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A month ago I prepared my blog for April, and then the world turned upside down as the Covid-19 pandemic burst upon us. Then on a personal level, my nephew Kevin passed away suddenly on March 18 of a massive heart attack.
Before all this happened, I was asked to write a devotional for our church’s Holy Week meditation, based on the Biblical lectionary readings. The verse that caught my attention is a lesser-known quote of Jesus during the Last Supper with His disciples:
“The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him” (John 13:31).
Little did I know how much this devotional would speak to our world situation and my own need! (Thank you for your Lenten meditations in March which also ministered in my grief during this time!)
I share the devotional with you.
A Higher Perspective.
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Astronaut Chris Hadfield gazed down at the earth from the International Space Station in 2012-2013. He said later, “There was the Sahara, there was Lake Victoria and the Nile, snaking all the way up to the Mediterranean. Explorers gave their lives trying to find the source of the Nile, but I could detect it with a casual glance.”
Hadfield's view of the earth is a vivid metaphor to describe the difference in view between Jesus and his disciples during His last hours on earth. While Jesus told them of His anticipation and glory on returning to His Father, the disciples were still fixated on their idea that Jesus would establish a kingdom on earth.
During the next hours, how could the disciples square everything that contradicted their expectations of Jesus, as he gave Himself to those who betrayed, mocked, beat and crucified Him? They couldn't, because they didn't understand His higher perspective. They understood only later when they saw the risen Christ and received His commission to carry on His work.
This difference in perspective speaks to us when our world comes crashing down. We experience hardship, pain and loss. We wrestle with what can appear to have no connection between our quandary and the faithfulness of God.
God speaks into the outlook we need. "My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts," God told Isaiah (55:9). God knows the whole purpose of His plan, and we don't. He calls us to look beyond the complications of life and lift our gaze to His higher intentions. He will give us meaning in our brokenness and will strengthen our faith as we believe in the goodness of God.
How can you choose to praise God in the middle of a crisis?
How can you determine to trust God's higher perspectives and so glorify Him?
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What Does Coronavirus Mean?
Luigi Sabatelli 1772-1850
The word corona means “crown” in Latin. Under extreme magnification, the virus looks like a thorny crown; therefore, it is—quite literally—the thorny crown virus. This is Satan’s destructive counterfeit of Jesus’ crown. (Is it any coincidence that the virus is gaining/ becoming more vicious and worldwide during Lent and leading up to Easter—in an attempt to further take away the world’s attention from Jesus’ crucifixion and Resurrection?) Let us pray that God would strip this virus of its crown, end the pandemic and bring spiritual renewal.
Several years ago I discovered the background to the song, O Sacred Head Now Wounded which has a long history. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) wrote the lyrics, and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) composed the music. I love its deep meaning brought down to us through the centuries.
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On Holy Week and Easter Sunday
For the rest of my blog which I prepared a month ago, I’m inviting you to engage in links to readings and music. (The readings from our bloggers come from our Easter theme in previous years.)
Marnie Pohlmann wrote about the events in Jesus’ life during each day of Holy Week, and then asked questions about her own walk with Christ.
In one of my sources for Lent, Peter Giersch helps us prepare for the evening of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday morning, the time when the entire church year focuses like a laser beam on the center point of the Gospels: the passion and resurrection of Jesus.
|Painting of himself by Rembrandt|
Good Friday focuses our thoughts on Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Glynis Belec approached the death of Jesus from Mary’s perspective and her own as a mother in Awaiting Resurrection From a Mother’s Heart
Bob Jones blogged about Jesus’ last words on the cross and how we can find hope and courage in these eternal words.
While we often consider Saturday as “the day in between,” Sharon Espeseth shared how the liturgy on Holy Saturday makes the transition from Lent to Easter, from the solemnity to eucharisteo of joy and thanksgiving.
Easter Resurrection Sunday
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Steph Beth Nickel brought the significance of Jesus’ resurrection into our lives and the lives of our loved ones in her blog, Waiting for a Miracle of Two.
God bless you during this time.