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Holy Week. Day 4. Wednesday.

March 31st, 2010 by stephanie

Apparently, the Wednesday of Holy Week came to be known over time as “Spy Wednesday.” It is thought that on this day Judas Iscariot, (the disciple who betrayed Jesus) agreed to show the chief priests where they could easily capture The Christ. But it is also the day when the famous incident with the expensive alabaster box takes place.

Matthew 26:3-5

¶ Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him.

Matt. 26:14-16 ¶ Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.

So where was Jesus when all of this was taking place?  He left the city and went back to be with Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Where he had just been the day before Palm Sunday.

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?  “For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.

 “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.

 “For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.  “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”  Matt: 26:6-13

Tomorrow, we look at Maundy Thursday. Watch those church signs. You’ll see services are being held tomorrow at some ecclesiastical churches. Maybe you can catch one!

S.

Verses for Today:

Matt:26:1-13

Mark 14:1-10

Holy Week. Day 3. Tuesday.

March 31st, 2010 by stephanie

Tuesday before Christ was crucified was a very full day for Jesus.  Knowing it was His final week on this earth, as a human, you can really see how hard he was working to get every little last bit of business in that He could before His departure.

Holy Week  Tuesday is the day when the famous incident between Jesus and Pharisees is thought to have taken place. The altercation that tried to trap Jesus into making a blasphemous, or, anti-god remark. (Mark 11:27-33). On this day Jesus also taught in parables in addition to confronting the Jewish leaders (Matthew 21:28-23:36).

Then, after the Greeks asked to see Jesus (John 12:20-26), He then delivered the famous Olivet Discourse . This was the message he gave on the Mount of Olives about the destruction of Jerusalem to come and the signs of the last days. (Matt 24)

Quite a bit of ancient prophecy was to be fulfilled on this day as well.  Some of it being that He would be rejected by his own people (Isaiah 53:1,3; Psalm 41:19).

Eventually Judas agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16). What time of day, we are not sure, but most agree, it was on Tuesday.

As you can see, it was a very busy day for our Lord and full of meaning.

S.

Verses for Today:

Matt. 22:15-46

Mark 11:20-33

Luke 21:1-47

Holy Week. Day 2. Monday.

March 29th, 2010 by stephanie

So, now you know what happened on Palm Sunday. If you read yesterday’s blog that is.  Jesus went into Jerusalem,  rode through the streets on a donkey and the people waved palm branches and sang, “Hosanna to God in the highest.” We refer to that event as the Triumphal Entry. 

But many of us forget what transpired after He got down off of the donkey. No warm and fuzzy Jesus here.  Take a look at what happened next.  

 Matt 21:12-17

¶ And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.

And He *said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

 But on a side note, did you know that this was not the first time Jesus raised a ruckus in the temple?  That’s right. Believe it or not, right after his very first miracle (turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana) Jesus went to the temple during Passover and let the money changers have it. Check it out in John chapter 2!

Basically, Jesus blows into town, blows up, then…blows out.

He left Jerusalem proper that Sunday evening and went back to the city to Bethany, where he had been staying since Friday night. It was the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  It appears that was where he stayed most of the week leading up to his tragic death.  Spending  it with the people that comforted Him the most.

Monday, however, was back to business as usual. Jesus got up and headed back into the city. On the way, He cursed the fig tree.

Check it out…

Matt 21:18-19 

Mark 11:12-19

Luke 19

Then, he cleansed the Temple…again!

After that, he headed back to Bethany for some rest.

See you tomorrow!

Palm Sunday. Day 1 of Holy Week.

March 28th, 2010 by stephanie

Day 1: Sundown Saturday to Sunday Sunday.

In case you didn’t know, today began what is known to the Christian church as Holy Week.  Yep, the week before Easter. And it starts officially today. Palm Sunday.  For those of you that have been following along since Friday – welcome back!

It’s hard to imagine, but many churches will go through today without even mentioning the significance of Palm Sunday and the events leading up to Christ’s death.  It seems to be a Day or Tradition that has been a bit lost in recent past.

If you attend a church or have been in a Palm Sunday service when they wave palm branches you have experienced the beauty and anticipation that the day brings. Perhaps you were not fully aware of the significance of this tradition or where the symbolism actually came from. Allow me to divulge.

