Palm Sunday April 5
Matthew 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Jesus wasn’t the only one parading into Jerusalem that day. On the other side of town, Herod rode in on a gleaming stallion, surrounded by his military, the very symbol of power and might. The two could not be more different. Jesus shows us the power of love. Love never manipulates, marginalizes, and does not destroy. Love builds up. It is what is real. Power and control are illusions.
Prayer: By your grace, O God, let your love fill me; and let my gratitude spill out to others in acts of kindness. AMEN
Do something kind for someone today – write a note, send a text, make a call, put a flower on a neighbor’s porch, say a prayer, etc.
Holy Monday April 6
John 12:3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard and anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.
This is the same Mary who saw her brother, Lazarus, raised from the dead. Mary’s gratitude to Jesus knows no bounds. Judas objects to the expensive oil used in this way, but Jesus allows it. He knows what is behind this action and what is coming. Mary has the conviction of how she wants to express to Jesus, her adoration and gratitude. She withstands Judas’ criticism of being wasteful. Mary’s faith tells her she is doing the right thing at this moment and time.
Prayer: Teach me to act, Lord with the confidence and faith of your presence. Let my actions follow my convictions. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
Think back to times in your life when your faith has been strong. Share a part of your faith journey with someone else today.
Holy Tuesday April 7
John 12:24 Jesus says, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Jesus continues to teach his listeners in his last hours. During his three years of ministry Jesus sows the seeds of God’s kingdom on earth. Now the time has come to allow God’s message to germinate, take root and grow. At this time of staying home, we need to discover ways of how we grow the seeds of God’s message to the world. It is a challenge to love our neighbor when they are at least six feet from us. In this time of containment, our actions and those of others reflect Christ’s message in ways we would have not thought possible.
Prayer: I pray for clear sight and an open heart so that I can hear your voice in my life and see what I can do to serve you. Help me not to miss your presence by my own fears and insecurities. Amen.
Spend some time in prayer asking God what God’s intention is for your life.
Holy Wednesday April 8
John 13:21, 27-28 “Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.” Jesus said to Judas, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” No one around the table knew why Jesus said this to Judas.
They were having a meal together. Only Jesus and Judas knew what was going to happen. Jesus shows his authority as he tells Judas that he knows of the conspiracy against him and does nothing to stop Judas. The show of strength is not always through force. Jesus allows things take their course. What would have happened if Jesus’ disciples were clued into Judas’ plan to arrest Jesus? It would not have been hard physically to stop Judas; then the plot against Jesus would have failed. We are confounded when God’s ways are not our ways.
Prayer: Help me God to step back and rely on your ways. Help me trust that your care for me is greater than I can comprehend. Amen.
Find ways to connect with others through a phone call or email or letter. Try to see how God is working in your life today.
Maundy Thursday April 9
John 13:34 “I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
The word Maundy means mandate. It comes from this passage in John when Jesus says “Truly I tell you to love one another.” I remember a psychology professor saying that the last words in a conversation are often the most important. As Jesus’ time draws to a close, he tells his disciples to love one another — maybe one of the most important teachings that we have. But it continues to be an elusive lesson for so many of us. Love rather than hate; love rather than excluding or seeking vengeance. Love one another as Jesus has loved us.
Prayer: Help me to love, Lord, because when I follow love, hope comes alive. Help me to take on your mandate. Amen.
Watch the Maundy Thursday Service online (oakgrv.org) any time after Noon. Think about how God shows love to the world.
Good Friday April 10
John 19:33-34 When they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear.
A great deal happened between the time Jesus shared his last meals with his disciples and he died on the cross. To a disciple’s eye, things have gone terribly wrong. The teachings, the miracles and cheering crowds do not seem to matter. Jesus was tried, convicted and is now dead. How could any good come of this? I give thanks to God that because we know the rest of the story, we never have a day as hopeless as this was for all who followed Jesus.
Prayer: God the unspeakable happens to those who know and love Jesus. Thank you that we can speak of it and know that not even death can hold back your love. Amen.
Tune in to the live-stream of the Good Friday Service at Noon on Facebook or our website (oakgrv.org), or watch it sometime during the day.
Holy Saturday April 11
Sabbath John 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because the Sabbath was a day of great solemnity.
On Friday, they buried Jesus before sundown so as not to break the Sabbath rules. Even after they falsely accused, tried and executed the Son of God, they conscientiously followed God’s law. Such is the irony of religion. More wars and atrocities are committed in the name of God/Allah, including the Crusades and the terrorist attacks. The Pharisees must have observed that Sabbath in good conscience, as being good Jews. How can we become so misguided? Like the first break with God in the Garden of Eden, we fail when we are convinced that we know what God wants.
Prayer: God, forgive us when we start to believe we know better than you. Give us humble and open hearts to hear your Word and not our own. Amen.
Spend some quiet moments and listen to the sounds outside. Notice the signs of new life among us.
Easter Sunday/Resurrection of the Lord April 12
John 20:15-16 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Confusion, sadness, despair – Jesus’ tomb is empty and there is no body. Mary weeps. Jesus calls Mary by name, a moment of intimate affirmation. Is there a moment in scripture more tender than this? New life is for all humanity, all nature, the cosmos, and God of the universe calls us each by name. LOVE WINS.
Prayer: When the night is dark, and fear sets in, call my name, O God. When death seems to be winning, still my heart with the good news of the resurrection – love wins.
Shout “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” out your window!