Day of Resurrection of the Lord

Easter Sunday, April 20

Read Matthew 28:1-10

But the angel said to the women…”Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised
from the dead…’” Matthew 28:5-7.

So much of our lives we are told to slow down and don’t be in such a hurry. But the message of the angel to the women on that Easter morning was the opposite. They were told to hurry and tell the others that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. There is urgency in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

Much is at stake; people are waiting for someone to offer the life that only the resurrected Christ can give. People are living in the dark and we have the Light of the World to give to them and bring them out of their darkness. We have what the world needs, the Living Lord of all Creation ready to raise us up from death to life. Life is short and we never know when life might end for any of us; so we who have met the risen Lord must hurry. We have a glorious message to tell and a world that is waiting to hear: “Christ is risen!”

– David Lord

Holy Week of Lent

Hiding the Truth

Read Matthew 27:57-66
Saturday, April 19

The truth always comes out. Always. Sometimes it may take longer than we expect it to, but it always comes to light! And, regrettably, human nature, (as well as Biblical history) has shown us that if the truth is not comfortable, we will spend vast amounts of energy and time disguising it, running from it, and denying it.

In our reading today, we have the fearful and we have the bold. The fearful are the chief priests, the Pharisees, and Pilate. They continue to scheme their way to maintain their power, their influence, and their stature, fearful that the truth will take it from them. So each break their own laws to protect themselves.

And we have the bold, Joseph of Arimathea. He decides, at great personal risk of persecution, and personal cost, that the truth is Jesus. The same Jesus the fearful have called the “deceiver”.

In our own lives, we have seen this pattern of human behavior. Maybe it has even been us who attempt to hide the truth. But in the end, the truth will always prevail. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. And for those willing to seek the truth, Jesus is waiting for us.

   – Bill Daly

Holy Week of Lent

The Joy and the Sadness

Read John 18:1 – 19:42
Good Friday, April 18

It was only a few days ago when Jesus was welcomed into the city as a king: people cheering and waving palm branches. Alongside Him walked His disciples, proud, joyful, confident that He was going to change the world and they would be part of it. Now, in these final 24 hours, their mentor, their friend is betrayed, arrested, falsely accused, humiliated, beaten, flogged, dragged away and crucified like a criminal.

And where are His faithful disciples? Afraid. Hiding. Probably feeling helpless, disappointed, frustrated with the injustice of it all, full of despair. Have you ever felt that way? Can you see yourself in this story?

When our days are sunny and good, it’s easy to joyfully proclaim Christ as our savior, friend, teacher, and profess our loyalty to Him. But then in our broken world life gets rocky, things happen that are unfair, we fall into doubt and fear. We feel abandoned and alone; God seems to be gone from us. We are sad. We are scared. Things seem hopeless. We can only see the darkness.

– Lynda Imirie

Holy Week of Lent

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

Read John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Maundy Thursday, April 17

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. John 13:1-17 tells us how we should follow the Master’s footsteps. He says “Do you know what I have done to you?” He made them all servants to one another and to all mankind. That means we who follow Christ are servants – to serve one another and to serve all mankind.
To emphasize this servant leadership, He further gave us what I call the eleventh commandment— “That you love one another just as I have loved you.” This is what Jesus calls the greatest commandment after love thy God with your whole mind, heart and soul.

What if we actively seek out, once a day to love someone, whether it be a stranger or even  a close relative or friend. . . Once a day – love one another – can you do it?

– Jerry Zachman

Holy Week of Lent

And It Was Night

Read John 13:21-32
Wednesday, April 16

“…And It Was Night.”
21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” … 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread …..” ….. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Judas, having made secret plans to betray Jesus, was eating the Passover meal with Him. Jesus knew of Judas’ betrayal and instructed him to do quickly what he was about to do. Verse 30 states that after Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

The darkness of night engulfed Judas as he traveled to the Chief Priests to finalize the contract and receive payment. It was on this night that his name would forever be synonymous with traitor.

Is there any among us who have not traveled through the ‘night’? A night that stretched into another dark night, and into another seemingly endless, dark night that swelled to overflowing with sickness, solitude, sorrow, worry or fear?

But as surely as the night comes, it will end. English theologian, Thomas Fuller, penned … “The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.”

Don’t go out into the night and be despaired or angry regarding the circumstances. Make your choice to focus on the Light when the black of night surrounds you.

– RoJane Chandler-Bond

Holy Week of Lent

Jesus Tells about His Coming Death

Tuesday, April 15

Read John 12:20-36

Jesus uses the grain of wheat as an example of life after death. The grain of wheat must be buried in the ground before it can sprout and reproduce.

Then He goes on to say that anyone who holds onto life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. (—from the Message.)

