Lectionary: Good Friday

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Keith Wiglusz

Scripture affirms to us that Jesus sympathizes with our weakness. He himself felt weakness while on earth to pay the ultimate penalty for the sins of the whole world past, present and future. He was sinless and at the time the only one who had brought back anyone from death. Now He was faced with doing the Father’s will and dying. I met a man who claimed he was locked up wrongly for a crime. Out of curiosity I asked if he had ever done that same crime any other time and not been caught. He actually bragged he had. The fact that Jesus committed no sin really sunk in my mind after that revelation.

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Lectionary: Maundy Thursday

by Terrance “Lil Bear” Plummer

Exodus 12:1-14

LAST INSTRUCTIONS

This is the instructional video that God gave to Moses and Aaron to give to those He calls His own (the congregation of Israel). These are the things that needed to be done to gain their freedom. As with Israel, God is often giving us instructions for our lives, things to be done, to set us free from the thing or persons that have us enslaved. When God hears our cry, we must be ready to move out to the places God wants to take us. Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 15C / Ordinary 20C / Pentecost +13

“Right Place, Right People, Right Time”

by CM

Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:1-3, 8-19
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Luke 12:49-56

There is a particular location where one’s gift fits perfectly. There are particular people among whom your genius will be most appreciated. And there is a particular time when the stage is ready for your grand entrance. It is one’s true purpose to create the point at which these elements converge for the glory of God in the uniqueness of your life.

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Monday in Holy Week

by Matthew B. Harper

Heb 12:1 – Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

The Christian life is a fine balancing act. It is a balance of working to have meaning and purpose, while also taking care of the cares and concerns of our present life. This requires balance.

Paul often talks of ‘working’, of ‘running’ of ‘toiling’ in his ministry and life. We try to follow this example by being busy, but business is a far cry from purposeful action. Modern life seems to be about running very fast just to stay still, and this is pointless. Action must have purpose.

The life of a monk is a good example of a balanced life. They live a daily schedule of study, toil, prayer, and worship. When the monks can live a good schedule then great peace and balance are found. And yet a monk, by definition, does not have the blessed chaos of a spouse or young children.

In prison we have a lot of free time, but it is rigidly divided up into blocks of time, divided by counts, meals, searches, and other security procedures. So it becomes necessary to designate blocks of time for prayer, work, study, rest, and other vocations. I take a lot of guidance from the monks, and the prison becomes my monastery. It is amazing that when you get out of bed a few minutes earlier, to study and pray, that it does more for your soul than that little bit of sleep. When you turn your TV off for a while, that you really don’t miss anything. Prayer can be done in cars or on buses; you can read the Bible while in the bathroom.

Carve out some time this week for God, try to find some balance, think and pray. Make your actions purposeful.

Almighty God: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through thy son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” BCP 168

2nd Day of Christmas

by Matthew B. Harper

Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. (Hebrews 13:12)

What does it mean to be sanctified? We read the term in our Bibles and hear it echoed in church, but what does it mean?

Sanctification is the process of God drawing us closer. God meets us where we are, but God loves us too much to leave us that way. Sanctification is the way that God is working in our lives to pull us more closely to God. Sanctification is a process, a lifelong journey, and one that we only finish when our lives on earth are done.

In my life, as for many prisoners, the biggest stumbling blocks on my journey with God have been over issues of forgiveness. Learning how to truly forgive the people in my life for things done, or not done, was hard. But it is an easy task compared to learning how to accept forgiveness for what I myself have done. Learning to accept this priceless gift transforms everything. Most importantly it paves the way for us to be able to forgive ourselves. This is not the empty ‘forgive and forget’ kind of forgiveness that the world plays around with. The forgiveness of God is an all encompassing forgiveness, one that knows each and every one of our wrongs, acknowledges them, and loves us beyond them.

Part of the process of sanctification is finding ways to know and to acknowledge our past, while being free to enter into new life in God. I am daily aware of what I have done, and I can allow it to help shape who I am. More importantly though, I remain constantly aware of the Sanctifying Grace of God that has forgiven me and lifted me into new life.

To bring this gift to all of us, the beloved children of God, is one of the reasons Christ came to us. It is one of our Christmas gifts.

To you this night is born a child of Mary, chosen virgin mild; this newborn child of lowly birth shall be the joy of all the earth. (Hymn 80)

Before and After (Christmas Day)

Christmas Day

Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)

“Before and After”

by CM

Have you ever known a person who was stuck in the past? Everything they say is about, “The good old days.” People constantly caught up in nostalgia, pining for the comforts of yesterday, confusing “old-school” with “old-fashioned.” Just because an old pair of shoes is still comfortable doesn’t mean that they aren’t worn out and as with all things, change is inevitable.

Our text is written fro the benefit of those who have become comfortable with what was. People who are devoted to God in the context of a past deliverance. We have come to love the Lord and have a “testimony” to the truth of what God can do. We remember our former state, our particular sin, and in that deliverance we KNOW God; for it was through that experience that God spoke to use… in times past, our Before.

Our text illuminates the validity of a “before” experience. God spoke in time past through the prophets, but in these last days, he speaks through his son Jesus—the “After.” Many in the first century and up to this very day have a problem with the change that Jesus brought into the world. They were, and are, stuck in the before, but the real question is this. Does a person’s choice to be suck in the past equate to God remaining there too?

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus and acknowledge God’s transition in his means of communication from the old to the new, let’s open ourselves up to experience God work in our life in a new way. Let’s open ourselves up to a new “After” and be thankful for God’s “Before.”

The opening words of Psalm 98 read, “O sing to the LORD a new song.” In Jesus we have cause to. In all that we testify to, all of it is “before.” Move with an open willingness into the glorious “after” of what God wants to deliver you not just from, but to.