Today is Saturday, the third of April, 2021, in Holy Week. The last day of Lent.
Peace be with you!
Day 23,032 (palindromic!)
Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow!
We made it to the weekend! It was definitely a challenging week, as work seemed extra busy and more demanding, this past week. I get an extra day off this coming week, as I will be taking S to get her second vaccine shot on Tuesday morning. And, as of yesterday, I guess I am considered, officially, “fully vaccinated,” as it has been two weeks since my second shot.
I will, however, continue to keep safe distances and wear a mask any time I am around other people.
That includes tomorrow morning’s church gathering, as we have decided to meet in person, in the back yard of our host home. The weather looks like it will be nice, although, perhaps, cloudy.
Boston lost their opening game to the Orioles, 3-0. Not a bad score, but the O’s outhit the Sox 9-2. Meanwhile, the Astros lead the AL West at 2-0, and the Rays lead the AL East at 2-0. In the NL, the Mets and Nationals have yet to play. I’m not sure what’s going on, there, whether it is weather-related or COVID-related.
Both the Rangers and the Red Sox will play again today. Kohei Arihara will take the mound for Texas, against former Ranger Mike Minor for KC. Gametime at Kaufman Stadium is 1:10 CDT. Also, looking at the schedule, I see that the Mets and Nationals postponement is, indeed, COVID-related. So it’s already started.
And the Rangers plan to open the ballpark at 100% capacity for the home opener on Monday.
We have our WW Workshop at 10:30, this morning, after which we will pick up our grocery order at Kroger (we decided to try them again, but C will likely make a trip to a different store because, of course, no one store has everything that we like . . . that would be too convenient). After our Saturday brunch, we have a new bed to set up for S. Supposedly, it is “easy” to set up, and requires no tools. We shall see about that.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
I’ll begin this morning with a poem by Christina Rosetti, A Better Resurrection
I have no wit, no words, no tears; My heart within me like a stone Is numb'd too much for hopes or fears; Look right, look left, I dwell alone; I lift mine eyes, but dimm'd with grief No everlasting hills I see; My life is in the falling leaf: O Jesus, quicken me. My life is like a faded leaf, My harvest dwindled to a husk: Truly my life is void and brief And tedious in the barren dusk; My life is like a frozen thing, No bud nor greenness can I see: Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring; O Jesus, rise in me. My life is like a broken bowl, A broken bowl that cannot hold One drop of water for my soul Or cordial in the searching cold; Cast in the fire the perish'd thing; Melt and remould it, till it be A royal cup for Him, my King: O Jesus, drink of me.
The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.
For the LORD hears the cries of the needy;
he does not despise his imprisoned people.
Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them.
(Psalms 69:32-34 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- that I have seen You at work (but make me more humble)
- that You hear the cries of the needy
- for patience in the waiting
- for the boldness of Joseph of Arimathea
- that You have been our dwelling place throughout the generations
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 40 – HOLY SATURDAY
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
(John 1:29 NIV)
I am pausing to quietly reflect on the work of God, who hears the cries of the needy and does not despise His imprisoned people.
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
(Psalms 22:2 NIV)
But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
(Psalms 22:19-23 NIV)
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
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.
(Luke 23:50-56 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I rest in God’s presence, I read these passages again, asking the Holy Spirit to draw me in and speak to me.
I confess that I’m feeling a bit “scattered,” this morning, but I will try to make sense of the thoughts in my head.
The psalmist seems to be making a desperate cry to God. He feels, perhaps not ignored, but that God is not answering. I have known the restless night; I have a friend who struggles with anxiety and restless nights. I have experienced nights that, when I have to get up in the middle of the night, if I allow my thoughts to drift toward work, I have a very difficult time getting back to sleep.
But the psalmist also knows the strength of the Lord. He has faith in God. I believe that he does not doubt that God will, in due time, help him and strengthen him.
We get a glimpse of Joseph of Arimathea in Luke’s Gospel. It is pointed out that he “had not consented to their decision and action.” “Their” meaning the Council, the Sanhedrin, of which he was a member. Luke also declares that Joseph was “waiting for the kingdom of God.
Matthew tells us that Joseph had become a disciple of Jesus (27:57).
What draws me in, though, is the bit about how he was waiting for the kingdom. While it is true that we are currently part of God’s kingdom, and we have asserted that the kingdom of God is not something that we have to wait to enter after we die, there is still a sense in which we are all waiting for it. I suppose you could say we are waiting for its fulfillment; its ultimate realization. Yes, we walk in the kingdom, now, and it is here and available, and has been ever since Jesus came on the scene. But it is also not yet fully here.
And what better day to stress this idea of waiting than Holy Saturday? We are in the middle of the silence, perhaps the darkest day in the history of mankind. This is a day when Jesus’s band of brothers and sisters sat in stunned disbelief, having no clue what was coming next (even though Jesus had told them). It was the darkest of all Sabbaths.
Father, during this day of darkness and hopelessness, I pray that You will speak to us. We, of course, know how this part of the story played out. But if we put ourselves in the place of a few dozen followers of Christ, roughly two thousand years ago, we find ourselves in a state of desperate unknowing. There are few things that are worse than unknowing. I can imagine the knot in the stomachs of the eleven remaining disciples and the women who followed Jesus. I can feel the hopelessness, and imagine that they slept very little over the course of the nights following the crucifixion. I can also imagine the fear that they felt.
In our modern times, it seems as though You have been silent for a long time. The wicked flourish, seemingly without consequence. Our government is filled with corruption and lies, from the national level down to the local levels. Your people, to some degree, seem to have lost sight of You and begun to follow people instead. Have mercy on us, Lord! Show Your face! Show Your strength and Your power! We wait for You, Lord; I wait for You. I will not put my trust in princes, kings, governors, or presidents; my trust is in You alone! May Your Church wait for You, Lord, and not run ahead; we cannot follow if we are ahead of You. Teach us to wait.
Forsaken God, you really did die. The cross was no theater or mere metaphor; you weren't whisked away badly injured yet alive. You set out to save, and you went all the way to death, fulfilling God's justice and truth, fully paying for my sin. And so today, between the cross and the resurrection, I wait for your salvation to dawn again in my life. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 40-41)
In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
(Revelation 5:12 NIV)
Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
(John 19:42 NIV)
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb . . .
(John 20:1 NIV)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
(Psalms 90:1-4 NIV)
So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
(Mark 15:46 NIV)
Lord, You truly are our “dwelling place.” May it be so today, as in all days, as we silently ponder the meaning of these days in history. We wait for You, for the return of Your Son, sometimes patiently, sometimes not so much. We must remember that truth that a thousand years in Your sight are like a day. And if the Son was in the grave three days and three nights, perhaps we still have a while to wait. So let us wait; let us wait in eager anticipation with the joy of hope in our hearts. In a sense, we are like the disciples on that Saturday. We are in the long “Saturday” of our own, as we wait for the Bridegroom to return to claim His Bride. Keep us faithful and watchful, Lord!
This morning, I pray that the Church, Your people, would work toward the “common good” and the benefit of all people. Inspire us, Father, to not simply look out for our own well-being, but for that of our neighbors, as well. I also pray that Your Church would experience the true care and love of community together. I lift up all missionaries, this morning, who are serving You far from their original homes.
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Lord, have mercy on us Christ, have mercy on us Lord, have mercy on us
Grace and peace, friends.