Suffering is a journey deeper into the heart of life. From the movie The Human Experience
How shallow we can be if we have had very little problems in our lives. We just float through each day wondering why other people seem to struggle so. Compassion for those suffering is hard to grasp since we have nothing to measure it against. Travail in life is not what we would choose. But the fire of its pain brings the beauty of understanding and love for those who suffer.
Compassionate God, you sent you son to suffer and in so doing chose to experience our pain, sorrow, and grief. Help us to use what we have learned in our own trials to ease the path of others.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.1 John 2:2
A quiet day. Jesus is in the tomb. It is all over. His body was taken down and wrapped for burial. On this day he is gone. Take time on Holy Saturday to pause and think about what sort of day it was for the disciples.
Prayer: “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” Taize
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
I can’t imagine what it must have been like. The fear and disbelief of the disciples. The grief of the mother of Jesus. The pain he felt. The effort of dragging the cross. It is all beyond my experience. I don’t know where I would have been in that scene. Would I have believed in him or been part of the angry mob? Where would you be?
I do know that things have been different ever since.
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:28
It is so difficult to believe that someone would give his life for me. I don’t feel worthy of such a sacrifice. Think about it. You are standing on a street corner and a car comes up over the curb. The person next to you pushes you out of the way and is killed instead of you. Knowing this I would have to live my life differently.
That is why, knowing Christ’s sacrifice, I need to look carefully at how I am living my life.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for sacrificing your life for me. I am unworthy of your love. Bring my life closer to your example. Amen
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
I really wish that I were never afraid. Fear can take over when something goes wrong. We have so many things to fear: poverty, homelessness, crime, disease.
We could spend each day cowering in our homes afraid to go out. Some people do. But God doesn’t want us to live like that. He has given us his peace. All we have to do is take it. Sounds easy but it never is.
Prayer: Father and Mother of us all, remind us that we are your children and you wish only good for us. Help us to grasp onto your promises and your peace and never let go. Amen
Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. Garrison Keillor
I love this quote. It reminds me that just attending church each Sunday doesn’t make me a Christian. Neither does attending Sunday School and church events. It is so easy to fall into complacency. I have to do more than that. Being a Christian is deeper, more taxing, more uncomfortable. Becoming a car might be easier.
Prayer: God of wisdom, I need to understand that I must “Go forth in the name of Christ” and do your work. Amen
“To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs.” Anon
Have you met Christians ready to pummel you with their God? Or the one for whom anything to do with God is a totally serious business. They never laugh when they are talking about him To them, God is a wrathful, angry God. One from only the Old Testament. Jesus taught us about another God. The God who wants us to have a cheerful face. The New Testament God is the one I follow. Christ didn’t have a grumpy face. He went to parties. He drank wine. His face was full of love.
Prayer: Intimate God, let us show a cheerful face to others that we might draw them to you. Help us to teach them about Jesus. Amen
Prayer: Thank you loving God for continuing to give us a chance. We just don’t seem to learn. Forgive us our sins. Amen
Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand. Mark Twain
“Love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek, follow me.” These are passages from the bible that I do understand. There are many more. The trouble is that they call me to be a better person. Who they ask me to be seems impossible. How can I learn to be the Christian you want me to be.?
Prayer: Lord help me! I do understand these words you have given me but I don’t seem to be able to follow through. Help! Amen
A faith of convenience is a hollow faith. ~M*A*S*H, Father Mulcahy, “A Holy Mess,” 1982
Christianity did not begin as a belief of convenience. In fact, it was very inconvenient as the early Christians were persecuted and killed. Now that it is an “accepted religion” we take it for granted. It is convenient to go to church on Sundays. It is also convenient that we can choose to not go. It is interesting to know that Christianity is growing the most in places where Christians are persecuted. Maybe we are too comfortable.
Prayer: Patient God, move us out of our comfort zone and help us to not take you for granted. Amen
Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
We are told to love the Lord Our God with all our souls are all our hearts and all our minds. We are not told to prove that God exists. We are just told to love Him. Can we turn loose of all our trying to understand all of this and just love?
Prayer: God of love, help us learn to just love you with all that we are. Amen