Tag Archives: Easter

The Dance

Many are familiar with the beautiful poem, “Footprints.” In this story, a man dreams that he has a talk with Jesus about his life. Like all of us, this man had a life full of triumphs and tragedies, love and loneliness, happiness and sadness. And like all of us, he had a lifelong relationship with God that was at times close and committed and at times distant and unclear.

The man and Jesus were walking along a sandy seashore and having a conversation that reviewed that man’s life. The man noticed that many times there were four footprints in the sand as the walk of life progressed. Jesus explained, “These are the times when we walked together. The times you shared your life with me, and I stood beside you every step.” But the man became troubled when he noticed that in his most painful, dark times of life there was only one set of footprints. He questioned the Lord as to why he had been abandoned and left to walk those times alone. Jesus explained these times, also. “My child, the reason that you see only one set of footprints is because those were the times I lifted you into my arms and carried you because you could not walk alone.” All was explained to the man except the occasional places along life’s walk where there seemed to be many footprints going in all directions in a hectic pattern in the sand. Jesus smiled and replied, “My son, these are the times when we danced!”

This Easter, remember those marvelous occasions when you have rejoiced in life. Those overwhelmingly happy moments of life when your Lord “danced” with you! Take every opportunity to put on your dancing shoes!

PRAYER: Father – Help me to remember with joy marvelous moments in life, and help me now to “dance” with wonder at the blessing you give me.

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Questions for Jesus

1. When you said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,” did you remember that there was no room in the Bethlehem inn?

2. When you helped Joseph in the carpenter’s shop, did you think of the wood of the manger? Did you think of the cross?

3. When you referred to yourself as the Good Shepherd, did you think of the shepherds that worshipped you at night?

4. Did the same angel that heralded your birth in the field outside Bethlehem encourage you in the Garden of Gethsemane?

5. When you were visited by the kings as a child, did you think of your throne in heaven?

6. When you debated the law with the scholars in the temple when you were twelve years old, did you remember giving the Ten Commandments to Moses of Mt. Sinai?

7. When you were baptized in the Jordan River, did you think about the time you parted the Red Sea?

8. Did you ever sit at the shore of the Sea of Galilee and remember the day ofjesus_christ_image_212 creation when you separated the water and the land?

9. When you viewed the city of Jerusalem from the hill, did you think of your second coming?

10. Did you ever eat an apple and think of the Garden of Eden?

11. Did you ever think of the ark when you rode in a boat on the Sea of Galilee?

12. Did a bowl of beans make you think of Esau’s mistake?

13. When you looked at the night sky, did you remember hanging the stars in space?

14. When you ate sweet bread, did you think about the forty years you sent the angels to spread manna on the ground in the wilderness?

15. When you saw a gold coin, did you remember the main street at home and get homesick?

16. Did you think it was funny when big-mouthed Peter sank trying to walk on water?

17. How did it feel to be Mary’s child and creator?

18. When you blessed the children of the first century did you see the children of the twenty-first century?

19. Why did you make mosquitoes?

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Stand Aside

When the Salvation Army first went to India, the British authorities were concerned about them, and issued an order that no open meetings and no parades were to be held. But Commissioner Tucker of the Salvation Army decided that order must be defied. One day the Salvation Army came marching down the street. They were met by soldiers. The officer in charge said, “In the name of her majesty, the Queen of England, I order you to disperse.” But Tucker replied, “In the name of the King of kings, I order you to stand aside.” They stood aside.

One day, one palm-waving day, Jesus marched right into Jerusalem, the Holy City, and said to everything unholy, “Stand aside.” And he is calling Palm Sundayus to join him in the parade, and to say to every form of hatred, bigotry, ignorance and apathy, “Stand aside,” and when we dare to do it those things will stand aside. His kingdom will live in us, and we will help spread his rule in his world.

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Crucified with Christ

            I am a nameless criminal.  Greed controlled my life and evil claimed my soul.  My crimes were eventually detected, and I was arrested by the Romans.  My fate was sealed and my crucifixion date was set.

