A New Command; Easter 2013

After Jesus identifies Judas as the betrayer and sends him out he addresses his disciples:

“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son himself, and will glorify him at once.  My children, I will be with you only a little longer.  You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now:  Where I am going, you cannot come.”  

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”    (Jn. 13: 31-35)

The Embrace of Love

 

This is painting I noticed walking through the Vatican Museum last year while “Chasing Francis of Assisi”.  It caught my attention because I thought Pedro Cano was able to create the heart felt emotion of a loving embrace between two men, Pope Paul II and Cardinal Wyszynski.

I came from a family that never hugged or outwardly showed loving affection.  But with time well spent around my wife’s family and in our “Christian family” circle I have come to truly appreciate a hug.   We all need to be valued and accepted as we are.  And I believe that we as individuals are beginning to love one another … no matter what church we are attending … nondenominational, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Franciscan ….

But what about our various church denominations and their leadership?  Are our churches really exhibiting the love of Christ?  Does the “world” know the collective “body of Christ” by the love we have for one another?  Are we working together in our communities to help the poor, feed the hungry, and house our homeless??  Could we not accomplish so much more for Jesus by working together?  


Jesus is alive!  “Peace be with you.”

Peace Be With You

 

Let us break bread together.

The Emmaus Meal

 

And love one another.  “The most excellent way.”

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”     (I Cor. 13)

“Do this in remembrance of me.”

St. Brigida Communion

 

“This, this is the God we adore, 

  Our faithful, unchangeable friend,

Whose love is as great as his power,

And neither knows measure nor end.”    Joseph Hart (1712-1768)

How can we understand such a deep, infinite, compelling, and transforming love?  I can not but only begin to comprehend it in the very same love He has lavished on me through my family and friends.  Thank you for your Living Word … may my will be washed in submission … yielding and rejoicing in Heaven’s best for the sake of others and for the glory of your name.  Amen

Have a blessed Easter.

For Marge and the Dealy family, with all our love.

This world is not my home.  I’m just passing through.

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like you.

If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?

The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

They’re expecting me and that’s one thing I know

My Saviour pardoned me and now I onward go.

I know he’ll take me through, though I am weak and poor

And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.

Just up in Gloryland we’ll live eternally.

The saints on every hand are shouting victory.

Then the songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven’s shore.

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

I have a loving family just up in Gloryland

And I don’t expect to stop until I shake God’s hand.

They’re waiting now for me in heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you.

If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do?

The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

 

 

 

The Burial of Jesus

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This photo was taken from DomKirken (the Dome Church) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The following passage is taken from The Narrated Bible, a Bible arranged in chronological order.

The Burial of Jesus


Even in Jesus’ burial a remarkable story unfolds involving two men whose names will live throughout history:  Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  That anyone outside Jesus’ family would have sufficient courage to ask for his body would be curious enough.  The real surprise, however, is that it should be a member of the very council which had called for Jesus’ execution.  Yet the record notes that Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, is also a believer, and it is he who will bury Jesus’ body in his own tomb.  Joseph will be aided by Nicodemus, the Pharisee and Jewish ruler who had come to Jesus by night asking how one is to be born again.  Although the record of that visit did not disclose the result of their discussion, the happy ending is that apparently Nicodemus has become a believer.  It is fitting, therefore, that two men whose lives have been so touched by Jesus should now express their gratitude in this final tribute.

“It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath).  So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly o Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.  Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead.  Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.  When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.

With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.  This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.  He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.  Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes.  But they rested on the Sabbath in  obedience to the commandment.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees 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.  Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead.  This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered.  “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posing a guard.”

(All from passages in Mt. 27, Mk 15, Lk 23 and Jn 19)

Of course, you know the rest of the story.  Our Savior did indeed rise from the dead!  And he now sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding on our behalf.  So rejoice and be glad.

I wish you all a very Happy Easter.  May hope live strong in your heart.

The Lord’s Prayer

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And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

 

This, then is how you should pray:

 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from the evil one,

for yours is the kingdom 

and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

 

Matthew 6: 5-13