On  the Sunday before his death,  Jesus walked the 2 miles in from Bethany and rode a donkey over a palm branch-paved pathway into Jerusalem proper. This was but one of many coming fulfillments of prophecy. This one spoken by the prophet Zechariah (see Zechariah 9:9). 

Here’s the significance of that move: In biblical times, (especially in this era of Roman rule) the custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; and riding it was a symbolic gesture that proclaimed peaceful intentions. When a king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph, people would lay palm branches in his path to signify the victory of the king.  

Here is how it played out for Jesus: 

John 12:12-15

¶ On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it.

Zech 9:9, which was written hundreds of years before speaks to this event:  “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” 

The people of that day lived in a period where there legally was no king but Caesar. And here they are, in a packed city preparing for the Passover and touting a new king. One they believed was their long awaited Messiah.  You gotta know, this didn’t go over very well. Stay tuned.

After that Triumphal Entry, as we call it, Jesus went into the Temple, threw over the money changers tables, freed the sacrificial doves and healed the blind and the lame.

Having had a very full day, Jesus returned that night to the place that brought him comfort: the home of his friends Mary, Martha & Lazarus, in Bethany.

S.

verses for today:

Matt. 21: 1-17

Mark 11:1-11

Luke 19:28-46

John 12:12, 13

Friday Night. Jesus’ Last Sabbath.

March 26th, 2010 by stephanie

So, it’s Friday prior to Holy Week. For you and me.

But for Jesus and His disciples it was time to make the trek toward Jerusalem in preparation for Passover Feast week. For our Jewish Jesus, it was also to be the final week of His human life. On this particular night, he would celebrate one last Sabbath – which would begin at sundown and go through Saturday at sunset.

In case you didn’t know, Jewish law only allows folks to do a few things on the Sabbath. One of the rules is how far a person can walk. According to the Mitzvah, you may not walk a straight line more than .598 miles (3161.74 ft.) in any direction in the wilds outside your city limits. (Even today, Orthodox Jews do not drive on Sabbath and walk to service.)

Jesus had been spending His time of late in the desert region of Ephraim (about 20 miles outside Jerusalem) and was now working His way to, and through, Jericho (15 miles out). He needed to get to where He was going by sunset, before Sabbath began. His destination for this night? Bethany. With the average adult walking pace at about 4 mph, that day’s journey from Jericho to Bethany (about 12 miles) would take about 8 hours. So basically, Jesus spent that day most likely travelling to not only be with dear friends, but to keep his appointment with destiny.

This village was about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem and was the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. And yes, that is the very Lazarus He had just raised from the Dead earlier that same week. (Jn. 11) Talk about a foreshadowing! The town was also dangerously close to Jerusalem and those that wanted him dead. But Jesus knew what he was doing.

Meanwhile, as He was walking that day, Martha was cookin’ up a storm down in Bethany. Probably fixing his favorite meal. And I bet she was keeping a sharp eye on Mary the entire day!

They had a big dinner in His honor that Sabbath. Martha served, Lazarus reclined at the table, and Mary entered the room full of men, broke a bottle of precious ointment, showered Jesus with tears of affection and anointed His feet with her hair. A fitting tribute that foreshadowed his coming burial. As tradition had it, you anointed a person’s head. You were allowed to only anoint the feet of a corpse.

Judas, the treasurer, who pilfered from the pouch, wasn’t too thrilled with Mary’s little scene and expressed his disappoval of this expensive “waste” that could, and should, have been used on the poor. Jesus replied: You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (Jn. 12:8)

There’s lots more to come.

C U tomorrow.

Stephanie

TIP: Sunset Fri, – Sunset Sat. – DAY 1

 

Holy Week Cometh.

March 25th, 2010 by stephanie

Have you noticed the church signs of late that tout Holy Week festivites, as you zip down the road? If you haven’t, try to take a quick glimpse in the next couple of days. Without compromising your safety of course.

 Just a quick tip, it will be more of the Methodist and Episcopalian type of churches that will have these. They seem to be more traditional in keeping the events of that week more so than other denominations. Think “high” church.