            On that horrible day, just before Passover, three of us were taken to the place of crucifixion.  As we hung suspended in torment on thosegoodfrib crude Roman crosses, I became aware of the man next to me on the middle cross.  While the life faded from our battered bodies, the third man cursed God and swore bitterly.  But through my agony, I listened to the words of the man on that middle cross.  He prayed as his mother and friends mourned for him.  It occurred to me that my parents had long since cried their last tears of grief and shame for me.  I was alone.  But the man in the middle spoke words of comfort to his mother, words of forgiveness to his executioners, and words of oneness with God.  And suddenly I knew.  My childhood teachings became clear.  This was the Messiah!  This man was the Lamb of God!

            I rebuked the third man to try and silence his foul mouth and tried to tell him who was dying between us.  In tortuous pain, as my life drained from my body, I managed to turn my head toward the Messiah and ask Him to take me to heaven.

            In that one miracle moment, I was changed from a man judged by man and condemned to die to a man judged by God Almighty and pardoned to eternal life.  I was changed form a filthy, bloody, broken criminal to a clean, whole ransomed soul.  I was changed from a man all alone with no one to hear my cry, to a man with the Savior as my advocate and friend.  My heart of fear changed to a heart of peace.  My guilt became innocence.  One moment I was a prisoner, the next I was free.  I was cursed, then I was blessed.  My hopelessness was gone and was replaced by the hope of glory.

            Much more than my body was crucified that day in Calvary.  My sin was.  I was crucified with Christ and received everlasting life.  Your sin was crucified that day – the day Christ died.  That day, just outside the city walls of Jerusalem, he died for all of us.  That day we were all forgiven.

            “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives with me.”  Galatians 2:20

Monica Boudreaux

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Day 24–March 17

Mark in Forty Days

This year I am reading through the Gospel of Mark during the forty days of Lent. My suggested plan is that you do these readings in Lectio Divina  format.

Today’s reading

Mark 10:17-34

Prayer Thought

As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

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Come Away

 

Prayer Retreat

 

“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”

—Jesus

As we continue our Lenten journey there is no better time to heed the call of Jesus to “come away to a deserted place” than the Lenten season. All of us need these times of solitude to take stock of ourselves. The world in which we live is so hectic and busy that it generates precious little time for soul care. Jesus understood that He and the disciples were going about doing many great things and yet, going to a deserted place was a matter of necessity. Lent is the season of deserted places.

As we steer our lives in the other worldly path of self- denial, we automatically find that it is a less traveled road. Perhaps we can take advantage of that reality and spend some quality time with God. After all, practices of self-denial are designed to make us keenly aware of our need for God. Instead of counting the minutes or seconds of silent prayer relish the time. Conceivably your time of fasting can be used to take a quiet walk and experience God’s creation in a special way. When you give offerings to the needy, pause a moment to take yourself to a quiet place and see the person you are helping through the eyes of their Creator. These can be simple ways of coming away to a quiet place without ever traveling.

The whole concept of Lent is one of coming away to the quiet place of your soul. I hope you are having a Holy Lent and traveling towards a joyous Easter.

As we continue our Lenten journey there is no better time to heed the call of Jesus to “come away to a deserted place” than the Lenten season. All of us need these times of solitude to take stock of ourselves. The world in which we live is so hectic and busy that it generates precious little time for soul care. Jesus understood that He and the disciples were going about doing many great things and yet, going to a deserted place was a matter of necessity. Lent is the season of deserted places.

As we steer our lives in the other worldly path of self- denial, we automatically find that it is a less traveled road. Perhaps we can take advantage of that reality and spend some quality time with God. After all, practices of self-denial are designed to make us keenly aware of our need for God. Instead of counting the minutes or seconds of silent prayer relish the time. Conceivably your time of fasting can be used to take a quiet walk and experience God’s creation in a special way. When you give offerings to the needy, pause a moment to take yourself to a quiet place and see the person you are helping through the eyes of their Creator. These can be simple ways of coming away to a quiet place without ever traveling.

The whole concept of Lent is one of coming away to the quiet place of your soul. I hope you are having a Holy Lent and traveling towards a joyous Easter.

