Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Holy Week 2012

Hello Friends-

I am re-posting something that I placed on the blog last year on the day after Good Friday.  I think it is worth posting again as a reminder and especially for the Beth Moore post that follows.  I hope you are able to have a "holy" Holy Week.  It is hard when so much of the faith is fading from our culture's landscape. May Jesus be central to our lives not just this week but each and every day.  Fight the good fight, girls! 


See below:

April 22, 2011
Dear Ladies,

I don’t know about you, but I have become very aware that Holy Week is getting more and more squeezed from our culture.  Even yesterday on Good Friday, everything was as usual in the world around me.  All weekend long, so many will treat these few days as a regular weekend with some candy and a nice dinner on Sunday.  We will share our Easter meal with loved ones who never gave Jesus a thought over the past few days, including Easter.  This should break our hearts.

Last night I was at a Good Friday service where the pastor shared a story of walking by a neighborhood church in PA one day during Holy Week.  The church had erected a cross on the property with a purple drape over it.  Nailed to the cross was a scripture from Lamentations that deeply moved him. 
 “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
   Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
   that was inflicted on me,
that the LORD brought on me
   in the day of his fierce anger? -Lamentations 1:12

I pray that not one of us will pass by and not stop to absorb what we are commemorating over these few days. Tomorrow we will celebrate the most important day of our faith.  I hope you have a joyous time with your family and friends.   In the meantime, I am passing on a post Beth Moore put on her blog for Good Friday.  It is long, but well worth reading—a mini Bible lesson with excellent application to our lives today—especially if you are in a season of pain and difficulty.  The prayer at the end is powerful and worth praying this weekend. 

Love to all-

From Beth Moore “Living Proof” blog:
Posted: 22 Apr 2011
God Himself authored annual remembrances. He taught His people from the early pages of Scripture to set aside specific days to deliberately recall His mighty acts. He warned them passionately never to forget what He had done in their behalf and to fear the prospect so vividly that their memories would be sharpened ever again like the blade of a warrior’s sword. For most of us who have been raised in the church and know the hymns and songs of this season by heart, we make the choice to set our hearts and minds once again on the saving, death-defeating acts of Jesus Christ. We ask God to do through His Spirit what only He can do:

Our faithful Abba Father, cause the looming shadow of the Cross to fall afresh on us again. Let us remember with horror how dark our lives would be without the Christ. Roll the heavy stone of our slumbering familiarity away from the empty tomb and wake us up with a shout.

And He hears our prayer.

I awakened this morning to an empty house, my man away for the better part of the day and, early on, I felt the Spirit begin to answer the petition I’d made yesterday. Lord, help me to remember. Move me once again with the power of the Cross.

God reminded me of a portion in the 27th chapter of Acts when the Apostle Paul and 275 others were aboard a ship in a terrible storm that had raged for many days. We know that, of his cohorts, at least Luke was with him, the ink of his pen filled with brine. Read Acts 27:33-36 for yourself.

Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.

Look at that last portion once more:

He took some bread and gave thanks to God…Then he broke it.

Read words from the page of the gospel written earlier by the very same man who penned the Book of Acts:

When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:14-19

Took bread. Gave thanks, Broke it.

Same words. Same order.

Back to Acts 27.

In the New International Commentary on the New Testament, F. F. Bruce writes…

There is a cluster of words and phrases here – “took bread,” “gave thanks,” “broke it” – which are familiar in a eucharistic setting. This supports the view of many commentators that the meal here described [in Acts 27] was a eucharistic meal. Probably it was so in a limited sense: all shared the food, but to the majority it was an ordinary meal, while for those who ate with eucharistic intention (Paul and his fellow-Christians) it was a valid eucharist: “the bread which we break, is it not our participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)

To the majority it was an ordinary meal.

To the majority of people on Planet Earth today, this is an ordinary day. Malls will keep  humming, Facebook will keep friending, Twitter will keep tweeting, planes will keep flying, tellers will keep telling, businesses will keep selling.

But for those of us who “eat” of this day with Eucharistic intention, and think deliberate thoughts toward a crucified Christ, ours is a valid feast of remembrance.

While others eat this day away like it’s any other day, we savor its bittersweet taste and call it sacred.

Maybe you have long been in a storm with no sun in sight. Right there in all the tossing, surrounded even by those who may ignore Him or mock Him, draw from the Body and the Blood. Let today, even in your pain, be sacred to you and any brokenness, your living sacrifice, and may the heavens open wide with the thundering power of the Cross and drench you with the rain of your long-awaited deliverance.

Do this in remembrance of Me.

Because of the Cross of Christ, Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:18

This is a prayer I wrote this morning. For me, reading the prayers of others sometimes reminds me of something I, too, want to ask of my Father. We are all His children. We who are in Christ are each invited to “the Throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” I am in need. You are in need. If any of this speaks to the place you are right now, you are welcome to come right here with me and kneel as one who believes and we’ll bring these petitions to our faithful God together.

My Dearest Abba and my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus,

Cause me to be moved and mindful of this death and resurrection season – Of this, the most important annual celebration we commemorate as Your church. Cause me to be awake and aware in You, Lord. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of this One spotless Lamb of God. For just a moment, I try to imagine myself on that same road of suffering with that same cross on my flesh-torn back, pierced, hung, and exposed on that same tree and I shudder.  My sins outweigh my frame, Lord. I am unable to bear them. Thank You, Jesus, for not only bearing the pain but for enduring the shame. You are the single reason I am not weighed down in the suffocating mire of shame every single day of my life. I earned it. I deserved it. I am so grateful, Abba Father, for Your willingness to will and to witness that soul-saving, Hell-defeating act rendered by Your one and only Son. I praise You, faithful, merciful God, and ask to be moved this weekend with meditation, reflection, fresh wonder and renewed victory.

Please pursue each member of my family and me for the full work and benefit of Your Cross and Your resurrection. Please do not yield to our resistance. Appear unmistakably in every place we run. Walk through every door we slam. No addiction need hold us, no affliction need bind us, no suffering need smother us, no defeat need hover over us, no foolish act need define us and death need not haunt us. In the quake of the Cross, hopelessness slipped through the trembling cracks of earth and fell with an everlasting sentence into the bottomless abyss. Graves broke open and the bonds of the guilty fell from their wrists with a breath-taking thud. Because of this day that we, Your church, commemorate, we are free.

We are grateful.

We are aware.

In the saving Name of Jesus Christ,

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