Tag Archives: Easter

Three Days Until Easter:


With Easter so near we can almost taste the chocolate, many of us have gone from weeks of reflection on our relationship with God through Christ to lists of to-dos for special family meals, and to-buys for Easter baskets for our kids.  Those with little girls may be out buying that perfect Easter dress and with little boys maybe getting little dress shirts and ties.  As with other special days of celebration we like to make a fuss.

With our kids a little older now, we don’t really do much with baskets or egg hunts any more.  We aren’t hosting a family event, so the panic clean-up is not under way.  The biggest sign that we are only 3 days away from Easter morning was last night when my husband arrived home with a huge box of bacon.  For years he has helped to organize the sunrise breakfast at our church and, for many of us, bacon plays a central role in the event.  At this point, the decisions about worship have all been made, the anthems planned and as practised as they are going to get.  

It is time to let go and let ourselves be swept away in the story and the emotional roller-coaster of this four-day period.  We will rise from the Passover meal with Christ on Thursday night feeling at the same time so close to him and confused by what he has said will happen.  Afraid that he will be leaving us, worried that we might deny him.  We will be horrified by the treatment he takes and the cries for his crucifixion, we will feel immense guilt as we see him hanging there on the cross, an innocent man.   Our sense of loss and grief will overtake us as we hear the words, “It is finished.”  This will be followed by a lost day in which regular life continues but feels like it shouldn’t.  And then there will be Sunday.

On Sunday morning we will rise to go back into our churches which were last seen in a moment of deep grief and pain, and be lifted up on the amazing wave of the news, “He lives!”  Let yourself feel it all this Easter weekend, and remember it throughout the rest of the year, for this is why we are Christians!

Seven Days Until Easter: Palm Sunday


Today marks the beginning of what many call Holy Week.  This week contains within it the whole of the Gospel message for God’s people.  Today is Palm Sunday.  You know the one, people lined the already busy streets to catch a glimpse of Jesus, or at least to see what all the fuss was about.  In a way it represents the height of our misunderstanding of the role and nature of Messiah.

When a Roman legion returned from a successful campaign the city of Rome held a Triumph.  A triumph was basically a hero’s parade in which the legion in full regalia, and toting along any captives and slaves, rode and marched through the city streets.  It was the only time that a legion was allowed to be in the city en masse.  The people of Rome would be lining the streets, cheering and waving to the conquerors who had either protected them or fought to gain them new territory.  There was no personal benifit for most of these people but it was a great chance to celebrate!

When Jesus entered Jerusalem the people held in their hearts and minds all the dreams of the Messiah coming leading a legion of sorts and driving the Romans out of their city and their land.  To them it was a triumph, they seemed to miss or ignore that he was not riding a fine steed, but a young donkey, and he was not armed or wearing armour.  Perhaps we needed to be completely blind to who was really coming into Jerusalem in order for the story to work out properly.

So, even as you wave your palm branch and sing Hosanna this morning, enjoy the party but remember that the real triumph awaits us in seven days time.

13 Days Until Easter: The Distracted Blogger


Today we begin with a confession.  I am that distracted blogger referred to in today’s title.  By what have I been distracted? *hears the beep indicating new email and quickly switches tabs to see what it is* It doesn’t seem to take much these days to distract me.  We give my dog a hard time because he will get barking over as little as a leaf blowing by, but I’m afraid I’m more like him that I would like to admit.  I’m hoping that I am not alone in this trait of distraction.

On the up side, as far as I know no traffic accidents are caused by my distraction.  Unlike driving with my cell phone to my ear, there are no immediate effects to my distraction.  People don’t get a notice that I have posted anything for several days, no one’s hurt in this story.  No one but me that is.

For every day that I go without posting I get less and less inclined to even click on the link to wordpress.  I spent most of the weekend on the computer but just left that tab in the corner and ignored it.  I began to feel guilty, even about not doing something no one asked me to do, with no deadline except the expectation I have set up for myself.

With Easter two weeks away, I would like to claim that my distractions have been church related; planning and practicing for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and 6 weeks of Easter Sundays.  This, at least, would feel justified.  No, my distraction has largely been looking at things people have for sale on-line.  I don’t need anything, don’t have any intention of buying most of what I see, and yet there I sit skimming through the latest offerings on etsy.com or ebay.  It can be mesmerizing!

Whatever our distractions may be, and I’m sure there is huge variation in causes, pulling our attention back to the things that really matter to us; our faith, our families etc. can be a tough one.  Everyone else has some idea about what should get your attention.  The Pharisees felt that Jesus was giving all his attention to the wrong people.  They did all they could to distract him and get him back on their religion and the people at the top.  But in the end it was for those of us at the bottom that he suffered humiliation and death, so that we might have eternal life.  

Here’s to our efforts against distraction in these last 13 days before Easter! 