Does He mean for us to let go of the lives of those we love or let go of the stage of life that is current for each of us? I am confused. Maybe Pastor Lord will clarify this for me soon.

I really like the term ’reckless in your love’. Expressions of love can be given without costing you anything. The reflections that come back to you are invaluable and bring much joy.

– Sue Patterson

7th Week of Lent, Holy Week of Lent

Mary’s Gift

Read John 12:1-11
Monday, April 14

I have often marveled at Mary’s gracious act of service toward Jesus in this passage. The use of the expensive nard, the cleaning of His feet with her hair, the true total gift she gave to Christ. I have to admit, though, she isn’t the one that I identify with in the passage. Unfortunately, Judas and His call to sell the nard and use the money for the poor is a logical response that I have often heard echoing through my head.

Often we, like Judas, want to make the logical and practical decision that will generate the greatest “bang for our buck”, even when it comes to serving Christ. I must admit that this might be due to our American bent toward practicality or, more likely, it is because the giving of money or gifts is a tangible act with results. Mary’s act of service really didn’t produce any sort of result that could be pointed to, and by the next morning when Jesus stepped out into the street, His feet would be dirty again. In Judas’s mind, this was a waste.

Yet, this act of service is closer to the gift that Jesus eventually gave to us, that gift of hope and eternal life. It is not a tangible gift that can be placed in a pocket and seems to defy logic; it is a gift of love and of service. A sacrifice of Himself for all of us, and while He could have stayed alive and continued His ministry, it would not have had the impact that His act of service has had on the world.
– Matthew Uselton

7th Week of Lent

Two Processions

Read Matthew 21:1-11 Matthew 27:11-54

Palm / Passion Sunday
Sunday, April 13

We were sitting in the upper balcony at our home church. The organ music swelled signaling the Procession to begin.

The reverent entrance of the robed Crucifer, Acolytes, and choir followed by the Pastor filled me with awe as our voices joined together: “All Glory, Laud & Honor.”

I recalled this memory while reading both Scripture passages today. They tell us of Two Processions that have changed the paths of millions.

The First Procession began…
Joyfully the crowd cheered, “Hosanna!” The people laid cloaks and palm branches under the hooves of the donkey bearing the weight of our Lord. Laughter and jubilant shouts rang out as Jesus and His Disciples walked into Jerusalem. “Hosanna!”

Days passed. Events unfolded. The Disciples deserted Jesus. Peter denied Him. The shouts had changed to “Crucify Him!”

The Second Procession began…
Alone, Jesus walked the rugged path to Golgotha. Beaten and bruised. Bleeding and in pain, He bore the weight of the rugged, wooden cross. “Crucify Him!”

The Processions end.

– RoJane Chandler-Bond

6th Week of Lent

God Uses All We Do.

Read John 11:45-56
Saturday, April 12

God Uses All We Do.
Let Our Actions Show His Glory!

In these verses for today’s scripture reading, the Jewish Sanhedrin were afraid that the Romans would take away all their temples and possessions if all the Jews started to believe in Jesus. But Caiaphas, the high priest, prophesied that Jesus would die. God gave Caiaphas these words because it was part of His plan to save the world.

Sometimes we are prideful and believe what we do is all from our own thoughts and actions. But God uses everything we do and say as part of His master plan. Even the selfish things in our lives become part of God’s plan, and He will turn them around for the good of those who love Him.

What we do should be inspired by Him alone. Our daily prayers need to be “Here I am, Lord, use me.” This way our thoughts and actions are not selfish. They will be the example of love that Jesus’ action of dying on the cross for us was over 2, 000 years ago.

– Mia Farmer

6th Week of Lent

Priests and Pharisees

Read John 10:31-42
Friday, April 11

Jesus has attracted the attention of the Chief Priest and the Pharisees (Jews) as He spoke to the common people at the temple in Jerusalem. The Jews confront Jesus threatening to stone Him. Later, Jesus crosses the Jordan River and is welcomed by another group who praise Him.

How could these two groups have such a difference in belief of who Jesus was? The church leaders who were most knowledgeable in the scriptures reject Jesus as the Son of God, whereas those who followed John the Baptist had no doubts of His divinity. This is after Jesus presented two arguments the Jews should have understood. The first, based on Psalms 82:6 that spoke of God appointing “gods” and the second pointing to miracles performed by Jesus that only God could have authorized.

Perhaps we can learn from this contrast of these two groups. The Pharisees probably were guilty of “group-think” that Jesus was a mere man from a humble background whereas they were high-ranking in the church of the day. Even Nicodemus who was a Pharisee was afraid to support Jesus publicly.

We, as Christians must be cautious of “group think” and base our beliefs and actions on our own interpretation of the Bible and on prayer rather than what we think is the popular view. Fortunately, Jesus is quite clear on His commandment that we love one another.

– Dave Woolley