Dipping Hyssop

AnimFireStarter

When the four evangelists wrote the Gospels, they often found connections with stories of our Hebrew ancestors. This was especially true of the Exodus. It was like connecting a tin-can telephone from events in the Exodus, to what happened in the life of Jesus.

St. John was especially tuned into this. An incident from the Exodus was “speaking” through the tin can and string to the other can pressed against our ear. What happened to Jesus was listened to in connection with God speaking and acting centuries earlier in our sacred history.

St. John did this with hyssop. This is a wild flower that has fine hairs at the tip. Moses told the Hebrews to dip hyssop into the blood of the Paschal Lamb and spread it on their doorways so that the Angel of Death would pass over. St. John said that hyssop was dipped into sour wine and spread it on Jesus’s lips. Right after this, he died. His death meant that death would “pass over” us! St. John wanted the death of Jesus to be listened to as connected to the story of Passover. Alleluia!

Exodus 12:21-51

“Bible Breaths” – Touch to learn more…


Saturdays are dedicated to the Torah Portions
read along with synagogues throughout the world.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

 

 

The Day Jesus Died

AnimFireStarter

Here is a plan to make this day very special as we all recall the hour-by-hour events that led to Jesus’ death. Jesus died for you and me that we might live. There are two chapters in the Gospel of St. John that tell about the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus. So that you can read and pray over these events a little at a time, I have divided the events into four parts of the day. In this way, you can be close to Jesus, because the scenes in the trial and death take place about the times of the day when we are reading them.

Since the first disciples ran far from Jesus and left him very much alone, your thinking about what happened to Jesus will keep you close to him. Pray also for all those throughout the world who continue to suffer and die at the hands of evil people. Your prayer will help to apply God’s love and grace to them which comes from Jesus’ great love for all of us on the cross.

1) Rising: The Arrest of Jesus, His Trial and the Denial of Peter.
John 18:1-27
2) 9 am: Jesus and Pilate   John 18:28-40
3) 12 Noon: Scourging, Crowning with Thorns, Crucifixion John 19:1-30
4) 3 pm: Death and Burial of Jesus John 19:31-42

John 18:1-19:42
“Bible Breaths – Touch to learn more…

For a one-page pdf file of Bible Breaths for the first four weeks of Lent, with four examples for each day, touch here.


Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels.
During Lent and Easter, we read the Gospel of John.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

All About Love

AnimFireStarter

This is a very famous chapter in the Bible. Many times it is read at weddings. It is about what true love is like. It’s also interesting to notice that the name of God is never mentioned. That is because God is love!

To understand the thought of St. Paul here, you have to read slowly—not just with the mind, but with the heart. If you ask God to help you understand, God will surely do that.

Today is called Holy or Maundy Thursday. It is the day that Jesus’s love comes through, even though it’s the day when Jesus was betrayed by Judas. We remember the Last Supper when Jesus gave us the precious gift of his body and blood present by faith in the bread and wine. The Apostles became scared and ran away when Jesus was betrayed in the garden. Knowing that this was going to happen, Jesus still gave them the sacred food of his own life. He gives us this same food so that we can know that even when we turn away from God, the love of Jesus in Holy Communion is there to welcome us back.

1 Corinthians 13

“Bible Breaths” – Touch to learn more…


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament except the Gospels.
In the season of Lent this year,
we read St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians and 1 Corinthians 11:23–13:13.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Imagination—Gift from God

AnimFireStarter

We are in the middle of the most sacred week of the year: Holy Week. We are with Jesus from the time he enters Jerusalem in triumph, to all the events that lead up to his death and burial.

Today, the middle of the week is a day of sadness, since it’s the day when Judas must have been plotting to betray Jesus. Some people call today “Spy Wednesday,” as we think about Judas spying on Jesus so that he could tell those that wanted Jesus dead, just how Judas was going to hand Jesus over to them.

Let’s pray this psalm as though it is Jesus, who must have known that something terrible was going to happen to him. Imagine Jesus praying this prayer to his loving Father. In verses 2 to 4, the sacred writer uses four images that describe God’s protection over David, Jesus and us. Can you find them? As you come upon them, spend time linking your life to these images, as your way of feeling God’s protection, just as David and Jesus did. What a gift we have in our imaginations! We can go anywhere with them and feel the connection to the images we see in our thoughts. Our imaginations are gifts from God to find God.

Psalm 61

“Bible Breaths” – Touch to learn more…


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.
During Lent across the three-year cycle,
we read the “Songs on the Journey,” Psalms 120-134.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Wonder, Awe and Silence

AnimFireStarter

As we saw last Tuesday, so today God speaks to Job with more questions that make Job stand very still in silence. His mouth hangs open just as when we are surprised and awed by something. God gently invites Job to turn his attention away from himself and his problems. God knows that only God has charge of bringing final justice to the great wrongs in the world. Only God can fully understand about the good and the bad. Remember how Adam and Eve in the garden were forbidden to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? To eat the fruit from that tree would mean we could completely understand good and evil. . . and we just can’t!

God invites Job to consider some wonderful animals. Let’s do the same with our pets, animals and birds around the house. Get lost in wonder at them and like Job, you’ll notice that you won’t be so worried about what might be happening in your life. Take a look at God’s wonderful creatures . . . and be silent.

“Bible Breaths” – Touch to learn more…


Tuesdays are dedicated to the Writings in the Hebrew Scriptures, those books with the exception of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible)
the Prophets and the Psalms.
In the season of Lent, we read from the Book of Job.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

God’s Faithful Love

AnimFireStarter

When I see the sun and moon rise and setting right on schedule, I feel peace something like Jeremiah in today’s reading. He invites us to find the never-changing laws of day and night to be reminders that the faithful covenant of God’s love and protection will always last.

It wasn’t until I was much older in life that I began to enjoy the phases of the moon. The tiny crescent in the evening sky begins each month for Jewish and Islamic peoples. Each day the moon rises about 45 minutes later, getting bigger and bigger in the evening sky until two weeks later when the full moon rises as the sun sets. Then the moon becomes smaller and smaller through the next nights until in about twelve days, you can see it as a tiny crescent just before dawn. Then it “disappears” for a few days while it passes in front of the sun, reappearing in the evening sky as the crescent of the next new moon.

Like the sun and the moon, God’s love is always with us.

Jeremiah 33:19-26

Touch to learn about BibleBreaths.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Lent, we read from the prophet Jeremiah.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Loyal to Jesus

Palm Sunday

AnimFireStarter

Jesus doesn’t ride into Jerusalem on one of those great horses that victorious generals of the Roman army use. Rather he sits on a simple donkey. Blend in with the crowd; catch their happiness. They throw down olive and palm branches to make a special path for Jesus to walk upon. They experienced Jesus’s love for children and those pushed aside in life by those with power of some kind or other.

It will be a different crowd on Good Friday; they will shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

When I was a child, we had the custom in our family of taking palm branches from Palm Sunday and placing them on the top of holy pictures on the walls of our home. They were a constant reminder during the year to stay loyal to Jesus. I suggest you do the same. Keep the branches near your eyes each day in the coming year so that you won’t abandon Jesus and forget his love. Remember to love Jesus in those who aren’t very attractive, but who need you to find the joy of being loved.

Mark 11:1-10

Learn about “Bible Breaths” Touch here.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospel.
From this Sunday on and through the season of Easter, we read the Gospel of John, except today on Palm Sunday.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick