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PEACE BE WITH YOU    April 1, 2013

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.   .   .”  Colossians 3:15a

The joyous worship of Easter morning is over.  Now, for many of us, it is back to the job.  For all of us, it is a return to daily living, whether hum-drum routine, or exciting challenge.  But to those early disciples behind locked doors, in fear, there was no joyous Easter worship.   They were afraid.  Then Jesus appeared to them and the message he gave was:  “Peace be with you.  Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  John 19:21

For us it is back to daily life; whether the day after Easter is a rest day or a work day, we are disciples who have heard Jesus say two things: 1) peace be with you, and 2) I am sending you even as the Father sent me.   Do not be afraid.  Jesus is sending us out even as He was sent out, to do deeds of love.

Prayer:  Father, let your peace rule in our hearts.  Amen

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
HOLY SATURDAY MARCH 30
SCRIPTURE: GALATIANS 3.27

All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

THOUGHTS

What you don’t see here is that Paul in the next sentence points out what we are not. We are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female – rather fundamental differences in that society. Because we are one in Christ, we might say today it is secondary that we are Democrats or Republicans, conservative or liberal, wealthy or on food stamps. In Christ, we are wearing the same outfit, showing up at the party and we’re wearing the same clothes! We aren’t dressing up Christ to look like us. We bear the public image of Jesus, and we don’t parade our differences.

There is a tendency to refer to baptism as getting ones name. But it has always been taking on a name, bearing the name of Jesus. It is our identity and how we are known by others. Can others see him in us?

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

If you weren’t Jesus’ own person, what would you do differently?
How do you act because of Jesus that makes you recognizable to others as one of Jesus’ followers?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Jesus, Lord, be visible in my life.. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
GOOD FRIDAY MARCH 29
SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:57

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

THOUGHTS

As you brush across her hair she pulls the brush from your hand
and begins to bang herself in the head with it. What are we doing?
Brushing the hair of our 16 month old granddaughter. She wants
to do it herself. She hasn’t mastered the skill of brushing her hair.
She is determined. She will do it herself. In the process she bangs
herself in the head.

Remind you of anyone? This is the day of the cross, the moment
where God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Here is
the grace of God forgiving, loving and unconditionally accepting
you in this life and one more. And we want to do it ourselves…

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

What do you find yourself doing to ‘earn’ God’s love?
How do you center your life in the cross?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

By your cross, you make me whole. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
MAUNDY THURSDAY MARCH 28
SCRIPTURE: JOHN 13:1-15

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

THOUGHTS

A love we do not understand. Ever. We understand self-giving love. We know what it means to love when it doesn’t make sense. We know it because we’ve done it- for a child, a parent, a friend or a spouse. But love so patient, so forgiving, so perfect that even the most cynical heart breaks by looking at it is more than we can do. It is beyond us. And yet it’s what we all ache for. A love so perfect that it never lets us go.

That’s what this night with his disciples is about. Jesus pouring his love out on his friends’ feet- doing what love compels him to even though his friends are confused and embarrassed. Preparing to pour himself out for us, to love us to the end.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

If you could truly comprehend the love Jesus has for you, what would it free you to do?
Where is this love of Jesus most needed in your life?
Where is this love of Jesus most needed in our world?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Jesus, help me know this love always. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
HOLY WEDNESDAY MARCH 27
SCRIPTURE: GALATIANS 2:10

They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.

THOUGHTS

Ever been eager for something and have it turn out wrong? Often the things we want look better during the wanting stage. Once we begin the “doing,” or the “getting,” we find reality much different.

Does this happen when we “remember the poor?” We’re eager to help others who need help…but what about when it’s messy? What about when our lives become restricted by the actions needed for the poor? When it gets expensive? Are we still eager when security becomes threatened while we respond to need? When it gets time consuming? Does eagerness leave as other’s needs require time taken from work, family, and fun?

