pastor said that Easter is his favorite day of the year.  It is one of my faves too.  It is a wonderful and glorious end to a sad and painful weekend.  On Thursday, we have Maundy Thursday where you celebrate The Last Supper.  Our service was really great and very moving since we heard the story of Jesus breaking bread with the disciples for this His last meal.

Then Good Friday is when you will often hear the last 7 words of Christ before he died next to two other men on the cross.  You also hear the story of the suffering that He endured.  At the end of each of those services, we were asked to leave in silence and no benediction was given.  Because, the story isn’t over until Easter.

Easter…Wow…a day of promise fulfilled.  A day of celebration…  A day of faith and fun… A day to realize that a man who was crucified and died conquered death and rose again.   A day that some believe didn’t happen.  I do and believe that it is truly an awesome day!

On Easter, we have yummy candy, new clothes and hats, Easter Egg Hunts, a sunrise service at the marina, breakfast at church, special music, a packed service with communion, and lunch with the family.  It is a day of praise, family, and true happiness.

We almost always sing my favorite hymn:

  • Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia
  • Our triumphant Holy Day, Alleluia
  • Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia
  • Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia
  • Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
  • Unto Christ, our heavenly king, Alleluia!
  • Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
  • Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!
  • But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
  • Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
  • Now above the sky he’s king, Alleluia!
  • Where the angels ever sing.
  • Alleluia! Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
  • Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
  • Praise him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
  • Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

I love the words to this hymn.  I love hearing the entire congregation sing it together.  I love hearing the organ play the accompaniment.  I love the sound of the trumpets that are often played.  I love feeling chills and thanking the Lord for this miracle.

I hope you enjoy this amazing and wonderful day!  May you have a blessed Easter!

He Is Risen!! He Is Risen Indeed!!  Alleluia!!!

Throwback Thursday – Easter Egg Hunt

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday!  Hope you have a great day.  Today is Maundy Thursday. as well as Throwback Thursday.

This photo is from 3 years ago during an Easter Egg Hunt at church.  Ian was having as much fun studying the grass as he was looking for eggs. And, as you can see in the basket, he got a few new Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars that day.

For the last few years, he has participated in the egg hunt at both church and with the family.  We have a big get together with cousins and grandparents and siblings and part of the fun is the hunt in my parent’s yard.

After the egg hunts, Ian has enough candy to last until Halloween!  At least by then, if it hasn’t all been eaten, we’ll toss it for the next holiday.

On this upcoming Easter Weekend, I am thankful for:

  • Remembering Christ’s body and blood in communion during tonight’s Maundy Thursday service
  • Appreciating what Christ did for me on Good Friday
  • Singing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” on Easter morning and knowing the gift He gave to us
  • Saying “He is Risen.  He is Risen Indeed” on Easter morning and all day
  • Celebrating with family and friends with a great meal, visiting, gift giving, and egg hunts
  • Watching my son as he hunts for eggs with his cousins
  • Savoring my mother’s twice baked potatoes
  • Laughing with my cousins and brothers and sisters
  • Enjoying our time together as a family and saying a prayer of thanks
  • Taking pictures and making new memories
  • Having an extra day at home with Ian to have fun and enjoy the time together

I wonder what else this long weekend has in store.  It will be fun to find out. Hope you have a great one!

Holy Week and My Church

3 crossesThis 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.