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:
Mark 14: 24-25 = Last supper – blood of the covenant poured out for you
Mark 14:27-31 = Prediction of Peter’s denial
Mark 14:35-36 = Take this cup from me…
Mark 14:42-43 = Are you still sleeping? … the betrayer is coming
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:
Luke 23: 33-34 = “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23: 39-43 = “Truly I tell you, you will be with me…”
John 19: 25-27 = “Woman, here is your son…”
Matthew 27: 45-49 = “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
John 28: 28-29 = “I am thirsty”
Luke 23: 44-46 = “Father, into Your hands…”
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!
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!
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.
Thanks for your message, Rev. Reynolds. I pray my sermon notes did it justice.
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.
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.
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).
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…
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!
The Baltimore Catechism from 1885 says it is “Good Friday” because it’s the day Jesus showed his great love for mankind.
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?”
“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.
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!
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 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!
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.”
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!
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.
What does the word GUIDANCE mean to you? What comes to mind?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
Have a Happy Holy Week! I send you lotsa love and hugs. JanBeek
“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
Thanks for joining me on JanBeek today. Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon/evening.