A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Serving One Another in Love: A Reflection for Maundy Thursday

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

A guest post from Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, First United Methodist Church, Ashland, Ohio.
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While living overseas, I got the opportunity to hike through a desert canyon. My friends and I wanted to get out of the city to explore and the hiking guide promised we had chosen a "beginner" trail, so we went for it. The vista was sun-bleached and magnificent, with the rocky, wild terrain broken up by bright blue and green streams of water that persisted where dryness otherwise prevailed. As we approached, I scanned the scene for a clear trail, but there was nothing but uneven wilderness. The "beginner" designation, it would seem, was extremely subjective. This was wild territory. Despite my apprehension and inherent clumsiness, however, there was no going back. My friends and I strapped on some helmets and proceeded to embark on six of the most difficult and rewarding hours of our lives.

Scriptures and Prayer for Maundy Thursday

Old Testament: Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14

Psalter: Psalm 116:1, 10-17

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Gospel: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
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Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Seeing Through the Veil of Heartache and Betrayal: A Reflection for Wednesday of Holy Week

John 13:21-32

A guest post from Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, First United Methodist Church, Ashland, Ohio.
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My favorite novel is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which tells the story of four sisters as they grow up and navigate the world. This book has impacted me in many ways, one of which being my first experience of ever truly hating a character. Because it was published in the 1860's, I will risk sharing a spoiler. There is a scene early in the novel when the youngest sister, Amy, having been spurned by her older sister, Jo, when she asked to join for a night on the town, decided to burn the book over which Jo had been slaving. It was absolutely sick to my stomach over the depths of such a betrayal, and I joined Jo in her bitter grief, fiery anger, and deep reluctance to forgive the treacherous Amy.

Scriptures and Prayer for Wednesday in Holy Week

Old Testament: Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalter: Psalm 70

Epistle: Hebrews 12:1-3

Gospel: John 13:21-32
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Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Who Is This Son of Man? A Reflection for Tuesday of Holy Week

See the source imageJohn 12:20-36

Many years ago when I was a young pastor, I received a telephone call from a parishioner on a Sunday afternoon. She wanted to talk about my sermon that morning. She was disturbed by something I had said. I asked her to tell me what it was that was bothering her. She began to relay to me what she heard that morning. By the time she was done interpreting my words, it was clear that what she had heard was not what I said or at least intended to say. I responded to her saying, "If that is what I had actually said, I would be disturbed too!"

Scriptures and Prayer for Tuesday in Holy Week

See the source imageOld Testament: Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalter: Psalm 71:1-14

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Gospel: John 12:20-36
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O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: A Reflection for Monday of Holy Week

John 12:1-11

The people we tend to remember the most are those who test the boundaries of social convention, who take risks, who as we say, "go against the flow." These people who tend to march to the beat of their own drum are indeed memorable. They can also be very annoying and sometimes infuriating. Surely, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus pushed the boundaries of the culturally acceptable in her devotion to Jesus.

Scriptures and Prayer for Monday in Holy Week

Old Testament: Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalter: Psalm 36:5-11

Epistle: Hebrews 9:11-15

Gospel: John 12:1-11
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Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Scriptures and Prayer for Liturgy of the Palms/Passion

Liturgy of the Palms

Psalter: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
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God of our salvation, we give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came in your name and turned the lonely way of rejection and death into triumph. Grant us the steadfast faith to enter the gates of righteousness, that we may receive grace to become worthy citizens of your holy realm. Amen.

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Liturgy of the Passion

Old Testament: Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalter: Psalm 31:9-16

Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11

Gospel: Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
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Merciful God, your strength and courage pour forth to sustain the witness of your faithful people. Awaken in us the humility to serve wherever creation is broken and in need, that we may follow in the way of our brother, Jesus, die as he did to all that separates us from you, and with him be raised to new life. Amen.