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Easter Monday

I’ve heard the term “Easter Monday” many times but I’ve never really thought anything about it until my sister asked me if I had Easter Monday off from work. (Alas, the answer to that question was, “Unfortunately, no.”)

As I began to think about the term “Easter Monday”I I decided to do some research to see if it has any spiritual significance.

“Easter Monday, also known as Bright Monday or Renewal Monday” . . .  “is the Monday immediately after Easter Sunday. It is observed by many Christian groups, but primarily by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. It marks the beginning of Easter Week (Roman Catholic) / Bright Week (Eastern Orthodox).

Different cultures observe Easter Monday very differently. For some, Easter Monday is a solemn remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection marked by an outdoor procession. For others, there are Easter egg-rolling competitions.

Some of these observances have more Christian symbolism in them than others, but none of them are explicitly biblical. The Bible does not say anything about what happened on Easter Monday, the day after Jesus’ resurrection. The Bible does not instruct followers of Jesus Christ to observe Easter Monday, so there is no obligation to celebrate it. As with many holidays, there is nothing wrong with observing some cultural traditions, but it is important to not allow traditions to detract from the message of the gospel.” (Emphasis mine.)*

So there you have it. Not mentioned in the Bible. No real spiritual significance. Perhaps some Christian symbolism, but still, nothing to write home about.,

My suggestion to you today is to make Easter Monday a spiritual day for you and your family. Continue to reflect upon the greatest gift ever given. Read the Resurrection account from the Bible again. Share the message with co-workers, unsaved family members and friends, with the tired cashier at your grocery store.

It is, after all, the reason God sent His Son. It is the heart of the salvation message.

Selah                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               * http://www.Justask.com

(c ) 2015 Edwina E. Cowgill

Holy Week

Good Friday

“O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners’ gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
‘Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.”

Text: Anonymous; trans. by Paul Gerhardt and James W. Alexander Music: Hans L. Hassler, 1564-1612; harm. by J.S. Bach, 1685-1750

Good Friday: The day of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial. A time of solemnity and reflection. A time to ponder all that we’ve observed this Holy Week and to remember all that He did, He did for us out of His unconditional love for us.

Holy Week

Maundy Thursday

April 13, 2017:  A number of years ago, I wrote a series of blogs for Holy Week. Today’s blog and the remainder of this week’s blogs, are from that series. I pray you will be blessed as you prepare your hearts for Resurrection Sunday!

 

Jesus shared the final meal with his disciples, called the Last Supper, on the night before he was crucified. The institution of the Holy Eucharist occurred during this meal, as indicated from the gospel excerpt below:

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 RSV)

The Last Supper is the ultimate revelation of God’s redeeming love for man.  “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of love.”* (John 13:1) (*Some translations read “he loved them to the end.”)

After the meal, Jesus rose and with a basin full of water and a clean towel, he washed the feet of the disciples. He did this to teach them humility and service, evidences of love.

Judas loved money more than he loved Jesus and he proved that by his betrayal. When he kissed Jesus on his cheek to indicate to the soldiers who Jesus was, I am sure he saw unfathomable love in the eyes of Jesus.  Knowing what he had done to the One who loved him so much was unbearable to Judas.  Yet, even this act of treachery was part of God’s plan.

It’s all about His love for you and for me.

Originally published: If you’ve never had your feet washed by another Christian, it is the most amazing act of love and humility a person can do. It is a true demonstration of Christ’s love for you and it will humble you greatly  – to think that this person, kneeling in front of you and washing your feet, loves you so much that they would do that for you…amazing love!
 
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Holy Wednesday: The Last Seven Stations of the Cross

The Eight Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31)
The Daughters of Jerusalem, as they are named in the Bible, come to see Him, mourning and crying. But Jesus tells them not to weep for Him; rather weep for themselves. He knew that the days and months ahead would be harder than those in the past.

Just as Jesus loved the Daughters of Jerusalem, He loves us equally as much.