But consider this your invitation to join us here, begining Friday. We will be walking you through the Holy Week and giving you the scoop. Sort of following where Jesus went and what he did each final day. Think of it like this: if you only had one week left on earth, where would you go, who would you see and what would you say? It should be interesting.

Why Friday? Well, because that is truly when the last week of Jesus begins. You see, as we follow the final journey together, you will need to remember this 1) Jesus and His buddies were Jewish, and  2) they were preparing for and participating in the Passover that week.  So, we will begin with where Jesus was as they got ready for that Festival.

Be sure you are subscribed to this blog, or bookmark it so that you can come back and follow along with us daily.  We’ll see you soon!

Stephanie

Those Rolls with the Cross that were Outlawed.

March 22nd, 2010 by stephanie

It was a gloomy, misty morning. A perfect setting  for a Good Friday, if you were to ask me. And I was hot on the trail for the best Hot Cross Buns I could find. Out of the house and into the car with The Judge (my faithful pup), we headed out to find the most delectible assortment available.

After a morning of  trekking, purchasing, and sampling, I came to the conclusion that Panera Bread’s assorments won hands down. I will be there again this year, you can be sure! In case you didn’t know, you can only find these tasty treats at Easter. And I readily await their arrival.

I was surprised to learn they are quite a long standing tradition. As a matter of fact, a first sighting was about 40 years after Christ’s death. The discovery was in Italy!

When archaeolgists excavated the ancient city of Herculaneum in Southwest Italy (which had been buried under volcanic ask and lava since 79 A.D.), they found two small loaves, each with a cross on it, among the ruins.

Hop across the pond, as they say, and these day, over in England,  Hot Cross Buns are served at breakfast on Good Friday morning. They are small, spiced buns whose brown sugary surface is marked with a white icing cross. Old English tradition believed that hanging a Hot Cross Bun in the house on Good Friday prevented bad luck in the coming year. According to superstition, crossed buns and loaves baked on Good Friday also never went moldy.

For a long time bakers, by law, were only allowed to bake and sell the buns at burials, on Good Friday, or at Christmas. There was actually a decree issued in 1592 (during  Queen Elizabeth I) showing that exact ruling!

It’s hard for those of us in today’s Western cultures to believe, or imagine, that religion and faith used to be so much a part of people’s everyday lives. Especially that it resulted in a legal mandate.  But it’s true. Rules were actually created that  protected the stature and remembrance of that simple little bun & its meaning. To the extent of baked good sales, no less! Talk about government intervention.

With that, you might want to build the locating, and eating, of Hot Cross Buns into your upcoming Easter shedule and  festivities. If anything, to revive the tradition in your home, to spread the good news or to simply start that unique conversation.

Just my thoughts.

S.

Extra thot for today: That Christ be remembered, no matter how creative the method or means, is always a good thing.

Spring Is Here…

March 18th, 2010 by stephanie

Those were the opening words of one of the tunes I used to sing back in the day. That “Day” was when I sang with a 17-piece stage band.  I loved my days with the boys. They were incredible musicians, and I was honored to be a part. More than that, I just simply LOVED jazz. That genre of music to me, Smoothe Jazz, actually, is like a fresh spring breeze.

Though our friends in the Northern Regions may not be “feeling” it just quite yet, believe it or not, Spring begins Saturday. March 20 to be exact. For those Down Under, however, Spring won’t come until September 22!  You folks in the Southern Hemisphere are on an opposite track of us north-of-the-equator-types.

Spring in our neck of the woods lasts only two months – March through May. During that short time, it gives us Easter, Passover and May Day to name a few special events.

In spring, the axis of the Earth begins to tilt toward the Sun. The length of daylight suddenly increases for the hemisphere closest to the sun. That hemisphere begins to warm up which causes  new plant growth to “spring forth.” Thus the name SPRING. If you live in or travel to the South here in the states, one of the famous sites during this time is that of the blooming Dogwoods. If you’re a literature buff, you may recall they used to be called Whipple trees. (Think Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales.)

