Holy Week Reflections 2020

 

TUESDAY

 

A Word from God:

 

"He (Jesus) took the humble position of slave and was born as a Human being"

Phil 2:7

Reflection:

It's funny how this scripture can almost become a throw away line whose depth we never really seem to wholly grasp. So how about right now, allowing yourself a couple of minutes to sit just with that scripture. Just read it over a few times and sit quietly with it; allow God the possibility of revealing something

 

Sit quietly for 5 minutes at least

 

At the end of the 5 minutes, 

write a couple of sentences as to what might have been revealed in that quiet time.

 

Listen:

Maybe finish this time by listening to this wonderful worship song "You Are My Strength" Click here to go to the song

 

Wednesday

 

A Word from God:

 

20 “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me—we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine![r]

21 “So that is why I don’t view God’s grace as something minor or peripheral. For if keeping the law could release God’s righteousness to us, the Anointed One would have died for nothing.”

Gal 2: 20 - 21

Reflection:

Wednesday during Holy Week is also known in some places as "Spy Wednesday".  I was thinking about how funny it would look if we all turned for a church service on Spy Wednesday, wearing Spy trench coats?

 

All jokes aside, if nothing else, this thinking should raise our understanding that everything that happened to Jesus, happened on the back of some basic good old fashioned betrayal. Judas had to betray Jesus. Do you ever wonder about Judas? Was he really the villain or was he maybe even the victim? For Jesus to pour himself out on the cross, Judas had to play his part.

 

Where does this leave us I wonder? People do the wrong thing by us all the time; and yes, we/I do the wrong thing too. The lesson from Judas, and from todays scripture is that grace trumps everything. 

 

Think on these things for a bit; think about how grace always leaves a door open for you. Think about people who have wronged you. Can you/do you model grace to them via the powerful weapon of forgiveness

 

Sit quietly for 5 minutes at least. 

(Go for as long as you can) 

 

Listen: 

When you are done with the stillness, have a listen to this powerful song titled "Worlds Apart" by an American band called Jars of Clay. Click here to go to the song.

 

Write

Finish up this devotion by writing a few words, a few sentences; just try to record what you heard in your spirit, how you felt, what you prayed; anything really. Share with us anything at all if you can. 

 

 

Thursday, 

Holy Thursday, 

Maundy Thursday

 

A Word from God:

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matt 26: 26 - 29

 

(There is quite a lot of scripture telling the story of Holy Thursday evening.

Read it if you have time. Matt 26: 17 - 75)

 

Reflection:

It's ironic isn't it? That here in the year 2020, we are reflecting on a meal that Jesus had with his itinerant band of disciples 2000 years ago. They sat as community, celebrating the Jewish passover, and we are cooped up in our houses, being told to have as little contact as possible with other people. What we would normally do, and how we would normally embrace and celebrate this day and this Easter weekend, will have to look different. 

So what are we left with? Well we are possibly left with a challenge to see just how serious we are about this faith that we claim to have. We can't gather, but we can remember; we can tell and meditate upon the story; we can unite in the spirit with Christians all over the globe who like us, are stuck in their houses wondering what is going on. And what a story it is.

You see, above all else, the story, the narrative hasn't changed. Jesus still came as Gods fulfilment of the prophesies of old. He still walked this earth, praying, teaching, healing and so on. He still gathered with His disciples for a meal, less than 24 hours before his brutal death. 

Me personally? I believe that this Holy Thursday was the pivot point or the fulcrum if you like, that all of our redemption balances on. You think about that for a minute. Once Jesus had left His disciples with the wonderful gift of the last supper, he went to a place called Gethsemane where the Bible tells us that His anguish was so great that he sweated actual drops of blood. Was the cross in all of its significance was decided on that night, in that Garden? Is it true that once Jesus prayed those words "Father, not my will but yours", it was game over for the powers of darkness? 

Tonight, even if you only do one thing, make sure you allow yourself the opportunity to hear, read, tell this wonderful inspiring story. Even if you do nothing else, access the incredible gift that Jesus left us, and break bread with someone; pay attention to what's going on in your spirit when you do. 

Breaking bread with His Disciples was one of the last things that Jesus chose to do with His disciples; you would have to draw from this that it was a pretty significant moment for all of humankind; even though we may not be able to interact physically, we can still break bread, and unite in the spirit, and remember.  

 

Sit quietly for 5 minutes at least.

(Go for as long as you can) 

 

Listen: 

When you are done with the stillness, have a listen to this titled "Our Hope".  

Let the lyrics and the music take you somewhere...

 

Write

Finish up this devotion by writing a few words, a few sentences; just try to record what you heard in your spirit, how you felt, what you prayed; anything really. Share with us anything at all if you can. 

 

 

Good Friday?? 

What's so good about it??

 

A Word from God:

 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly. 

