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Posts tagged ‘Easter’

What’s Good About Good Friday?


That was the question we explored at tonight’s Good Friday service:
What’s Good About Good Friday?

Yesterday in my post titled, “Last Words,”
I promised I’d tell you about our Good Friday service.
I told you our pastor, Mary Grace Reynolds,
had selected passages from scripture
that recorded Jesus’ last words.

I shared a few of Jesus’ last words spoken that
last Friday … words that were memorable to me:

  1. Mark 14: 24-25 = Last supper – blood of the covenant poured out for you
  2. Mark 14:27-31 = Prediction of Peter’s denial
  3. Mark 14:35-36 = Take this cup from me…
  4. Mark 14:42-43 = Are you still sleeping? … the betrayer is coming
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But those quotes were from Jesus’ last conversations with His disciples
before He was arrested… before He was hung on the cross.

Tonight’s “Last Words” were from the cross:

  1. Luke 23: 33-34 = “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
  2. Luke 23: 39-43 = “Truly I tell you, you will be with me…”
  3. John 19: 25-27 = “Woman, here is your son…”
  4. Matthew 27: 45-49 = “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  5. John 28: 28-29 = “I am thirsty”
  6. Luke 23: 44-46 = “Father, into Your hands…”
  7. John 19: 30 = “It is finished.”

The selection that was mine to read was #4. I practiced it a lot and still goofed up when I tried to read it orally because the scripture tells it in the language Jesus spoke: “Eloi! Eloi! Lama sabachthani!” I can say it just fine sitting here at my computer – but in front of the congregation? Put on the spot? I faked it! I hope most didn’t notice. I’m sure Jesus forgives me!

Each of us who read was invited to create and share a reflection and a prayer related to our selection.
Here is what I said: “Like Jesus, there are times in our lives when we are in great suffering or turmoil, and we feel God has forsaken us. The Good News is He never has and He never will.”

That’s what’s Good about Good Friday!

Jesus took away our sin. He died for us. Because of His life, death, and resurrection, we can dare to approach God knowing He will never forsake us. Never!

My prayer was this:

“O God, You are our hope and our salvation.
Your Son is our gift, our gateway, our guide.
We thank You for His sacrifice for our sake
that we might be assured of Life Eternal
with You in Heaven.

Thank You for never forsaking us
when we enter Your presence in faith.
We give You our hearts and gratitude.
Amen.”


Tomorrow is “Silent Saturday.”
I will not blog.

I’ll be busy Easter Sunday
with sunrise service and church
and guests here for dinner.
(Hopefully my granddaughter, Hope,
and her hubby and two children,
Xander & Sienna,
will be among the guests)

I bet you will be busy
doing meaningful things
this weekend also.
Happy Easter!

See ya Monday (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Donkey Sunday


I met this donkey in England
while visiting Jackie & Derrick Knight!

Sermon Notes

Our message at church today was an interesting one.
Rev. Mary Grace Reynolds shared a story about a
clerical friend of hers who renamed Palm Sunday
“Donkey Sunday” because the palm leaves show up
in only some of the Gospels, but the donkey is in all four!

Power in Love

Royalty who rode donkeys
were considered a disgrace.
But the throng didn’t mind
How Jesus entered the place.

Power is a social contract.
It’s a constructed idea for us.
However it is not a given –
Except in the case of Jesus.

Christ Power is a given.
In the beginning was Light,
And the Light was God who
Came from darkness into sight.

Jesus Christ came from Light.
Through God all things were created.
Jesus was not just made…
He always was. And I’m elated!

Because He came, I know
That He will come again.
He has the power to save us all.
His power can save us from our sin.

Think about the presence
Of power in our lives.
When do you exercise it?
Control it, friends, ’til Christ arrives!

He entered Jerusalem on a donkey

The donkey is a symbol of humility.
The King of Kings came not to reign
Over the rulers of this earthly kingdom.
He came in love to display His own domain.

His kingdom is not on earth.
Instead, it is in eternity…
The place He has reserved
For believers like you and me.

Today might be called “Donkey Sunday.”
It is the day Christ rode to town
On the back of this lowly animal.
Praise God, His Son came down!


Power was His –
But He exchanged it
For humility and love
And expressed it with compassion.

Happy Donkey Week, my friends.
May the Power of the Holy Spirit
Be expressed in you
Through Love and Humility.

Our pastor,
Mary Grace Reynolds,
with me.