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Ash Wednesday and Lent

Lent is about mortality and transformation. We begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday with the sign of the cross smeared on our foreheads with ashes as the words are spoken over us, “Dust thou art, and to dust thou wilt return.” We begin this season of Lent not only reminded of our death, but also marked for death.

ash_wednesday picThe Lenten journey, with its climax in Holy Week and Good Friday and Easter, is about participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Put somewhat abstractly, this means dying to an old identity—the identity conferred by culture, by tradition, by parents, perhaps—and being born into a new identity—an identity centered in the Spirit of God. It means dying to an old way of being, and being born into a new way of being, a way of being centered once again in God.

Put slightly more concretely, this path of death and resurrection, of radical centering in God, may mean for some of us that we need to die to specific things in our lives—perhaps to a behavior or a pattern of behavior that has become destructive or dysfunctional; perhaps to a relationship that has ended or gone bad; perhaps to an unresolved grief that needs to be let go of; perhaps to a career or job that has either been taken from us or that no longer nourishes us; or perhaps even we need to die to a deadness in our lives.

You can even die to deadness, and this dying is also oftentimes a daily rhythm in our lives—that daily occurrence that happens to some of us as we remind ourselves of the reality of God in our relationship to God; that reminder that can take us out of ourselves, lift us out of our confinement, take away our feeling of being burdened and weighed down.

That’s the first focal point of a life that takes Jesus seriously: that radical centering in the Spirit of God that is at the very center of the Christian life.

—Dr. Marcus Borg

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The Lenten Observance

The 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday, going through Holy Week, and ending on the Saturday before Easter is the season of Lent. The six Sundays occurring during Lent are not counted as the 40 days since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

Originating in the 4thLent 2015 century of the Church, the season is marked by a time of prayer and preparation to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter. Many biblical events are associated with the number 40, but Lent is most commonly connected to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for his ministry as he faced the temptations that could lead him to abandon his mission.

Christians today use this period of time for meditation, introspection, and repentance. The Church usually marks the season by prayer, fasting, and charitable giving. It is a time for the Church to focus on prayer, penance, and repentance as we acknowledge our need for God’s grace. All of this is a preparation to celebrate Christ’s atonement and resurrection of Easter.

The last week of Lent is Holy Week. During this holiest time of the liturgical year, the Church relives the final week of Christ’s life. On Palm Sunday, believers celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus in Jerusalem. On Maundy Thursday, we revisit the Last Supper, while on Good Friday we recall the passion and crucifixion of the Lord.

Lent is about what Christ gave the world – salvation. The observation of Lent is a way to place ourselves humbly before God as we confess our inadequacies, strip ourselves of pretense, and open our souls before God to receive His grace.

We are part of a continuous line of Christians who have celebrated for 2000 years the One who was born in poverty, lived sinlessly, died on a cross, and rose from the dead. Jesus secured us a place in the Kingdom of God – here and now, and eternally in heaven. He opened wide the doors of kingdom – living in today’s world. He offers peace beyond our dreams, joy beyond our expressions, wisdom beyond our understanding and accomplishments beyond our abilities.

Lent gives us 40 days to prepare for a joyous Easter response to grace.

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Teresa of Avila #1

Teresa of Avila

 

“If, then, you sometimes fall, do not lose heart, or cease striving to make progress, for even out of your fall God will bring good, just as a man selling an antidote will drink poison before he takes it in order to prove its power.”

~ Teresa of Avila ~

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The Beacon of the Cross

Easter Sunday is past, but the story remains. The mystical story of life over death gives us hope and victory and rests our souls.

Christ is risen!

                                  He is risen indeed!

Harry Emerson Fosdick tells this story: Some years ago a little church on the coast of England was ruined in a hurricane. The congregation thought themselves unable to rebuild. Then one day a representative of the British Admiralty came to the clergyman to ask if they intended to reconstruct the church. The clergyman explained why they could not do it. “Well,” said the representative of the British navy, “if you do not rebuild the church we will. That spire is on all our charts and maps. It is the landmark by which the ships of the seven seas steer their course.” A true parable, that! Never more than now, when the souls of men need divine help, stable and secure, strong, Cross and sreeplesustaining, and empowering, is the church’s message needed.

Though the hurricane of hell brought the sins of the world down upon the body of Christ, crushing the life from Him, that body was rebuilt on Easter. Today, the spire of the cross stands as our chart and map. Calvary’s cross is the landmark by which the church and its followers steer their course.

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