I have a couple in my backyard, and I anxiously await their “showtime”.  If you aren’t familiar with the flower that this tree produces, it’s quite fascinating. Interestingly as well is the legend of the Dogwood.  As the story goes, Jesus was crucified on a cross made of it’s wood.  To remember his death, the flowers speak to that story. If you have ever seen the blooms you’ll notice that the flower’s four petals are cross-shaped (representing the four corners of the cross) and each bears a rusty indentation like that of a nail. In addition, the red stamens of the flower represent Jesus’ crown of thorns and the clustered red fruit represents his blood.

And there you have it. More conversation fodder for that next trip to the water cooler or board meeting.

Happy Spring!

Stephanie

Are you Green or Orange this St. Patty’s Day?

March 15th, 2010 by stephanie

When we see or think of St. Patty’s Day, we think green. We wear green. We eat green things. Perhaps that’s due, in large part, to the fact that Green was the color of the Flag for Irish Catholics. But did you know that Orange was the color of the Protestant flag? It’s true. I learned that little tid bit from my grandfather. “We were orange,” he used to say. “And we came from County Cork.”

My grandfather would remind me about that history, without fail, each and every St. Patrick’s Day. He wasn’t trying to make a point, he was just proud that he knew something about our heritage and he was pleased to pass that knowledge along to me.

But the tidbit of info in regards to the original St. Pat is what I love to remember each year as well. Did you know that he was not a Leprechaun who danced in clover but rather was an actual son of wealthy British parents that lived in the 4th century? Here’s the scoop.

At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. The bandits took the lad to the Island of Ireland where he spent his captivity working as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. It was during this frightening time of isolation that he discovered Christ and developed a strong faith. Legend has it that he began to have dreams of winning the Irish to Christianity. Now, that’s what I call a heart for ministry!

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick made a run for it – and escaped. Believe it or not, there are actual writings of his that survived and exist to this day. He wrote of a voice, which he believed to be God’s. It spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. And, boy did he.

Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, he recorded a second vision. This time, it was an angel in a dream, that told him to return to Ireland as a missionary! And you know what? He did just that. But much later.

Patrick first threw himself into studying his new faith. 15 years later, he became an ordained priest and was commissioned to Ireland. His mission? To minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

And there you have it. When you hit that board meeting, coffee chat or water cooler today, hopfully you’ll have something new on which to dish. Perhaps your listeners will be “green” with envy. Who knows. 🙂

Here’s to St. Pat and his green. And here’s to those of us that are Orange!

Just my thoughts,

S.

I’ve Heard of Catching Moonbeams, but-Daylight?

March 13th, 2010 by stephanie

It’s that time again. The season where each of us frantically run around our homes changing the clocks in the bathroom, the living area, the bedrooms and the oven. If that’s not enough, we then head out to adjust those electircal devices that don’t auto-set with the satellite. You know, the ones that need your manual attention. If you can find them all!

So just where did this cockamamy idea of setting those darn clocks back and forth twice a year come from anyway? As usual, I set out with laptop to determine the sacred answer. Apparently, a New Zealander is credited. And his argument resulted in what is a current mandate of our lives. (but you’ll have to do your own research on that one.)

Today, I wanted to know just what is daylight savings time (DST) exactly? Here is what I found: the practice of advancing clocks so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less. 

hmmmmmmm.  What I wanted to know is, why do you and I have no say in this tradition? Who benefits, and just who doesn’t?

Winners? Sporting events, retailers and other functions and activities that rely on sun after work hours. Apparently, there are fewer traffic fatalties during DST.

Losers? Farmers and nighttime events. People in varying time zones that do business and plan meetings with those who do NOT follow DST. And I do hope all of that equipment in hospitals and 1st response units all auto-set! Or someone better be on the ball in the triage unit tonight. I’m just sayin’…

Ok, in fairness, civilizations did adjust their work schedules around the light. It made sense. But they were all locals on their own local time clock. It wasn’t a global village.

Even our own beloved Benjamin Franklin, during his French rock-star years (remember his proverb, “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”) anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. 

 These days we forget that Europe during the 1700s did not keep precise schedules like we do today. When the railroad came into our lives, as well as communication like the telegraph, schedules had to be created and kept.

So there you have it. Some thoughts on DST you might not have cared about nor heard before. I hope these tidbits brighten your day. At least until we do it allllll over again – this fall.

Just my thoughts,

S.

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