7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,

though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

9Since we have now been justified by his blood,

how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 

10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him

through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,

shall we be saved through his life!

Romans 5: 6 - 10

 

Reflection:

Two weeks ago, I had a tooth pulled. The only other time this had happened was for my wisdom teeth. As I was leaving my dentist said "you're going to hate me in about two hours". And so it came to pass just as he said. I've had 2 knee replacements but I've never known pain like that tooth. When most people are faced with pain, in our modern world there will usually be a barrage of effort to alleviate it. While you are enduring that pain, most of our focus is guided by the thought that it will be over soon. 

 

Good Friday is a day on our Calendar where pain may not be the central narrative, but it is certainly one of the sub-plots. There was documented pain for our Lord in Gethsemane. As well as that, the knowledge that Jesus had regarding what was to come, must have caused Him a huge degree of emotional pain. Aaah but it will all soon be over; beatings, rough handling, scourging, body piercing of an undesirable kind, and we are not even at the cross yet. 

 

So then comes the cross; the agony of carrying it after all of the aforementioned trauma, followed by being nailed and hoisted up between two criminals only to endure a slow death. Aaah yes, but it will all be over soon. The powers of darkness must have thought that they were on the verge of a huge win. Here was the son of God, about to succumb to a defeat that would change the world... forever. 

 

Aaah yes, but it will all be over soon. I have no idea if Jesus actually had that thought or not. What I do know is that Jesus said three words that must have been like a slap in the face to the powers of darkness. 

"It Is Finished"

Whatever had to happen to reclaim our redemption and salvation, had happened. Whatever God needed to do to re-align our hearts with his, had been done. 

Whatever Jesus had to endure in His earthly body, had been endured.

 

It wasn't, "It is finished for now, come back and see me next week." It is, was, now and ever shall be, finished. The veil in the temple was torn; the sceptre of death that the powers of darkness once held onto, was removed. The pathway back to our Father, was now cleared and open for business. Forgiveness was ours. The scripture quoted from Paul at the start of this reflection is the only truth now that you need to hang onto. 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly.

Powerful, humbling and ultimately overwhelming truth. That is what the goal of our life should now be; to live a life that gives testimony to that truth that Paul so eloquently records.

What's so good about Good Friday? Those three words are enough for me.

It is Finished

 

Sit quietly for 5 minutes at least.

(Go for as long as you can) 

 

Listen: 

This song is an absolute beauty. Very powerful. The link will take you to a youtube page, but it is worth it. The song is called "Is He Worthy"

Click here to listen to the song

 

Write

Finish up this devotion by writing a few words, a few sentences; just try to record what you heard in your spirit, how you felt, what you prayed; anything really. Share with us anything at all if you can. 

 

Holy Saturday; Day of Vigil

 

A Word from God:

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. 

They will soar high on wings like eagles. 

They will run and not grow weary. 

They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40 : 31 NLT

 

Reflection:

 

Waiting is a difficult skill. Right now of course, we are all stuck in our homes, all over the world, waiting for this virus to Die out. 

 

We wait. 

 

After Jesus had died in the cross, all (most) of His followers gathered together. I can only imagine the somber mood in the room. They had watched their world fall apart over the previous few days. Most of all, they didn't know the next part of the story that we know, i.e. they thought Jesus was dead and buried, they didn't know what we know now and that is that the story hadn't ended by any stretch of the imagination. 

 

And so, they waited.

 

We know the story; we have access to biblical records that tell us what happened next. We know about the promises of God. So often though, we live our lives as if Jesus never got out of the tomb. We read scriptures like Isaiah (above), but we fail to grasp what the next step looks like. That's the trap for us isn't it? That we stay stuck on Easter Saturday, with knowledge of what's possible, but forgetting that Sunday is on the way. The second part of that Isaiah verse is key; trust in the Lord, yes, wait upon the Lord, yes; but the second half of that scripture invokes and requires action. 

 

And so, we wait; we wait on Saturday for the release that Sunday will bring. 

 

Today, on this Easter Saturday, a day on which the whole planet is in a waiting pattern, use the time well; wait upon God; ask Him to reveal to you what your Sunday will be like when you discover that the stone has been rolled away from the tomb.

 

Get ready to use all of that renewed strength. 

 

Get ready to soar like the eagle.

 

Sit quietly for 5 minutes at least.

(Go for as long as you can) 

 

 

Listen, singalong, worship:

This song is so appropriate. Invest a few minutes in singing it and let it show you the door through to Sunday. Click here to listen.

 

Write

Finish up this devotion by writing a few words, a few sentences; just try to record what you heard in your spirit, how you felt, what you prayed; anything really. Share with us anything at all if you can. 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday: 

Reflections from the Elders

 

From Gil

Jesus death on the cross for us, and his coming back to life again for us are the two most important events on the history of the whole world.  

