Ephesians 4:31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.
This morning I attended the Lutheran Church that I used to work for. These are the words of the confession that was used today. For me, they were moving and powerful. I hope you find meaning in them.
God of mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, against one another, and against the earth entrusted to our care. We are worried and distracted by many things, and we fail to love you above all else. We store up treasures for ourselves and turn away from our neighbors in need. Forgive us, that we may live in the freedom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
Our behavior sets the tone for how we will be treated. These things in the quote are earned. Christ had respect for everyone he saw. No one was beneath him. Even the homeless on the streets deserve respect.
Every thing that is done in the world is done by hope. Martin Luther
Hope is a gift given to us by a loving God. When we are drowned in anxiety and fear hope pulls us up. God’s presence in our lives is the best hope of all. Never forget God’s love and live with hope.
Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them. –Mother Teresa
This is so true! Most of us would prefer to avoid the homeless or those begging on our streets. We see them as “less than” us. It’s as if we are concerned about becoming contaminated by them. We have to begin to look through Jesus’ eyes and see them as children of God just like us. Then we will be willing to talk with them.
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
When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out. Frank Sinatra
It has always puzzled me that some people think it is fine to do wrong because they can be absolved of it. This is wrong thinking. The things we confess to God and ask for forgiveness should be slip ups. Choosing to commit sinful acts because we can be forgiven is not how God expects us to behave. His forgiveness does not give us permission to choose to sin.
Prayer: God of grace, remind us we must choose the right path. We cannot choose wrong because of his forgiveness. It is a gift of grace when we stumble not a get out of jail free card. Help us to remember this. AMEN
Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.
Henry Ward Beecher
When our tears come they usually flow from grief or pain. They flow for ourselves and sometimes for someone else. Tears pull us from our routine day-today existence. Whatever caused them has stopped us in our tracks. We step back from the ordinary and frequently reach out to God for help. So they do cause us to see into heaven and know that God is there. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to let your tears flow.
Prayer: Thank you, God for being our help and strength. Remind us that Jesus wept. Amen
Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.
For many years we Christians blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. It was easier to do this than to accept that had we lived in his time and place we could have been a party to his death. We are not blameless even now. We kill him again each time we don’t acknowledge that was are Christians, each time that we hurt someone else or don’t do something the we know is right. We kill him little by little.
Prayer: God of forgiveness, we are sinful people and we fall off the path all the time. Help us to think before we act. Amen
If He laid down His life for us, is it not the least we can do to lay down ours for Him? If He bore the cross and died on it for me, ought I not to be willing to take it up for him? Dwight Lyman Moody
What does it mean to “take up the cross?” He adds “and follow me.” Am I really following him? He loved and related to all people. He ate with tax collectors (who were hated by the people); did not rebuke a woman who was unclean for touching him. He went against the grain for his time. How are we doing?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, so many are outcast s in our own time. Even naming them can set us off. Help us to follow you more closely and learn to love even the people we now shun. Amen