The Day Jesus Died

A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it,
put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.
 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!”
Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 
John 19: 29-30

This is the day that Jesus died for you and for me that we might live.  These two chapters in the Gospel of St. John tell about the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus.  I suggest that you read these chapters in the time of the day when they first took place. For example, the crucifixion took place at noon and Jesus hung on the cross till 3 PM.  In this way, you can be close to Jesus as the event in his 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 are continuing to suffer and die at the hands of bad people.  Your prayer will help to apply God’s love and grace to them which comes from Jesus’s great love for all of us on the cross. 

John 18—19

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

The Gift of Communion

Holy Thursday

The fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead.
He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. 1 Corinthians v. 20

St. Paul has a very powerful faith in the resurrection of Jesus and of the resurrection of those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus.  Read slowly to catch how his ideas about the resurrection flow along.  

 The whole plan of God in Jesus’s Resurrection is not that he alone be raised, but that we be raised with him.   This is the day of remembering the great gift of Jesus to us in Holy Communion.  It’s also the day to respond to the New Commandment to love one another as Jesus has loved us which He gave us at the Last Supper.  Communion is one of the beautiful ways of sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus now.  

These are very holy days: the holiest of the year.   When I was a child we used to visit nine churches on this day.  I remember one year doing this on my bicycle.  Is this something special that you will do on this day? 

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

A Song of Victory

Here we have a psalm that is a collection of the writer’s favorite verses from psalms 57 and 60.  It’s a wonderful prayer on this middle day of Holy Week, sometimes called “Spy Wednesday,” recalling Judas’s plot against Jesus.  The psalm is a confident song of victory in the midst of trouble.  

Pray this psalm as though you are praying for the whole world that all the nations of the earth will come to adore and love their suffering King who soon will be triumphant.

Psalm 108

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My heart is steadfast, O God. v. 1

For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Holy Week.
Spring in the north.  Year C
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

From Anger to Awe

AnimFireStarter

At last we hear from God in the book of Job!  Chapter after chapter has been going on with wrangling and arguing back and forth.  Now God has the last and final word in this book.

But look what happens: instead of giving answers, God asks more questions!  God really doesn’t respond to the debates that have been going on and on in the first thirty-seven chapters of the book.  All that God does is invite Job to look out on the world and to ponder the habits of various animals–hardly an answer to Job’s questions!

Yet what this does is shift Job’s outlook on things by inviting him to get out of himself and into the beauty and wonder of the world that God has made.  This is what happens: Job feels himself placed among all the mysteries of creation which has him experience awe instead of anger.

From anger to awe…that’s a good leap to make!  As you read these beautiful words of God, what changes in your outlook on the world and upon your personal world are you called to make?     And look what happens when Job prays for his friends!

Job 40—42

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
No purpose of Yours is lost. 52:2

For more about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Holy Week
Spring in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays we read from The Book of Job.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

Love-Power

The concluding chapter of the prophet Jeremiah tells about the destruction of Babylon, the evil capital of the Babylonian Empire.  Their kings were always out to destroy God’s people.  Babylon will fall, but also so will Jerusalem, described in the final chapter.

I call your attention to a hymn of praise in the middle of all these terrible things that are being predicted.  It’s a song of praise about the power of God. It’s very important for us to remember God’s goodness and power when things around us look difficult…maybe even when they feel a little like a city under siege!  But our God is powerful because God is alive and filled with the whole energy of the universe…not like the lifeless idols who pretend to have power but which have none.

Jeremiah 51:15-19

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
The exalted are humbled 51:1ff

This is Holy Week, Year C
Mondays in Lent are dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

A Clue from a Little Horse

Let’s get a clue about Jesus from the kind of animal that he rides upon as he enters Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.  It isn’t one of those great horses with large hooves that conquerors used when they marched into a captured city.  Unfortunately, many in the crowd want Jesus to be that kind of a king.  They are hoping that one of the miracles of Jesus would be the rising of a tremendous force to drive out the Romans who were making life so hard for them.

But notice the animal…a little horse—a colt.  Jesus’ feet dangle and touch the ground!  It hardly looks like something great.  On the contrary, Jesus enters on a simple, humble animal, to express the peace and gentleness that Jesus wants to give.  The animal is the clue! Still the people want a powerful Jesus to go into the city. They shout “Hosanna, Hosanna”…But a few days later, other cries would turn into “Crucify him! Crucify him!”  

As you place yourself in the crowd, holding your palm branch and waving it, will you stay faithful to your king who will soon reign from a cross?

Luke 19:28-40

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Hosanna in the Highest! v. 37
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Today is Palm Sunday.
Spring in the north.  Year C
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Run It By Your Brain

The best way to read this passage is to hear the “update” that Jesus made of it. “Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes out into the sewer? But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight” (Matthew 15:17- 18).  

So be careful about what you say.  Run your words by your brain before your speak, to be sure that they will bring joy and comfort to another person, and not words that would upset another because your words are not coming from a loving heart.  

Who would welcome a message of love from you today?

Leviticus 15:1–33

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

Speaking only words of love

For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…