Holy Saturday

Luke 23:50-56

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.

On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Good Friday

Luke 23:33-34, 44-46

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Psalm 31:3-5

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
    for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

“A new sort of power will be let loose upon the world, and it will be the power of self-giving love. This is the heart of the revolution that was launched on Good Friday. You cannot defeat the usual sort of power by the usual sort of means. If one force overcomes another, it is still ‘force’ that wins. Rather, at the heart of the victory of God over all the powers of the world there lies self-giving love, which, in obedience to the ancient prophetic vocation, will give its life ‘as a ransom for many.’” (N.T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion)

Maundy Thursday

What Does “Maundy” Mean?

Derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” Maundy refers to the command Jesus gave his disciples in the Upper Room at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another.

John 13:12-17

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

From the Lectionary:

Eternal God, in the sharing of a meal your Son established a new covenant for all people, and in the washing of feet he showed us the dignity of service. Grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit these signs of our life in faith may speak again to our hearts, feed our spirits, and refresh our bodies. Amen.

Tuesday of Holy Week

On Sunday, Cory shared a lesson in singing the psalms. I thought of that as I looked over Chapter 7 on specificity in Longing to Pray. Singing scripture and praying in specifics both require one thing most of us currently have a little extra of — time.

Our heavenly Father craves relationship with us, and Holy Week is a reminder of what he was willing to give for that relationship. As you give praise or thanks to God (or talk over your problems, anxieties, and needs), use that extra time you may have. Remember the specificity of the psalmists. And don’t leave out any of the details!

Dr. Kalas writes,

I suspect this dedication to the specific might become tedious to someone whose enthusiasm is not as great as the psalmist’s. Psalm 136 was almost surely sung and/or recited antiphonally, with a leader calling out the theme line and the congregation or choir singing the response, through twenty-six verses…. It isn’t the sort of song that was written for people in a hurry. But neither is it simply a series of repetitions, except for the choral response. Indeed, that’s the sense of the specific…. It isn’t made for lazy worshipers. (p. 60)

And now for Psalm 136

Yes! All 26 verses! No singing just verses 1 and 3 for this Psalm!!! Call up a friend, wrangle a kid or spouse, and read it in the style of a good old fashioned call-and-response. Or if you’re really adventurous… FaceTime several friends and sing it with an alternating lead and chorus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

 

Monday of Holy Week

Isaiah 42:5-7

This is what God the Lord says—
   the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
      who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
      who gives breath to its people,
      and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
      I will take hold of your hand.
   I will keep you and will make you
      to be a covenant for the people
      and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
      to free captives from prison
      and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

John 12:1-8

crossSix days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Hebrews 9:13-14

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

 

prayinghands-300x209Almighty and most merciful God, from you comes every good and perfect gift. We give you praise and thanks for all your mercies. Your goodness has created us, your bounty has sustained us, your discipline has chastened us, your patience has borne with us, your love has redeemed us. Give us a heart to love and serve you, and enable us to show our thankfulness for all your goodness and mercy by giving up ourselves to your service, and cheerfully submitting in all things to your blessed will; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.  (The Book of Worship 1965)