Thanks for your message, Rev. Reynolds.
I pray my sermon notes did it justice.

Have blessed Holy Week, my friends.
Love,
JanBeek

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Embrace Easter!


He is risen indeed!

My day started with a 7:00 am Sunrise Service at our Madison Range putting green.
The sun worked to peek out through the cloudy sky.

A small, but appreciate gathering
lifted voices to sing
“He Arose!”
and
“He Lives!”

Mule deer gathered close by to listen to our singing
and nibble at the emerging greenery.
Spring is just thinking about making its debut here!

Usually right after sunrise service, we go as a group to the Baptist Church and enjoy a yummy breakfast of assorted baked goodies and egg casseroles. This year, because of COVID-19, we had to be content to go home and make our own breakfast. Afterward, we went to church where we wore masks, socially distanced, and enjoyed the sermon of the day delivered by our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley.

It was Communion Sunday as well as Holy Easter Sunday.
A very meaningful ritual … being able to partake in person with other Christian friends.
Our sermon topic was “Sometimes It Causes Me to Tremble.”

What are your earliest
Memories of Easter Sunday?
Yellow crocuses, dogwoods,
And eggs hidden slightly away?

What are your earliest
Memories of recognizing in your life
God, the Risen Christ?
Do you have to think twice?

My memory was on a morning
When I’d victoriously ridden
My bike down a steep hill –
Suddenly God was not hidden.

I’m reminded of Mary Magdalene
With the other Mary who saw
That Jesus was not in the tomb.
An angel said He’d risen – such awe!

They were terrified to realize
You can’t escape God in Jesus.
They told no one what they heard –
Too scared… a Savior to relieve us?

They thought their hopes and dreams
Had been buried and sealed away,
Buried with Him – they believed.
They all deserted Christ that day.

Peter had denied Christ three times.
The other disciples hid in fear.
Have we also denied the messenger
Who told us Jesus is alive and here?

The Easter miracle assures us
Our crucified Lord is running free.
He is waiting for us to come out
Of hiding to see Him. He waits for me!

Am I ready to believe the story
Of a man who dies, but rose again?
Am I ready to understand that He
Suffered that agony to free me from sin?

The Risen Christ stands before me
With nail prints in His hands and side.
Am I ready to hear the Good News
And know there’s no where I can hide?

With fear and amazement this Easter,
I will not go away from the empty tomb-
Back to daily routine, forgetting Him.
No, with reverence I acknowledge Christ in this room.

Crown Him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres
Ineffably sublime.

All hail, Redeemer, Hail!
For Thou hast died for me.
Thy praise shall never, never fail
Throughout eternity.

Amen.

EMBRACE EASTER

It comes but once a year
Yet its significance
Lives in our hearts daily…
Thank God for the gift
of His Son
who secured my spot
and yours
in heaven.

Praise Him! Alleluia!
Amen!

Oh, and in the afternoon,
we had the joy of a visit from our granddaughter, Hope,
and her husband, Drew, and their two children
(our great-grandchildren, Xander and Sienna).

Hope & Drew
Xander
Sienna
Hunting for Easter eggs
Hope with Sienna
Isn’t this a fun appetizer tray?
And for a larger crowd,
how about this one?

Did you send out and receive a few Easter cards this season?
I did.. and I enjoyed every one.
I thought I’d share one of my favorites with you:

That was decorated with a glitter cupcake by our darling Ruby…
with a note added from her big brother, first grader, Cord.
So precious!!

And now,
the eggs are gone.
The Easter ham left-overs are in the fridge.
The family departed.
The dishes are looming large –
Begging to be done…
But first, join me and the Easter bunny, will you?
Sit down and relax.
Contemplate the day…
Think about what Easter means.
Thank God for the gift of His Son.
Let’s drink a toast to Eternity in His Heavenly Kingdom.
The dishes can wait!
My computer’s about to run outta battery…

Hope you had a Happy Easter weekend.


Have a good night.
See ya tomorrow.

Sending lots of love,
JanBeek

Embrace Emptiness


Lest our cup be emptied,
There’s no room for any more.
Lest we leave the empty tomb
We won’t know what is in store.

So, let’s embrace the emptiness
With gratitude and grace
Knowing that on the morn,
We’ll see the Savior’s face.

Meantime, in the emptiness
Of this quiet Holy Saturday,
Contemplate the miracle of His grace
And thank Him for coming our way.

