Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Lk 23:50-56
As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.
- Luke 23:26 – 27, 32 – 38, 44 – 46
When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.
A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
- Luke 22:14-27
Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’ They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’ ‘Listen,’ he said to them, ‘when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ ” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.’ So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
- Luke 22:1-13
"'There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.'
Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.'"
- Luke 21:25-33
'He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
- Luke 2:1-4
Eunice Wilson and I are scoping out Overlook Farms today.
We have reserved Saturday, May 25 at Overlook Farms in Rutland, MA. This day-long event is our opportunity to get a little training in world-changing. 9months to 90 years, come play your part. It will be FUN. An easy 1hour drive from Newton, we will do it together.
Middle school and High school students are invited to spend Friday and Saturday nights with me and a small team of leaders that weekend.
More in the way. For now: Save the Date!
May 25, 2013
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. – Thomas Merton
Churches have a lot on their plates these days and, like all non-profits, they have to do more with less. Churches have also have a unique problem. For the first time in history, they are having to ask themselves a new question: 'Why do we exist?' Not that long ago, it never occurred to anyone that there would be a time when people would rather do other things on Sunday mornings than attend a worship
service. A time when people would rather do ANYTHING than attend a worship service. Weird, huh? Sit in a 'pew', get 'preached' at and told what to believe...what's not to like?
In 1950, more than 400 people showed up every Sunday at the corner of Beacon and Centre. Now, we are a small group. A little under 100 each week - and that's 'above average' for churches in the US.
So what happened? Well, alot, and much of it is good, actually. We'll leave that discussion for another time. For now, we have some cantaloupes to put in our calendar (see previous post if you are confused).
There are plenty of 'good' things we can invest in as individuals and corporately. There is no lack of need. However, the trick is to invest in the right things, the things we as individuals and communities are uniquely positioned to impact. Most of us spend the majority of our lives figuring out our 'calling', our unique opportunity to contribute to creating the world that 'ought to be'.
Our church is beginning a new lifetime and is in the process of discerning what our unique contribution will be. There are many questions and conversations to have, not the least of which being, 'What are the needs in our midst and around the world which make our hearts beat fast, needs we are passionate about?'
In the meantime, we have three canteloupes, three areas of focus for 2013: Worship, Community Life, and Students. The next three blog posts will focus on these areas.
Join us for lunch on Sunday following 10:30a worship to discuss 'How to ignite a movement of students helping students.'