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
The last time Jesus falls is the most injurious of all. He can go no further for He has no strength left. Only the strength of God will see Him up the hill. I pause here to wonder what was going through the onlookers’ minds. Were they afraid to help Him? Afraid of the soldiers’ retaliation against them? His friends and supporters had abandoned him – in fact, many had turned against Him. But how can any person with even an ounce of compassion watch this cruelty and not speak out? Had I been there, would I have spoken out? Would I have tried to assist my Lord? Or would I have abandoned Him? Denied that I knew Him?

Jesus unconditionally loves us, right where we are in our lives.

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments (John 19:23-24)
As if being publicly crucified wasn’t degrading enough, those to be put to death in this manner were also stripped of all but the most essential garments. What humiliation our Savior must have suffered. Not only is He stripped of His clothes, but also of His dignity. The wounds on His back that had begun to close were ripped open again as his clothes were ripped from His back.

Jesus understands our pain, our sorrow, our humiliation because He bore all of that and more on the cross. And He did that because He loves us, without reservation.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross (Luke 23:33-43)
The cross is laid on the ground and Jesus is made to lay on it. Soldiers grab each arm and stretch them across the wood. They line his feet up. And the terrible noise of hammers hitting spikes begins. BAM! WHOOSH! BAM! WHOOSH! With every hit of the hammer against the spike, the ears of the bystanders ring. As the hammer is lifted, one can hear it fly through the air as the soldier raises it high, only to bring it back down to drive the spike further into His hands and feet. When the sounds finally stop, sobbing can be heard throughout the crowd. The soldiers take long white strips of cloth, wrap it around the cross, raise it, and drop it into the prepared hole. With every jerk of the cross as it is being lifted, the nails bite into Jesus’ flesh a little more. I cannot imagine the agony that flowed through His body.

Even in the midst of pain and agony, WE were on His mind. He bore all of this because of His great love for us.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross (John 19:28-37)
Jesus was crucified between two criminals. Before dying, He pardons the sins of one. He sees His mother standing at the foot of the cross and John standing close by. He gives John the task of taking care of His mother. With His earthly responsibilities discharged, He breathes His last breath. Imagine how Mary must have felt. Grief that her Son was no longer on earth, but relief that He was no longer suffering.

Jesus did this because He loves you, just like you are, no strings attached.

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:38-40)
Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Accompanied by Nicodemus, the two men lovingly wrapped Jesus’ body in strips of white linen and herbs – aloe and myrrh. Some of their tears of grief mixed with the aloe and myrrh. What an act of service and love and sacrifice. Just like Jesus.

Jesus sacrificed His all for us because of His great love for us.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb. (Mark 15:46-47)
Jesus is laid in a tomb that Joseph and Nicodemus thought would be His final resting place. The huge stone that was rolled in front of the tomb, sealing it off completely, was the final sign of Jesus’ death.

This not-so-final station was part of God’s plan all along. Jesus was crucified, bearing the sins of you, me – all of humanity, so that we will have eternal life with Him. This is part of His plan of salvation.

(Romans 5:6-11) “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (emphasis mine)

Re-read verse eight – over and over again. Knowing we were sinners, knowing we deserved only death because of our sin, God STILL sent His Son to die in our place. And He did it because He LOVES us – unconditionally, extravagantly, recklessly, beyond our comprehension!
If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, may this Easter season be the time you become His child. If you do know Him, take this season to deepen your relationship with Him.

God is not angry with you. He has not forsaken you. He has forgiven you. He loves you.