Sharing what we have more than enough of with those who have less than enough sounds so simple. Who wouldn’t be eager?! To do so requires that we also share of ourselves.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

What do you have more than enough of in your life that you could share with those who don’t?
What makes you eager to do something?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Enrich me so I can enrich others. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
HOLY TUESDAY MARCH 26
SCRIPTURE: 2 THESSALONIANS 1:3

We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

THOUGHTS

Giving thanks, growing faith, and increasing love! This verse from 2 Thessalonians gives us a lot to think about. We thank God for life, grace, and forgiveness. We grow through worship, prayer, conversation, and scripture. We share love in our relationships with others, when we care for our neighbor, and when we welcome all people in the name of Christ. This is the way God calls us to live.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

What do you give thanks for?
How do you, how can you show love for others?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Thank you, God, for faith and love. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
HOLY MONDAY MARCH 25
SCRIPTURE: LAMENTATIONS 3:41

Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven.

THOUGHTS

This verse comes from a passage of confession and repentance in Jeremiah’s Lamentations. The prophet reminds his readers that all that we are must be given to God. Faith is not just a matter of the heart—something that only lives in a spiritual realm. Faith is also a matter of our hands—how we work in this world to serve our God. Jeremiah’s image of “lifting up” our hearts and hands is an image of worship—an offering of heartfelt praise for our God and heartfelt service for our world. Our own worship of God should reflect this holistic offering of self. God wants our hearts and our hands devoted to Him.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

How do I worship God with my hands in my daily life?
How do I praise God with my voice outside of Sunday morning worship?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

May all this is mine be thine. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
SATURDAY MARCH 23
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 25:35

I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

THOUGHTS

I live in a neighborhood where a Romanian immigrant lives on one side of us, an Albanian family next door, a lady from the Ukraine a few houses away, and a family from Vietnam across the street. I am sure we appear strange to them. In this parable of the sheep and goats, the Son divides the Gentile world between those who welcomed his followers and those who didn’t. They were not asked whether they agreed with them or not, only how they treated them as strangers in a strange land. In our days, we often view people strange to us with suspicion and hostility, similar to the way our ancestors were often treated when they arrived in our country. Very different from the behaviour of the sheep who inherit the kingdom in Jesus’ parable.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

Would your behaviour in the recent past put you with the sheep who befriend the stranger or the goats who try to withhold their needs?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Jesus, don’t be a stranger to me. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
FRIDAY MARCH 22
SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 58:6-7

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

THOUGHTS

Many of us take on spiritual practices during the Lenten season- prayer, fasting, spending time in scripture or solitude, or maybe just the old standby of giving up chocolate. Isaiah points out that even the best intended practices can quickly become empty if they do not point us into God’s grace and justice for the poor. The fast God chooses doesn’t lead us into a feast for our own ego, but rather into a feast for the poor. God calls us into service for others and the Holy Spirit empowers us each day for that work each and every day. In Jesus, God’s good work becomes ours.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

How do your Lenten practices lead into justice?
What is one way you can share your bread with the hungry today?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Lord, teach us to share our bread. AMEN.


 

LENTEN DEVOTIONS
THURSDAY MARCH 21
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 2:42

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

THOUGHTS

Do you really know them? If you really want to know the other person, eat with them. There is something which happens when you join another in the simple act of eating.

As you gather in the Assembly to celebrate the Meal of God, it is a foretaste of the future we have at the Kingdom Table Christ sets for us in the Kingdom we pray for each time we pray, “your kingdom come.” Here in the means of bread and wine Christ is truly present. It is his body and blood. It is a time of forgiveness and grace, a gift to us which connects us to all who eat, have eaten, and will eat at Christ’s table. How blessed we are by a Meal of grace…given for you…shed for you.

TALKING TOGETHER OR PONDERING ALONE

How does the ‘breaking of bread’ at worship relate to the ‘breaking of bread’ at home, at your kitchen table?
Are we resistant to this concrete grace and forgiveness we know as Holy Communion?

SEVEN WORD PRAYER

Feed me that I may know you. AMEN.