Today we experience loneliness
Like the day after a loved one’s funeral…
But tomorrow we will understand
The gift He gave of Life Eternal.

God bless you, my friends.
I send my love,
JanBeek

Embrace Karfreitag


Embrace Karfreitag!
That’s German for “Sorrowful Friday.”
The same day named “Guode Friday”
in Old English back in the 1200’s.

I always wondered how it got named “Good.”
What’s good about the Friday when Christ died?
I’m more apt to agree with the Germans”
It’s a sorrowful day!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Baltimore Catechism from 1885
says it is “Good Friday”
because it’s the day
Jesus showed his great love for mankind.

Matthew 27:46

And about three o’clock
Jesus cried with a loud voice,
“Eli, Eli, lema tabachthani?”
that is,
“My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:59-61

“Joseph took the body,
wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
and placed it in his own new tomb…
He rolled a big stone in front
of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
were sitting there opposite the tomb.”

Today is the day when Jesus seems gone.
Mary and Mary Magdalene
wept in front of the giant rock
that was between them and the One they loved.
Can you imagine their despair?

The reason I am embracing “Karfreitag!”
is because I think it would be a shame
to jump from Sorrowful Friday
to the joy of Easter morning
without sitting for a day
and contemplating the
sorrow that surrounded
Christ’s death.

Imagine yourself at the tomb.
Imagine the shock of finding
Jesus gone…
with the stone rolled away.

Tomorrow is called
“Holy Saturday.”
This is all that is written about it:

The next day the Pharisees
and chief priests went to Pilate.
“Sir, they said, we remember
that while he was still alive
that deceiver said,
‘After three days I will rise again.’
So give the order
for the tomb
to be made secure
until the third day…”

What would you have thought
if you had seen this scene
on the day after Jesus died?

Holy Saturday
is a day to pause
gather our thoughts,
process what happened,
and get ready for the
beautiful message
of Easter.

See you tomorrow.
Love to you,
JanBeek

Before you go,
treat yourself to this wonderful rendition
of one of my favorite hymns
by a phenomenal boys’ choir …
joined by the wonderful men’s voices
of the King’s College Choir.
You’ll be glad you did!


Embrace Enthusiasm


Are you enthused about life?
Have you overcome great strife?
Are you ready to step out enthusiastically
To conquer your challenges gleefully?

I am enthused because I look forward to returning to my volunteering today at the Madison Valley Medical Center. Ever since this pandemic shutdown last March, all the volunteers were told to stay home, socially distance, be safe, and wait this thing out. So this wonderful group of ladies who have annually saved the hospital the salary and benefits of at least two full-time staff members (as well as raising thousands of dollars in fund-raisers to donate for medical center needs) have been shut out. Yes, it was for our own safety… as well as others … but TODAY I GET TO GO BACK!!

I’m 3rd from the left second row…
And yes, you read that correctly –
it’s 31 thousand seven hundred dollars!

I am also enthusiastic today because after a year of searching with the Pastor Nominating Committee for a new pastor to lead our congregation forward following this strange year, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel! Our pastor of 32 years died and we’ve had a wonderful interim pastor who went out of retirement to help us. He is enthusiastically looking forward to returning to the retired life. I am looking forward to taking the next steps with our committee and our #1 candidate – – – enthusiasm bubbles over in all involved! What a wonderful way to approach Easter Sunday!

Today is Maundy Thursday. It’s the day Jesus invited the disciples into the upper room, washed their feet, and served the Last Supper. It was not with enthusiasm that they heard Him say He would die, be buried, and rise again in three days. They didn’t understand. But, I understand – so I am enthused!

The Last Supper

I am enthusiastic about the coming of Easter. I know we must endure the pain of “Good Friday” – wondering what’s good about the day Jesus dies on the cross. But, we know the rest of the story, so we can live through the remembrance of Christ’s misery because we know the way the story ends.

As a child I remember being enthusiastic about the Easter bunny and Easter egg hunts. I see no harm in that, but as an adult the focus on Easter eggs doesn’t enthuse me… not unless the story that accompanies them is the reminder of the empty tomb when the child finds the plastic egg with no candy in it… and that child is the one who wins the Golden Egg – and realizes the empty egg was the favored one!

I just returned from volunteering at the medical center as a “Purple Lady” … member of the Auxiliary. I am enthused telling you that the two nurses and a host of staff members made it possible for around 120 Madison County residents to receive their vaccines today. Many of those were receiving their second shot. I enthusiastically look forward to “herd immunity.”

