Category Archives: Lent

The Day After

The pastor’s words cling to my heart this day after Easter Sunday.

The stone is too heavy for me to move.  I’ve tried.  Alone.  I need Christ’s scared hands to roll it away.

The memories of yesterday’s Easter meal…. Family and friends gathered around a table.  Laughing.  Sharing. Creating memories.  Ah, they are forever noted in my mind’s eye.

Together.

This morning’s breakfast table seemed to empty.  40 lit candles are put away.  The Lenten season over.  40 scriptures and devotionals read, discussed and digested…. over.

Today’s Bible study exclaimed!  Jumped from the passages of James 4.  He gives us more grace. James 4:6

More grace.

What more do I need?  My heart broke yesterday.  My stone too heavy to move.  He gives me more grace.  His grace rolls the stone from my heart and sets my soul free.

Set free…..

Spirit of the Fruit grows.

More Grace.

I shared with a sister.  We praise.  Our stones are being pushed away.  Freedom so close.  He gives us more grace.

The choices I made during Lent.  To give away.  To give up.  To give over to Christ.  Why must I want to go back?  This thought rolls around in my tomb of a mind. I swallow the sweet sugar treat that I refrained from for 40 days.

Guilt wrestles with my heart.

Conviction.

Anger at myself.

He gives us more grace.  Why need anything else?

Give up during Lenten Season?  Why not of a life season?  Would I not be more blessed?

He gives us more Grace

I wash the wax from Granny’s platter.  Thinking.  Lost in my thoughts.  Shouldn’t I be more fruitful?

Pulling out my great grandmother’s handiwork, I spread it over the table’s center.  Hours of work from yesteryear laid across my table.

I need a reminder of a fresh day……The women who found the rolled stone and a risen Jesus…. imagine their day after Easter.  They were filled with a fresh start.  Did they fall back to their old ways?  Did they roll the stone back? Did they celebrate?  Giggle?  Laugh?  Throw up their hands and praise God? Did they become fruitful?

I pull from my cabinet my platter and teapot.  Beautiful spring colors.  Bright. Green.  Full of life.

Galatians 5:22 staring back at me.

A tuck of a spring flower and a handcrafted bird…. new spring life sprouted in my heart.

Yes, be fruitful.  Yes, to a life season.  Yes, to more…..

He gives us more grace.

God bless……

 

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Holy Week

He’s begged to light the candles.

My dear man-child counts down to the last one.  The tiny wicks bursting into light.  38 lit…… 2 more to go!  His childlike excitement amazes me still.

Does he understand the heaviness of this evening’s meal?  Does he understand true betrayal?  I pray he never does.  Does he understand the meaning of service, humble service?  I pray he will, if he doesn’t already.  Does he understand the heritage from Exodus?  I pray tonight he will.

He helps me set the table.  We set the plate of hope in the center along with the candles.  The unleavened bread to remind us of Jesus breaking bread with His disciples.  The grapes to be reminded of the service and to be fruitful.  The Goodwill treasure, the goblet, a symbol of our communion of “take, drink.”

Mom, can I lift it up to God like Bro. Stephen?

You may.

I watch him cup the marble goblet within his man-child hands.  He lifts it with such honor.  Over his body as an offering to God.  Isn’t that what we are to do with everything?  Our pain, struggles, happiness, joy?  Lift them in honor and offer them to God.

The matzo ball soup is served and we are gathered around the meal.  I read from Exodus.  We remember the plagues and the first Passover.  We talk of the heritage.  The reason God wants us to remember.

The Lamb of God.

Slain.

For us.

So we may be passed over and carried into heavenly freedom.

Death, the separation of God, passed over our souls…..all because of the Lamb of God.

Do we truly understand the love poured out  of this week?

 

 

Sermon in a Potato Chip Bag

Teachings of humility…. That’s this week’s Bible readings.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

  “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14

Humble yourself before God.  Don’t have the attitude of “being all that.”

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:24-28

Humble yourself to serve others.

If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.  But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:9-11

Humble yourself by taking the backseat.

I ask around the lighted candles, “What does it mean to be humble?”

Respect each other.

To serve others.

To put others before you.

The mother-teacher in me had to take it a little further….. I think it is an attitude.  You can’t go around thinking you are all that and a bag of chips.

Mark pipes in…… Because you will find out that you are really just a crumb in the bottom of the bag.

God Bless…..

 

Why Do This?

16 pounds of small Pink Lady apples….

I stand over a bowl peeling.  The sweet aroma tickled my nose.  Will heaven smell this sweet?

My hands ached and stained brown from the acidity of the juice.  The sticky remains of the juice adorned itself along my arms and elbows.  Sweet juicy apples… fragrant and succulent.

I was asked “Why do this if you can’t even type the next day?”  Carpal tunnel braces are the newest fashion craze.

They’re family. I love each one.  I got the chance to pray for each person.  I peeled and I prayed.

Glancing down at my brace and at the brown stain remains, I realize in a day I will heal and my hands will return to normal; but, my love will remain the same.  Strong. Heartfelt. 

My stomach grumbled.  I pushed thoughts of sugar laced candies and greasy burgers to the pit from which they arose.  My mind groggy from lack of refined sugar and my addiction screamed panic into my thoughts.

Why do this?

Day two and the human flesh of my being questioned me.  Day two and I want to throw my commitment through the door.

Why do this thing called Lent?

I’m human and often  I tell myself, a failure.  Thirty-eight days lay before me.  I feel so overwhelmed. I want to give in.  I push through the day.  Praying every moment the sneaky thought of cheating reared.

The morning came….. Day 3’s dawn.  Three candles lit.  A Bible passage studied. A devotional read.  And strength beyond me was felt.

Why Do This?

His body pierced.  Bled.  Pain shot through Him.  His humanness never weakened His spirit.

My body feels hunger pains that pierce through my inner self and bleeds for emotional wounds to heal.  My weakness is laced with my humanness….and it weakens my spirit.

Why do this?

The Man God suffered because of sin. The Son of God died to save me.

My sin makes me suffer.  Food will never save me.  Cheating and living in the moment will never save me.  The daily portion of God will save me.  His word spoken by my mouth feeds my soul.

Why do this?

The Man God’s body healed.  His blood stained body returned in such beauty.  He left this world whole.  But His love remains.

Why? It isn’t a matter of giving up, fasting from things I think I need. It is a matter of reaching for and grasping onto God’s love.

May God bless you…….

 

Cheerful Morning

I woke praying this morning.  My cat purred away as my spaniel nudged my hand for his morning belly scratch.

Thank You, God.

I laid there listening to the early birds sing to the new morning.  My big boy labs barking and alarm clocks sounding throughout the house.  Shaking us all awake from our sleep.

Thank You, God.

My heart has grown grateful over the past few weeks.  I arose knowing that today, from the ashes, a new me has been freed.

Today, Ash Wednesday, I am anointed to seek a “right spirit” and to leave the distractions behind.  Those distractions clearly have prevented me to be truly free.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Thank You, God.

The lighting of one single candle within the 40 seems so dim.  Alone.  Afraid.  Like my heart.  As the days of Lent unfold,  I trust and thirst hard for God.  Lighting more and more candles….. strengthening the light to burn brighter.

Like my faith, my soul, my fragile heart….. Christ’s light burning brighter within me.

Thank You, God.