 

From Grant

Greetings and salt shakers ! l trust this finds you well and sourcing some interesting distractions and uplifting activities.

That intro l wrote a couple of day ago and ran out of puff ! lt is now the middle of the night on Sunday and the big moon has been peering out behind scuttling blobs of dark grey cloud.

Guess what our mighty Boss gave to me, go on guess ! That’s it, you,ve got it ! The road to Emmaus, what a pearler – “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us “

Gobble it up “Taste and see that the Lord is good” Make the most of your opportunities at this time while we are starved of fellowship in the flesh while rich in immersion with our Maker.

 

“ For the joy set before us” l can hardly wait to get together with you all.

Thank You God for my God family.

 

Grant

 

From Jenny

Peace and blessings to you and your beautiful families on this most beautiful day.

As I have been praying and reading during this Holy week , leading up to today - a great day for all Christians - a day full of hope, a day where we know without a shadow of doubt that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, our hope and that His love for us is complete- I was impacted by the grief and confusion the followers of Jesus must have felt in thetime between the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

They did not know what we know , but instead had to sit with their fear, doubt and 'what's next'?  

 

I look at Mary Magdeline who was the last at the cross and the first at the tomb and I am reminded that she was the first to bring the good news to John and Peter and they believed her and went running to tell others.why did they believe her ? Her faith and her love shone through.

 

I am also reminded of what Jesus had done for Mary Magdeline- 

He had driven out 7 demons  from her- she was not perfect, she must have been scared, she must have had self doubt - until she met her / our life saving God.

Yet, God worked in and through her, God showed her she was loved, valuable and that her past was just that- past - she had a new future -  she was the first to tell of the good news. How perfect is that! 

 

Jesus can heal us from our self doubt, our past, our imperfections - and He can use each one of us to tell of His story of death, resurrection, hope , perfect love, His plans for this world... and we, like Mary who loved and trusted Him, have the ability to do what she did .... give people, through Jesus,  a reason to FULLY LIVE knowing that we are forgiven, and we are LOVED. 

I pray that you will feel connected today with your family, friends and  church family as you reflect on the RISEN Jesus - HE IS ALIVE. 

 

From Judy:

Living how and where we live, having a big shed and community workshop -very blessed- I can never run out of projects/jobs to do. If I even appear to (run out of work), Grant soon ropes me in to something he's doing, usually involving cars or motorbikes and grease. However all of this productivity is no substitute for the lack of connectedness I'm feeling with my family and community.

It was with an aching heart ' lack of connectedness'  for relationship, that brings about that 1st Easter.  Jesus's desire as He prays for us is (John 17) "that we might know the only true God" v3, " that we might be one as He and the Father are one....I in them and You in Me" v23.  Jesus took the lonely path to Calvary that enabled us to be brought into the very presence of the Father, into God's forever family- with every debt paid, and gifted us with His resurrection life now and forevermore. 

Amazing Grace.  Happy Easter everyone.xxoo

 

From Julie:

I listened to this song as a teenager in the 1980s. Yep, I guess that dates me. There are some classics that linger in the memory and reverberate in the soul. This is one of them. Even as a skeptical, questioning young person, the pure passion and devotion people like Don Franscisco had for Jesus pierced all my doubts and defences and made a lasting impact.

 

In times of change and stress, it's easy to become anxious and disoriented. People seek certainty, sometimes grasping at "fake news" and conspiracy theories to provide something - anything - definite amid the chaos. But in Isaiah 8:12, we read, "“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear ..." but instead, put our trust in God.

 

As we approach a strange Easter in these strange times, the words of Don's song are beating a tattoo in my brain, "He's alive, He's alive, He's alive and I'm forgiven, heaven's gates are open wide." This is what we celebrate: Jesus has DEFEATED death, he has DEFEATED fear. He has removed every obstacle, every impediment to our coming into his presence and finding our refuge there.

 

So, none of us needs to worry about not being good enough. I have good news for you. You're not. And all our striving won't alter that one bit. So, we might as well give up and relax right? Romans 3:23 tells us, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." None of us makes the grade. We all fall short of God's best. Is that a put down? No! It's great news! This Jesus who laid down his life for us in OUR PLACE and then ROSE AGAIN, who has taken up all our suffering and borne all our iniquity and crappiness and muck-ups ... He has made the way. He's alive, and you're forgiven, heaven's gates are open wide. And there, in his perfect love, in the glory of his presence, is where we find refuge. He is our hiding place, our safe place where our sins are wiped out and our tears are wiped away. Thank you Jesus. We celebrate you. You're alive. (Click Here to have a listen to He's Alive by Don Francisco)

12 Our Hope
00:00 / 02:42

P. 0487 381 378

©2018 by River Valley Church. Proudly created with Wix.com