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com
COVID-19 BE GONE!!

Here is my Haiku series celebrating enthusiasm:

Enthusiasm
It’s a feeling of great joy
Anticipation

It’s sweet engagement
In delightful chosen tasks
Active involvement

Looking bright ahead
Accomplishments come at last
Feeling in God’s Will

Seeing smiles around
Others feeling included
Successful efforts

Anticipating
Hearing “Congratulations!”
It’s a job well done

It’s shared excitement
Knowing we have done our best
Enthusiasm!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Embrace Enthusiasm

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today
Have a Blessed Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

What are you enthusiastic about today?

I’m enthused that you are here, my friend.
Bee well!!
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Guidance


What does the word GUIDANCE mean to you?
What comes to mind?

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

When I put the word “guidance”
in my Pexel image search,
this picture of a smart phone –
bringing the GPS image to mind –
came up on my screen.
Is that your idea of guidance?

Photo by Michael Block on Pexels.com

What kind of guidance does this second image bring to mind?
Maybe allowing your surroundings,
the sun and moon, the mountains, to guide you?
Do they give you a sense of direction?
Is that what guidance means to you?

Photo by Anand Dandekar on Pexels.com

A lighthouse guides ships through the night-
Especially in a storm when it is hard to see the shore.
This kind of guidance involves a light that points the way,
gives a warning, keeps the vessel from crashing into the rocks.

Photo by Prashant Gautam on Pexels.com

I searched through many photos
before finding the light
that spelled guidance to me –
and this one sort of does it.

It’s the Light that dawns
Each morning as I look to the heavens
And ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
It’s the light of God that shines in and through me.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Guidance that comes through prayer
And the study of God’s word
And time spent listening for His direction
Is the guidance I can count on.



Isaiah 30:21
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
“This is the way; walk in it.”

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Where do you get your guidance?
Do you pass it along to others
Who are on the journey of life with you?
Wise guidance from fellow believers is treasured.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

If you look to others for direction
And you play “Follow the Leader,”
Be sure your guides are tuned in
To the God of your Salvation!

In this Holy Week as we anticipate Easter,
Look for guidance in prayer and the scriptures;
Look for guidance in other Christ followers.
Give guidance to the lost and help them.

Help them find their way this Holy Week
To the foot of the cross where Jesus
Showed us with His death and resurrection
The true pathway to our final destination.

Jesus prays for our guidance daily

Let Him be your guide…
And rejoice in the path He shows you:
The LIGHTED Path to Eternal Life.
Hallelujah! May He be your Guide forever!

EMBRACE GUIDANCE

Amen!

Have a Happy Holy Week!
I send you lotsa love and hugs.
JanBeek

Embrace Tranquility


The ticking of the clock –
The music of chimes’ agility –
The puppy in the corner snoring –
Ah, such tranquility!

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Ecclesiastes 4:6

“Better is a handful of quietness
than two hands full of toil
and a striving after wind.”

The windmill worked its way
Into the ground with daily spinning.
Standing quiet and tall, the hills
Live in tranquility – stillness winning.

Tranquility is not always stillness;
Sometimes it is purposeful motion –
Tossing away burdens and keeping
Hours of exercise and devotion.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Proverbs 14:30

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.”

Tranquility at the core of your soul
Is the result of a heart filled with love.
Your bones cry out in joy when you
Let peace and calm in from above.

The Prayer of St. Francis

When you sow peace, love, hope,
Light, faith, pardon and joy,
Tranquility enters your being –
And no earthly tension can destroy.


James 3:18

“And a harvest of righteousness
is sown in peace
by those who make peace.”

Inside my kitchen cabinet

Arriving at a state of tranquility
In the midst of all this earth’s pain
Is like standing in a gorgeous garden
After a long, earth-quenching rain.

Derrick & Jackie’s garden

Matthew 5:9

“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.”

And to that we might add,

“Blessed are the gardeners,
for they shall find tranquility
in the beauty of their creation.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A sure path to tranquility:
Keep your eyes on the Son.
Easter is coming and so we know
Death did not win… Eternal Tranquility won!!

EMBRACE TRANQUILITY

SEE ya tomorrow (God willing)

What will you do today
to feel the tranquility
that is God’s gift to you?

