Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Celebration Goes On

"I regard it as absurd and unjustifiable that we should spend forty days keeping Lent, pondering what it means, preaching about self-denial, being at least a little gloomy, and then bringing it all to a peak with Holy Week, which in turn climaxes in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday....and then, after a rather odd Holy Saturday, we have a single day of celebration.

... It ought to be an eight-day festival, with champagne served after morning prayer or even before, with lots of alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems. Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don't throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don't do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn't take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom? It's long overdue that we took a hard look at how we keep Easter in church, at home, in our personal lives, right through the system." N.T. Wright

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is risen

He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Our Saturday is different.
Ours sits
between a Friday called "Good"
a Sunday called "Resurrection".

but they had lost

their teacher
their friend

their hopes for Israel
their hopes for their souls

hopes bound up in Jesus.




their (can't be) Messiah


hope crucified.

and yet

underneath all rational thought
a small soul-seed of hope
but stirring and sprouting,

pushes through
layers of despair
defying even the laws of nature.

in their hearts,
the faintest longing

But we,
we know the whole story.

we think we know the whole story.

Sunday comes,
He rises.
we rejoice.

yet, underneath seasonal rejoicing
there is something else we know

there are places in our lives
our families' lives
our friends' lives
where Sunday has not come
where Sunday just is not coming
where Sunday will never come
how can it?
the darkness is too great
the despair too heavy
this Saturday (and every Saturday) as we wait...

maybe in us too...

underneath all rational thought
a small soul-seed of hope
but stirring and sprouting,

pushes through
layers of despair
defying even the laws of nature.

in our (!) hearts,
the faintest longing


contributed by Aimee

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

They went out and followed him,
those who had sat with him at the table.
He led them to a garden
where he prayed while they slept,
prayed while they slept,
prayed while they slept.

He was kissed,
and because he was kissed he was arrested,
and when he was arrested, his friends fled,
some to go into hiding,
one to stand beside a bonfire,
and say I never knew him,
I never knew him,
I never knew him…until a cock crowed.

He was brought before the religious authorities
and accused of the sin of blasphemy
and of threatening insurrection.
Having no power to deal with him,
they handed him over to the state governor,
who listened to the accusations
and then asked the accused:
what have you to say?
what have you to say?
what have you to say?
…to which the response was silence.

He said it all.

He was not found to be guilty of any criminal
but because he was an embarrassment,
it was decided
that his own people should determine his fate.
This they did shouting,
crucify him!
crucify him!
crucify him!

He was cursed and spat on,
whipped and humiliated.
And on his shoulders a gift was placed,
which he accepted with grace.
Under the weight of this gift,
he stumbled and fell
stumbled and fell
stumbled and fell…
all the way to Calvary.

On top of a garbage dump,
he was nailed to a cross of wood
and left to die,
while soldiers gambled,
critics joked,
religious leaders smiled with satisfaction
and his mother watched and waited,
watched and waited,
watched and waited…
until the end she saw a sign of the beginning.

Savior of the world,
what have you done to deserve this?
And what have we done to deserve you?

Strung up between criminals,
cursed and spat upon,
you wait for death,
and look for us,
for us whose sin has crucified you.

To the mystery of underserved suffering,
you bring the deeper mystery of unmerited love.

Forgive us for not knowing what we have done;
open our eyes to what we are doing now,
as, through wood and nails,
you disempower our depravity
and transform us by your grace.


(Source: Iona Community, Stages on the Way)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday

When we worship as God's people on Maundy Thursday, we remember the last evening Christ spent with his disciples in the upper room. On that night, Jesus did three things: he washed the feet of his disciples, he instituted The Lord's Supper, and he gave them the 'new' commandment to love one another. The name given to this day comes from the last of these. 'Maundy' comes from the Latin maundatum novum, referring to the 'new mandate' Jesus gave his disciples in John 13:34:

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

What does Jesus say will happen if we do this?

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (v.35)

Could it be true that our love for each other is the distinguishing mark of what it means to be a follower of Jesus? That's an astounding claim, when you think about it. Will you join me today in reflecting and meditating on what it might mean to join in Christ's mission of love?

Here is a prayer to that end:

Holy God, source of love, on the night of his betrayal Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, to love one another as he loved them: write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others in the same way as he was the servant of all, who gave his life and died for us, yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer source: A Prayer Book for Australia

contributed by Nelson