Unraveled

Living Life in Real Time

My Thoughts for you on Easter Sunday April 24, 2011

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Easter Sunday is the Feast of the Resurrection.  This is the feast that reminds us to move from one kind of existence to another that brings us back to our center in Christ.

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On this Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Easter Sunday is the reason we have a Savior born in Bethlehem, it’s the whole meaning for the events of the cross and the moment the tomb reveals.  It’s on this Easter morning we find the tomb empty of death.  We know the whole truth now.  Death is not the end, and life as we know it is only the beginning of LIFE.  There is no suffering that we can not rise from if we live a life centered on Christ.

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On this magnificent Easter morning we gather in this place to remember the day the world changed.  For the better.

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The stone rolled away.  The tomb was empty.  Heaven sent its messengers to declare,

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“He is not here; he has risen!”   Matthew 28:6

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.And the world changed for the better.   On this day we celebrate what the rest of the world forgets:  the glory of a risen
Savior and the basic goodness of life itself.  Everything else is a pale shadow to the real thing.  Help me be ever mindful of seeking to live a life free from the shadows and in full view of Christ.

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My Thoughts for you on Saturday of Holy Week April 23, 2011

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Holy Saturday is a day that really gets lost in all the other events surrounding Easter.  There are no public ceremonies, there are no particular liturgies to give cause to the sense of waiting.  The churches are dark, the pews are empty, the music ceases.  As I think to what it must have been like on that very first Saturday after Jesus’ crucifixion, there is a sense of silence.  There is a sense of loss.  There is a sense of emptiness.

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Everyone one of us who have walked the earth has known the silence of Holy Saturday.  At some point in our lives we all become keenly aware of the power of overwhelming loss when life as we know it changes, when hope dies on a Good Friday.  It is only then that we can understand the purpose of Holy Saturday.

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The power of Holy Saturday is to bring us to a “mature” faith that is not about counting our blessings; instead it’s about dealing with darkness and growing in our hope of better things to come.  Without Holy Saturdays in our lives none of us would really ever “grow up” spiritually.  Today we come face to face with the question we try so hard to avoid the rest of our lives.  “Have we been abandoned?”, “Are we left on our own in the world?”, “Why is this happening to me?”, “Is this all there is going to be?”

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Hope is a slippery and often fleeting feeling.  However it is the spiritual discipline that makes us certain of only one thing…in the end, whatever happens will be resolved only by doing the will of God, now matter how much we try to bend it and hammer it make it happen on our own.  There is hope that on this Holy Saturday we can begin to see the world as God sees the world.  Then loss becomes gain and in the silence we hear a very clear message from God.

“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:2-3

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May the silence and solemnness of this day prepare us for the wonder and joy of the day that lies ahead.

 

My Thoughts for You on Friday of Holy Week April 22, 2011

Filed under: My Best This Week — Unraveled @ 10:53 am
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After all the glory of Holy Thursday with being together for a meal, washing of the feet, and promise of a new way…the scene dramatically changes. If you lived in Jesus’ time and just happened to go to bed early on Thursday night you might not know that on Thursday night Jesus was found in the Garden and arrested.

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Then comes Friday.  Friday of Holy Week, or Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary and what has to be the saddest day of the year.  It’s when we find Jesus accused, jailed, judged and executed…all in a day.

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For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

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I think about what it must have been like to be in the crowd as you watched the events unfold.  The same people who stood waving palm branches only a few days ago, now stood with a crowd ready to condemn. How quickly our motives shift when the popular vote swings in the opposite direction.

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It seems now the question moves from am I willing to sit at the table with Jesus and allow Him to wash my feet?  Instead it becomes “Am I willing to follow Jesus to the cross?”

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We believe, yes, but often remotely.  We follow, yes, but at arm’s length, at a nice comfortable distance.  For most of us our commitment to follow isn’t the kind that jeopardizes relationships or social standings.  Our commitment to follow isn’t the kind that people would probably recognize at all.  We move through the motions of Good Friday as if it were something to watch, something to realize with a gasp, something to give a sympathetic glance.  But nothing really serious.