I’m sending Hugs,
JanBeek

Embrace the Journey


“On the Road to Easter”
was the title of today’s sermon
by Rev. Steve Hundley
at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana

Come join me as we EMBRACE the JOURNEY

Lent is upon us and
Easter is only two weeks away.
Next week we’ll celebrate
Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem that day.

Jesus arrived in glory.
Then, we see Jesus carry
His cross to Golgotha.
We’ll journey to where they’ll bury
His body in the rocky tomb
Before Easter will finally dawn.
The journey is a painful one –
A time when His family thinks He’s gone.

It reminds me that life
Is a journey of great proportion
And we have markers along the way.
Some show where others made their fortune.
But few of us have monuments
Built to mark our stopping places –
Like Lewis and Clark’s various markers
And Jesus’ stopping spots – sacred spaces.

Our journey needs places of rest –
Places where we feel lifted up
The way Golgotha lifts us to Jesus
Knowing His death & resurrection gifted us.

Jesus spoke about His death
But the disciples didn’t want to hear.
They thought of death as an enemy.
Jesus said death means resurrection’s near.

Like a seed buried in the ground,
We must die and be buried to rise.
Jesus told His disciples He’d draw
The world to Himself with words so wise.

He spoke of His death as if
He had already died. He said
His death would serve God’s purpose.
His impact continues to grow – He is not dead!

As Easter approaches, we look
At the cross and make our way
To the Light; it illumines our path
To His miracle that happened Easter Day.

Hallelujah! Easter is coming!
Embrace the Journey.
Amen

Morning’s Comin’
We can make it though the Night!

Thanks for joining me on JanBeek today.
Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon/evening.

See ya tomorrow.

Embrace the Wind


Can’t embrace the wind!
Even if we think we would like to…
It can’t be contained!

Yesterday I delivered some paperwork to a friend
who is doing Bible Study with me once a week.
It was a quiet Saturday morning –
no wind (unusual for our windy valley).
My friend wasn’t home, so I left the papers
on her doorstep and texted her.
When she returned home,
the paperwork was long gone.
The wind had come up and blew
the packet to heaven only knows where!

Today’s sermon at the ZOOM meeting of
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
here in Ennis, Montana
was titled, “The Wind Blows Where it Will.”

Inspired by the scripture:
John 3:1-17
(the story of Jesus & Nicodemus & the Holy Spirit)
here are my sermon notes
taken as I listened to
Rev. Steve Hundley
this morning:

The Wind Blows Where it Will

In the conversation between
Nicodemus and Jesus, two worlds collide.
One is worldly and the other is
Focused on where the Holy Spirit abides.

We often try to shrink our God
Into something we can understand.
But, we can’t fit God’s image
Into something in this earthly land.

The dilemma we face is that
We can’t think of God beyond
Our own human capacity.
That’s why it’s hard to respond.

John paints a picture of Nicodemus
As a man of great knowledge.
“Rabbi, we know…” he says,
Addressing Jesus with a nudge.

Nicodemus thinks he has God
Sized up and understood.
He’s sure he knows how He fits
Into this world… Oh, that we could!

Nicodemus tries to rope Jesus
Into the narrow realm of “We know…”
But every attempt fails.
Jesus is a mystery – a wind that’ll blow.

It blows beyond our knowing.
The Spirit blows beyond our capacity
To understand with our finite minds.
Does that surprise you and me?

We all have questions about the hereafter.
No one can refute the image we hold,
For our God’s life-giving grace
Is bigger than can ever be told.

The wind of the Spirit blows
Into darkness and brings light.
But we cannot see clearly
What God makes possible in His sight.

This scripture asks Nicodemus
To let the Spirit carry him to
A place beyond his imagination.
It asks the same expansion of you!

“Rabbi, we know…”
Ah, such assumptions!

John 3: 1-17

3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Can’t embrace the wind!
Even if we think we would like to…
It can’t be contained!

Let’s try to embrace
The beauty of God’s Spirit
As it blows in us!

That’s a Bob Goff quote.
His Spirit is Love personified.
His book is “Love Does.”
Do you know it?

And how about this oldie but goodie?
Blowin’ in the Wind…
Questions Nicodemus might have asked Jesus:

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
And with Easter upon us,
the answer was hangin’ on a cross.
Praise God, He is risen indeed!

The wind of the Spirit blows
Into darkness and brings light.

The Wind Blows Where it Will

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
May the Wind of the Spirit
Blow Light into your darkness today.

See ya tomorrow.

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