 

 

23 Days Until Easter


The days are getting longer, the sun stronger, and the snow is lasting for a shorter time.  These are sure signs of spring, of rebirth of our natural world.  The reawakening of mother earth.  Along with this people’s spirits are lifting and thoughts and dreams are focused more on the short summer (in Canada anyway) which is on the horizon.

This brightening can be seen in the church as well.  Sure, we are still in Lent for our worship services, but at choir practices and planning meetings the focus has moved on the joyous celebration which is coming in a mere 23 days!  We are still practising our hymns for Lenten services but now the end part of practise is focused on the cheering crowd of Palm Sunday and the weeks of celebration which begin on Easter morning.

So, hang in there! Easter, rejoicing, and spring are coming!! 

31 Days Until Easter: Have you got your ducks in a row?


OK, I realize that this picture is not one of a line of ducks, as one might have expected from the title of this post.  It is however evocative of spring and Easter and that is my topic for today.

As I look around my living room right now I see a snowman plate set hanging on the wall across from me, the remnants of my Christmas village still sprawled across the railing and top of the bookshelves, an empty vase, and other general clutter.  I did finally take down the last of my nativities earlier this week, although it hasn’t made its way to storage yet.  With only 31 days before Easter, I had better get on the ball or it will be too late for bunnies and chicks and we will be into summer!

I’m not suggesting that the season of Lent is about home decor, nor that there is any need to actually decorate our homes seasonally at all!  For many of us, though, as is our home – so goes our mind.  The most important thing about Lent is getting one’s focus on a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and we can’t do that if we are still stuck in Christmas, or clutter, or unfinished projects, or whatever else may surround us. 

There is, of course, no actual time limit to getting our relationship with God on solid footing.  God accepts us whenever we come to him.  Our church calendar provides these designated periods of each year as a reminder, a way to keep us on track.  So, I’m just putting it out there, you have 31 days left to get those ducks, or bunnies, or flowers lined up! 

38 Days Until Lent: Sold Down The River


Today I went to the daily lectionary page of pcusa.org for some inspiration.  Today’s Old Testament reading was Genesis 37:25-36, the scene in which Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery ‘down the river Nile’ in Egypt.  This struck me as an odd story on which to focus during Lent.  The Gospel reading, Mark 1:29-45 covered the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, healing of many people who were brought over to her home that evening, and a leper the next morning when he had gone apart from the group to pray.  This continuation of the story of Jesus seemed much more appropriate.

Then I got thinking…

Joseph was very popular with his father and, in the eyes of his brothers, spoiled.  They were all older than he was and all had a right to a place higher in the pecking-order of esteem and inheritance than he should have had.  They were the ones who deserved the attention.  

Imagine now that the role of the older brothers is, in the New Testament, taken by the Scribes and Pharisees of his day.  Jesus, despite all that he had done for people in need, made these people nervous, even jealous.  What did these older brothers do?  They sold Jesus down the river, or up the cross to be more accurate. 

When Joseph was sold, it turned out to be to the benefit of all of Israel.  It had all been part of God’s plan.  Likewise, when Jesus was sent to the cross, through the planning of the Caiaphas and the betrayal by Judas, it was for the benefit of all people.

39 Days Until Easter or 3 Days Until March Break?


Most of us do count-downs to important dates.  There is an app called Twinkle that will keep a count going for all your important dates.  I have it counting down to March Break, family birthdays, Easter, and my retirement (as a sort of joke since it so far in the future).  That distance in the future is what I want to address today.  

I don’t imagine there is anyone who does not start counting down the days as they near vacation time.  We joke that it is bad when you start counting over a month ahead, but is it?  I guess for things like my retirement, which is over 2000 days away, it would appear that I am very unhappy in my job and just can’t wait to get out!  That would be bad!  I do actually like my job, but I have plans for later and I guess that is where the change occurs.  When we count down to something exciting, like a vacation, it is usually less about getting away from something and more looking forward to the change.  When we are looking at some far future plans we may be simultaneously doing our best at our current, and working toward future goals.

In the church calendar we have two long periods of waiting, or counting down, to important events in the Gospel.  We count down the days of Advent ending with the celebration of a birth (40 days of Advent, 40 weeks of pregnancy…coincidence?).  We count down during Lent, looking ahead to the feast of Easter.

No matter how important a countdown is, a shorter one will take temporary precedence if we don’t guard against that.   So March break is in a little over 3 days and that is exciting, but there is little to do in terms of preparing, whereas Easter is 39 days away and there will probably never be enough time to truly prepare ourselves to stand by that empty tomb and accept that Jesus’ great sacrifice and triumph over death was really for us!

41 Days Until Easter


With 41 days to go until we celebrate Easter we may find ourselves wondering where we are supposed to be going.  If Lent is the road to the cross, how are we supposed to know what road to follow?  What if we go off track and end up in the wrong area?

The simple answer, of course, is that our map is to be found in the Bible.  I don’t know about you, but I think I could still end up astray.  Does it matter what part of the Bible we read?  Maybe there are parts that will just confuse us more than we were already confused!