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Good Friday calls us back and gives us a new edge to the life-changing dimension of these days.  It reminds us that we, too, live in the loss of Jesus who came, went and will come again.  We live in the loss of the one who was born, died and will rise again.  The cross that we find on Good Friday wets the need for Jesus to return to our own lives.  It wets the need for Him meet us in our every day, to be there urging us on in the midst of our distractions and to keep us keenly aware of what our spiritual life is meant to be about.

 

My Thoughts for You on Thursday of Holy Week April 21, 2011

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It’s the second part of Holy week where we see the price to be paid for bringing the reign of God to a world where the self is in the center.

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The Thursday of the Holy Week is associated with the Last Supper. The day is known as Maundy Thursday, or, Holy Thursday. It is the day before crucifixion. On this day Jesus had his supper, his last course, with his disciples. In the words of Matthew:
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“…Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it , and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying,” Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  Matthew 26:26

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“Do this in remembrance of me…”  Luke 22:19

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The Holy Communion of Maundy Thursday is tied to the theme of remembering.  As Jesus and his disciples followed the instructions in the Torah to remember God’s acts of deliverance in their history as they shared the Passover meal together, so Jesus calls us to remember the new act of deliverance in our history that unfolds on these last days of the Holy week.

It was also at this last meal together that Jesus models a new kind of servant-leadership.

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“…Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…”  John 13:10-17

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He gave Himself to save, to free, not to dominate.  He models in Maundy Thursday a new kind of authority that ministers to others rather than waiting to be served by them.

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Our Lord knew what was coming, and still offered Himself freely on our behalf.  Let this Holy Thursday remind you of changed lives and a promise of things to come.  Will I accept what I have been given?  Will I become all that I am meant to be?


 

My Thoughts for You on Wednesday of Holy Week April 20, 2011

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On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem to shouts of praise. On Monday, he confronted fruitless faith in the temple. On Tuesday, he sealed his fate in confrontations with the religious leaders. On the Wednesday the tempo of the Holy Week increases. This is the day widely known for it is the day when Judas Iscariot, a disciple turned betrayer agreed to show the chief priests where they could easily capture Jesus.

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Judas was capable, responsible, practical, driven, and intelligent. He could have been something really special. Instead, his name will forever be linked with betrayal, and his life ended in a tragic suicide.

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On this Holy Wednesday Jesus tells the disciples:

“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Judas never “bought into” Jesus – not fully, anyway. Judas wanted a Messiah according to his own ideas and timetable. What a tragedy to waste all of his potential with impatience, greed, and arrogance.

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Judas’ story causes me to pause and reflect.  How well do I know and follow God’s calling in my life, and trust His timetable?

 

My Thoughts for You on Tuesday of Holy Week April 19, 2011

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Jesus has an incredible sense of timing.  His confrontation with the religious leaders reaches its climax on this day – but that’s OK.  It’s time.  It’s on this Tuesday of the Holy Week when the famous incident between Jesus and Pharisees is thought to have taken place. This was when the churchmen tried to trap Jesus into making a blasphemous, remarks.

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“And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things…”(Matthew 21:23-27)

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This day is important also on another count. Jesus discoursed to his disciples on the Mount of Olives about the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs of the last day.

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 “Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”    Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” ”  John 13:36

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We’ve come so far from the celebration of Palm Sunday.  How many times have we had those days where everything we did was in question and people were just waiting for us to slip up.  Jesus knows what it’s like to have a long day.  These opening days of Holy week remind us again of how Jesus understands our trials, our challenges, our suffering and He is there when we call.  It’s a reminder that there is life at the at the cross.  There is nothing to doubt, because the best is yet to come.

 

My Thoughts for You on Monday of Holy Week April 18, 2011

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Monday of the Holy Week is not a major feast. The cleansing of the temple in the Holy City of Jerusalem is thought to have taken place on this Monday. This was when Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers, saying to them: ” It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; But you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew: 21:13

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I hazard to guess how many times my priorities been out of line while trying my best to do the work of Christ.  I can think of specific times where Jesus has come into my little world and essentially “turned over my tables” to get my attention to the bigger work He has in mind.

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Many people have described the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached as an “upside down kingdom.” A kingdom where the rich became poor, so the poor could become rich.  A kingdom where the foolish confound the wise; where the weak are strong; where life comes from death.  A kingdom where the proud are humbled and the humble are exalted.  A kingdom where the last will be first; and the first will be last.

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What needs to be overturned in your life for God’s purpose to have first place?