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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you – unless you have come to believe in vain.

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was burried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.  For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them – though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-11 NRSV)

This, my friends is the promise of Easter:  Christ crucified has risen from the dead!  Like Eric, today I am reminded of the promise that Jesus is more than a “good man”.  A good man doesn’t do much for me other than give me a warm fuzzy feeling.  The Son of God in human flesh crucified, dead and burried and then resurrected from the dead – that is a promise that I can cling to.  That is the promise that gives me hope and joy.

It is with the assurance of that promise that I now step out of this Lenten Journey and into the hope of the resurrected Christ.  I pray that you were blessed both in this Lenten Season as well as in today’s joyous Easter celebration.

May you know the hope and promise of Christ raised from the dead.

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It seems hard to believe that holy week is upon us: the jubilance of the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the dramatic events of the last supper and intensity of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, trial and passion of Christ’s death on Good Friday, the period of solemn yet hopeful waiting on Holy Saturday, and then the glorious Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  It is a week that covers the whole gamet of emotion and one that deserves much more of our attention than what it often receives.  Holy Week begs for pause in our lives – pause which serves to remind us that this life is not about us.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:16-17 (The Message)

It is in the observance of Holy Week that we are to be reminded of those events on which all of eternity hangs.  Our eternal destiny is secured by our faith in this one thing: Christ crucified and Christ risen.

May we be reminded this week of the ultimate sacrifice that was paid in behalf of our sins – as Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, submitted himself to the penalty of death as the sacrificial lamb for the sins of all humankind.  May we not make light of this sacrifice but once again be reminded of the greatest gift that has ever been given.  And may we open our hands and hearts to accept that gift.

May the remembrance of Christ crucified and Christ risen capture our hearts once again during this Holy Week.

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times, I’ve wondered at Your gift of life
And I’m in that place once again
I’m in that place once again

Once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my friend

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I was so excited last week when the new issue of Relevant Magazine arrived.  It’s a good thing that they only publish bi-monthly, because it usually takes me about two months to get through all the quality content in each issue.  This month as I browsed through the issue, there were a couple of articles that caught my eye right away.  One of them is a little one page article tucked in on p. 26 titled “Learning from Liturgy.”  You can read the full text of the article by checking out the online issue over at the Relevant Magazine website, but there were some really quality nuggets that I thought I’d pull out and share:

…Easter is one of three major celebrations in the liturgical year.  The liturgical year, or Christian calendar, is how many Christians (Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians and others) have marked the passage of time for centuries.  It’s a potent antidote to trendiness…

… I’ve been marking time by the liturgical calendar for about there years.  It’s taken some adjusting.  But it forces me to think seriously about the whole Gospel story…

…During Lent, Christians examine their hearts and are particularly diligent about putting away sinful behaviors.  People often give something up for Lent.  This period is a reminder that following Christ means dying to myself every day…

…It’s easy to rip the death and resurrection of Christ out of its biblical context.  Yet the events of Holy Week place the event squarely within the narrative of the Gospel in real time.  We experience the servitude of Passover, just as the apostles did.  We experience the darkness of that Friday with them.  And we await the weekend for the resurrection, just as Jesus’ original followers did…

…Celebrating Easter this way may sound overly formal and complicated.  And to be honest, it is at first.  There’s really no other time that someone tells us how we should feel and when.  For that reason, the Lenten season and Holy week can be a bit like driving a car with one under-inflated tire:  you’re constantly working to keep the car in your lane while it wants to veer out.  After all, there are times during Lent when I think, All right, I get it.  I’ve repented; let’s get a move on.  But the season continues.  In the same way, there have been Easter Sundays when I didn’t feel much like celebrating, but the calendar reminds me, Rejoice!  He is risen!…

… There’s no real benefit in being somber for its own sake.  But in our daily lives, so abuzz with stimulation and celebration, the season leading up to Easter, and the Holy Week observances, create space to detach from mass-marketing and busyness and reflect on the death of our Lord.  Then, after a season of darkness, the light of Easter shines brightness…

There’s some good stuff in there, but you should probably go ahead and read the whole article.

What are your thoughts on the liturgical church year, particularly in the season of Lent?

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