What was it like for the first disciples?
What was it like to live on that first Holy Saturday when all hope is gone, when all that we love is lost, when God is dead?
We know the end of the story.
We know of resurrection, so we do not wish to dwell in this dark place.
We want to rush on to Easter Sunday, when life returns.
And yet this year, at this time, we are living on Holy Saturday, spending our time in the dark and conflicted places of Golgotha and Gethsemane.
But we are an Easter people.
We know that while we may be living in the pause of Holy Saturday. .
Easter Sunday is coming.
Thanks be to God.
Lord Jesus help me to wait here in the in-between of Holy Saturday.
For I cannot help but rejoice-you have come! And yet still I grieve-for the world still waits-you have yet to come.
Lord Jesus help me to pray here in the in-between of Holy Saturday.
For you are risen and I can’t, won’t, don’t ,want to forget it-
And yet I mourn with those who still wait for your kingdom’s fullness of peace , hope and justice.
Lord Jesus help me to live here in the in-between of Holy Saturday.
For your kingdom has come and is yet to come.
And I, in some small way, hope to build –with you- all things new.
“Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured.” (Isaiah 53:4)
This is the day when we, the Church, gather in darkness to remember and to mourn the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Let his pain affect you.
Carry his burden with him.
Let your heart break with his.
As Christ dies, we know that it is our death which extinguishes his life. Our death is wrapped up in his arms as he dies. So, in hearing this story once again, may you be taken in, and walk in the way of the cross with Jesus.
This is the day when life is raw,
The Day of numbed emotions,
the day of blunt nails and splintered wood,
of bruised flesh and red blood.
The day we loathe, when hopes are crushed.
The day we long for, when pretenses fall away --
Because the worst that we can do
cannot kill the love of God.
Your love is a light in our darkness,
vulnerable, yet unquenchable.
We would stand with Christ,
in the midst of the horrors of this world
where betrayal and death
constantly threaten your love and peace.
“But if I washed your feet…then you must wash each other’d feet. (John 13:14)
Why did you wash their feet? I don’t understand, it makes no sense.
Why did you do something so demeaning, so distasteful, when you did not have to?
Why humble yourself and wash the feet of your own disciples?
You are the Messiah,
it makes no sense for you, of all people, to do something that should be done by the least of all people, not by the greatest.
It is not what we want our Messiah to do. Unless…
Unless we have got it wrong and that, somehow this is a measure of what Messiah means? Not that it is defined in greatness but that somehow, in your world the first will be last, and the greatest, least and servant of all?
But if we are to follow you, does it mean that we must follow your example too? Are you suggestion that we too should make ourselves humble? That we must wsh the feet of the people whom we would rather ignore or scapegoat, or deride?
Holy one, by the power of your Spirit you anointed your only son Messiah and Lord of creation. You have given us a share in his priestly service in your church. Help us to be faithful witnesses in the world to the salvation Christ won for all humankind. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. (Mat 26:14-16)
Jesus’s reaction to his betrayal is strange in our ears, but also resonates. When have we felt betrayed perhaps by a close friend? Jesus loved his disciples, and Judas was one of them. Part of Jesus’s heaviness over being betrayed was surely over not only his loss, but the loss that his “friend” experienced, Judas. And yet at the same time in some mysterious way this was all in fulfillment of the prophets. This surely is not about God preprogramming everything to happen in just a certain way, but working out his plan even through the evil that will take place.
Jesus was betrayed, and we surely have felt some betrayal in our lives, which maybe is trivial in comparison. And we too have betrayed Jesus at certain points. And yet he keeps reaching out to us as friend. Even as Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, how might we have done something of the same in our lives? Remember that Peter himself denied knowing Jesus, but unlike Judas, Peter repented. Judas sadly did not, but in remorse hung himself.
Ted M. Gossard
Lord God, We tremble to think that it was one of Jesus’ own friends who betrayed him, One who sat by him and broke bread with him. Give us strength we pray to walk faithfully with Jesus, even when the road we walk is rocky, even when the message of the cross seems foolishness, even when we feel betrayed. You Lord are always faithful. We stumble, become lost, but you are steady and sure. Give us the grace to endure our troubles and reveal to us the glory of your kingdom. Through your son Jesus Christ. Amen.
“I tell you solemnly, one of you will betray me! (John 13:21)
Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark kneeled down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked, Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with the girlfriend.
They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long –awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk. Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mother’s sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life. “
Every little hello, every little smile, every helping hand saves a hurting heart. Pass it on.
All powerful God, strengthen and protect us in our weakness. Help us to know that you do not leave us to our own devices but surround us in love. Amen.
‘Then she dried his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment’s fragrance.” (John 12:3)
Mary’s anointing is a prophetic act that is both a sign of Jesus’ kingship and its formal announcement. Anointing with oil or perfume had many purposes in antiquity. For kings and priests, anointing meant consecration for a specific purpose. The sick were anointed as a ritual of healing and the dead anointed for burial. Theoretically, Mary’s act could have meant any of these things. Jesus’ response adds an additional layer to our understanding of Mary’s actions. She has anointed his body for burial.
The story of Mary’s anointing stands in contrast to the idea of many Christians today that what matters most is belief in Jesus-and by belief we mean conscious, doctrinal understanding of Jesus. Mary’s faithful action is different. John does not tell us what she believes, and it seems beyond human comprehension that she could understand all that will happen to Jesus, and all that her actions evoke. Yet we see her enact a faith that resonates deeply with what we know of Jesus’ kingship and his death.
Most gracious and loving God, there are times in our lives when being extravagant is the only way we can express the profoundness of our love, the depth of our thankfulness and our continuing desire for more of you. So God, please accept the wastefulness of our worship of you. Amen.