Friday, December 5, 2014

Maranatha!

This Christmas Season Christ has already come and is coming anew. Our Messiah will do more than we ask or can even imagine. Too many times, as Advent (year after year) seems to come and go, I get wrapped up in my so-called busy life, and don’t take the time for Christ. This year I am going to make sure I am not “too busy” to answer God’s call and to prepare a place for him. This year I am going to raise my expectations and not simply reflect on Christ’s past comings, but to remember that Christ is alive and present here and now. This Advent I am going to stop, pause,
and welcome Christ anew in my life as I pray, “Maranatha, Maranatha, Come, Oh Lord, and set me free!”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advent Thoughts

Each year in early December we celebrate three advents. The original coming of Jesus into the world - the third when he returns as the King of Glory and - the second in the NOW as he is born in us and shines through us today. Celebrate all three! GHT

Advent Thoughts

Though stores have had Christmas decorations up since the day after Halloween, though the world seems more focused on good sales than good news, though exams and performances and traditions and parties make this one of the busiest times of year, our faith invites us this week to be still and know that God is near. - From D365.org

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent Thoughts - Day 3

Psalm 130:5-8 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Advent engages us in the discipline of 'waiting'. Something most of us are not very good at. We want what we want and we want it NOW. But the Biblical story of God's work in the world includes a lot of waiting. The Promised One of the Older Testament does not appear quickly. Four hundred years of silent waiting separate the older from the newer segments of God's word. Galatians 4:4 tells us that God waited to send Jesus until the time was exactly right. So this Christmas while we spend the next twenty two days waiting - let's lean into it. Let's embrace it. God what is it that I can learn from you this week as I wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus?

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2 - Advent Thoughts

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town
And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold
It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love
Labor of Love -- Andrew Peterson
I'm sure Josef Mohr meant well when he wrote the words to Silent Night back in 1816. It is after all a lovely Christmas carol. Trouble is - it's just not real. The idyllic scene he painted was certainly lovely. But what happened on that first Christmas night was anything but perfect. This Christmas when life gets messy and loud and chaotic - remember that Joseph and Mary and the newborn would also have been surrounded by noise, from barnyard animlas to the clamoring cries of childbirth. In a way I'm glad it wasn't a silent night long ago in Bethlehem. After all we live in a noisy chaotic broken world which is why Christmas happened in the first place. God was invading our space with the light of his love. Jesus: love with skin on it!
GHT

Friday, April 4, 2014

Station 14 - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Station 14 - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. (Luke 23:53-56 NLT)
So they take his lifeless body down and lay it in a borrowed tomb. He is gone. In fact they take the limp 33 year old body and wrap it in haste. The Sabbath is fast approaching so they only take time to partially embalm it. They'll come back on Sunday morning to finish the job. He's not going anywhere. Sadness descends.
So Lord Jesus - even though we know this is not really the end of your story - we will leave you here for now. Humanly speaking we would like to rush on to the events of Sunday morning but just for now - we'll wait. We choose to feel the searing pain and loss - the sting of death. For all you did for all of us - we give you glory and honor and praise - now and forever. "We adore you Lord Jesus and we bless you, for by your very cross you have redeemed the world." Amen.

Station 13 - Jesus Dies

Station 13 - Jesus Dies
By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” (Luke 23:44-47 NLT)
It had been almost six hours now. Jesus has been hanging in the searing afternoon sun long enough for the cross to do its horrific work. The hour has come. The prisoner has no strength left. None. His legs and arms are now useless and there is no way he can no longer catch oven - one - more - breath. So with one last gasp he tells his Father he is coming. He gasps and breathes his last and his head drops and his life is gone…
Lord Jesus - my Savior - who by your sacrifice provided the one full perfect payment for the sins of the world - I am in awe of the price you paid for my sins. I will never be able to repay you. Except with my love. When I see the cross I cannot help but love you back! "We adore you Lord Jesus and we bless you, for by your very cross you have redeemed the world." Amen.