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Holy Tuesday: The First Seven Stations of the Cross

 
A Brief History:
In past years, when people visited the Holy Land, they were, of course, eager to visit all of the places where Jesus had visited during His three years of ministry. This was a very real connection to the life of Christ. Over the years, some of these sites became almost impossible to reach and villages and cities all across Europe began creating replicas of the way of the cross. These replicas became the set of the fourteen Stations of the Cross and were placed in almost every Catholic Church in the world.
Other denominations also observe the Stations of the Cross, as does my former denomination, the Charismatic Episcopal Church. In our sanctuary, the Stations of the Cross are displayed pictorially around the room in chronological order. Each station represents a time during Holy Week. For me, it is another visible and participatory way of understanding how much God sacrificed because of His love for you and for me.
The First Station: Jesus is condemned to die (Mark 15:1-15)
On the Mount of Olives, Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” God did not remove this action of love from Jesus, and Jesus submitted to God and placed His life in God’s hands. Now, He has been beaten and tortured. But that is only the beginning. There is much more He will endure before the end. He has been wrongfully charged and condemned to die. He endured the beatings, the torture and the condemnation because of His great love for you and for me.
The Second Station: Jesus Carries His Cross (John 19:13-17)
The soldiers and guards made Jesus carry his own cross. This cross must have weighed more than one hundred pounds, but to Jesus it felt so much heavier. This cross represents the weight of our crosses. With every step, the cross becomes heavier as He begins to experience the humanness of the world. Our sins cause the cross to grow heavier and heavier.
The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time (John 1:29)
The weight of the cross has become unbearable. Jesus falls to His knees. Sweat is rolling down his back, His legs. Blood mixes with sweat as it rolls down His face. His body is growing weaker. The heaviness of human sin, misery, and sorrow prevents Him from rising. But the soldiers make Him rise and continue on the journey.
The Fourth Station: Jesus Sees His Mother (John 19:26-27)
I cannot imagine how it must have hurt Jesus’ heart for His mother to see Him in this condition. Not that He was too proud; but that He loved her so much He did not want her to see him suffer. I think of Mary, His mother. How her heart must have shattered into pieces—seeing Him broken and bleeding—and knowing the worst was yet to come. Even comprehending just a small amount of Jesus’ suffering for us, I cannot fathom Mary’s grief. As a mother, I don’t think I would be able to walk that path.
The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross (Mark 15:21)
“A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.”  (Mark 15:21) The cross has become so heavy, and Jesus is so weakened, the soldiers have no choice but to draft someone. That someone was Simon. I wonder what was going through his mind. Chosen randomly out of the crowd, did he know it was Jesus? Did he feel Jesus’ love for him, even as he assisted in the ultimate end?
The Sixth Station: Jesus’ Face Wiped
As Jesus continues through the streets with Simon helping him, a woman leaves her home and meets Him as He passes by. She offers Him her veil to wipe His face of the sweat and blood that continues to trickle down from his head. When Jesus returns the veil to her, his face is imprinted on her veil.
The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
Although Simon continues to help him, Jesus falls a second time. The exhaustion is bone-deep and He experiences the disability, aging and disease that is experienced by humans down through the ages.
Holy Week

Holy Monday

Originally Posted on March 30, 2015

The days of Holy Week are called Great and Holy by the Church. These days have a very definite purpose in that they remind us of the true meaning of Easter.

By the time Holy Week arrives, some of us have participated in or observed many Easter-related activities. We’ve observed Lent, hopefully with more than just a passing acknowledgement. We have sang in or listened to our church choir’s Easter cantata; we have bought new outfits for our children and perhaps for ourselves. Maybe our children have hunted Easter eggs. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities as long as we don’t lose sight of the meaning of Holy Week. We must not forget these days led up to the trial, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ. And yes, ultimately to his resurrection and ascension into heaven where He sits now at the right hand of His Father.

Thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people saw “The Passion of Christ” produced by Mel Gibson, a number of years ago. My daughter and I went to see it together. I’m sure there was never a movie before or since where we cried as much as we cried in that movie. But even that movie could not completely and accurately show the suffering that our Lord went through on our behalf. And He did it because He LOVES us. Each and every one of us. The Bible says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:13-14) We are His friends, not only that, we are His sons and daughters if we have accepted Him into our lives as Lord and Savior. His love is unconditional and everlasting. What more could He do, beyond giving His life for you, to prove to you how much He loves you?

Listen to this fantastic song that will tell you how much God loves you!

How He Loves Us – Kim Walker / Jesus Culture