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Scripture

Matthew 26: 57-60  images (10)

57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.  58 But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.

59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death,  60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.

 

Reflection

I had a great Aunt named Lillie Mae.   She grew up in Philadelphia and her father was an alcoholic.  Finally, her mother threw her father out of the house, so bad was his drinking.  When Lillie Mae became a teenager, she got a job at a retail store in downtown Philadelphia.  She had to work at night but she was afraid of making that trip each evening.  So she would run from her house until she reached the relative safety of the bus stop.   She would learn later in life that each night she worked, her father was waiting for her in the shadows.  And as she ran to the bus stop, he would run along with her from a distance behind.

Peter deserted his Lord, but not entirely.  He followed at a distance, walking in the shadows.  He could have abandoned Jesus altogether.  And as we know, he will proceed to deny Jesus three times.  And yet, there was a measure of faithfulness in him that night as he stood by, watching.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Sometimes we can only muster up a small amount of faithfulness.

We may have failed you in many ways, but we still have that longing deep within to stick with you.

Take that mustard seed within each of us and nurture it, we pray, until our faith blossoms and we find that we can stand with you in broad daylight.

Amen

Apologies for missing my Saturday post!  Sometimes life is just like that.

Scripture

Matthew 25: 41-46images

41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;  42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’

45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

Reflection

There are consequences for our actions.  The scriptures lift these up, and perhaps none as starkly as this passage from Matthew 25 where the people are separated like the sheep and the goats.    We are all sinners of course and Christ died for us, not when we had straightened up, but while we were yet steeped in sin.   So there is boundless grace in the cross and God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.

And still, Matthew 25 paints a sharp “or else” portrait that reminds us of God’s call on our lives.   In some places, the gospels define faithfulness as confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Here, faithfulness is defined as serving one another, especially those in need.   So for those of us who need a nudge at times to care for the “least of these” (and that can include pastors at times), well, here we go.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

We’re grateful for the clarity and force of your call for us to respond to the human need around us.  In the face of another’s hunger, sickness, imprisonment, loneliness, or nakedness,  spur us to action in your name.   And for the times we fail to act, forgive us, and call us again.

Amen.

Scripture

Matthew 25: 1 -13download (1)

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.   5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.

8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’  12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Reflection

Lamps — check.

Oil — check.

Coffee to stay awake — check.

What’s your checklist to prepare yourself as we delve deeper into Lent?   We’re 15 days in.   Perhaps you’ve given up a favorite thing or two, and maybe you’ve made a positive commitment to DO something this Lent.   Whatever it is, I invite you to reaffirm for yourself how you’re preparing for the cross — and for the new life beyond.

Prayer  by William O’Malley

God, my Friend,

I offer You each moment of this day

whatever comes — the unexpected challenges,

diversions from my plans,

the need-filled glance,

the expectations and complaints,

the being taken for granted,

the slights and sleights-of-hand.

I’d be grateful if You could keep me aware of my pesky habits, like . . .

And, between us, perhaps we can enliven the spirits of those I live and work with, like . . .

Whatever else befalls,

I trust we can cope with it,

together.

Amen

White Flower near Christian CrossScripture

Luke 24:1 – 12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.   They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.  

While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.   The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.   Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.   Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.   But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.  

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Prayer for the Day

Dear God,

It is early Easter morning and we make our way, along with the women, to the tomb.  We carry spices, the dew on the grass is still wet, the morning light yet dim.   We speak in soft tones about the task that is before us.  The shock of crucifixion still hangs over us.   At last, we draw close to the tomb where we had seen him laid two days before.  We suddenly stop in our tracks.  Not a word.   The stone that had been there is rolled away.  Slowly, we creep forward – and then we go in.  We shriek as those two men appear.

Their bewildering question:  “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

Their stunning proclamation:   “He is not here, but has risen.”

He has . . . risen?  He has risen!  He Has Risen!   HE HAS RISEN!

Praise God!  Praise God for new life!   Praise God for forgiveness of sin!   Praise God for making all things new!   Praise God!

We stoop to quickly pick up all the spices that we had thrown in our fright.  We scramble out of the tomb, breathing hard.

Whom shall we tell?

Amen