At my church, and I assume at many other Christian churches, members of the congregation are given a booklet with a series of devotional readings for each day of the season.  Similar books often appear during Advent.  If you weren’t at church for the 1st Sunday of Lent today, perhaps you could stop by a church during the week to pick up one of these booklets.  I have found, over the years, that they go a long way in leading me through the maze.

 

 

Post 120: Are We Having Fun Yet?


 

flickr.com/photos/shanepope/2375499336

On Tuesday, June 7 I will have been writing this blog for five months.  Today’s post will be #120 and I got to thinking that I must certainly be repeating myself by now.  If this is the case, I heartily apologize.  I don’t go back in my post list very often and I write what comes to mind on any given day. 

 

Despite the fact that my teenage daughter gives me a hard time for doing so, I did a little checking on the stats for curlingupwithGod.  In those five months there have been 9,800 visits to my site, many undoubtedly directed by a search for something which led them to me erroneously.  The Footprints poem seems to be the most common search term which directs people here.  I have no way of knowing whether these people actually stop and read something or just scan quickly for the lyrics and then head on their way.  On my busiest day I had 245 visits which was really exciting!   I have been thrilled to have people write me notes occasionally and with those and my responses I have 77 comments.

 

Every time I write a post I have the option of tagging which may lead people to the post.  I didn’t do much of this at first, but have discovered how important it can be.   WordPress keeps track of the most common tags and makes them available to choose rather than writing them in each time.  I thought the list was pretty interesting.  When I see it, the words I have used the most are actually in a bigger font.

 

Bible blog bully change choices choir Christianity church cross details distractions Easter evangelism Facebook faith fashion forgiveness God help Holy Spirit improvement Jesus justice kindness leadership Lectionary Lent love music prayer preaching problems promise quiet reflection sin song stress students survival teachers The Message//Remix:Solo time Twitter worry

 

Back to the title question, are we having fun yet?  I know that I am enjoying the writing and any associated thinking and reflecting that is associated with that activity.  Some days I will have several images or comments pop into my head which lead to posts and I have to type them in before I lose them.  So far my feedback has been good and I’m assuming that for every person who goes to the trouble of writing a comment there are several who at least smile and nod at some point in their reading and that is great.

 

See you at 250 🙂

The Martha/Mary Quotient


Mary/Cathy

Martha/Cathy

Mary and Martha both heard my alarm at 6:00 this morning.  I’m not sure which one it was who turned it off, but I do know that it was Martha who dragged me out of bed and got me moving forty minutes later.  Clothing appropriate to the day was chosen, some semblance of breakfast eaten, lunch was packed, and it was off to work.

 

Mary made a brief appearance while I was driving to work.  She reflected on the Easter weekend that has just passed, the fact that this was a new day and as it says in a popular song from the 70’s Every Morning Is Easter Morning From Now On!  I think she even hummed a little bit of the tune.  Once in view of the school, though, Martha took over again with thoughts about what my students would be doing today and errands I needed to get done.

 

Last night the devotion in The Message\\Remix:Solo was about the familiar story from Luke 10:38 – 42 of a dinner party at the home of Mary, and Martha.  Jesus was the guest of honour and as he talked with his host and the other guests, Mary sat taking it all in with rapt attention.  In the meantime there was a meal to prepare!  Martha, unlike Mary, did not give herself the time to sit down and listen, she was busy tending to the preparations.  When Martha complains about Mary’s lack of help, Jesus tells her that Mary has made the better choice by staying with him and listening.

 

Martha is not the “evil twin” here.  If it were not for Martha, Jesus would not have even been in their home.  It states at the beginning of the reading, “A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him (Jesus) and made him feel quite at home.”  It takes a special talent to put someone at ease in your home when they are visiting, and Martha did a great job of that.  She then got carried away, though,  by the minutia of hostessing the party and did not sit down to enjoy her guest’s company.

 

We are all some combination of these two women, or if you prefer some combination of these two inclinations.  I started this blog with a representation of my day through the lens of the two women.  That was one part of the devotion last night, taking time to reflect and let Jesus tell us whether we are more Mary or Martha on a given day or in a given experience.  Some Sundays I am definitely Martha at church.  I have responsibilities, music to worry about, plans and issues for later in the day, and my Martha is on the job.  Worship is so much better on the days when my Mary attends and I am able to fully engage in the word and the celebration.  On the average day I am more Martha, although my house may not reflect that in its cleanliness and tidiness, and I expect that is true for most of us.

 

If we were all Mary all the time nothing much would get done in our homes or workplaces.  I’m not sure even a 50/50 split would be ideal, but we do need to beware of the dangers of slipping too far over to the Martha.  If we give no time to listening to God, the three-in-one, then we risk losing our way in a world just looking for lost souls of whom to take advantage.  So, look back at your day today.  What was your own Martha/Mary balance like?