Big Time Foot in Mouth Disease

By An Anonymous Writer/Member of Easter Lutheran Church

Ecclesiastes 3:7  “A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Several months ago my husband and I woke up to discover we’d come down with foot-in-mouth disease. Big time. We inadvertently offended someone we love and respect. (Big time.)  And wow she was angry. Big time. We’re talking “I’ll-never-speak-to-you-again” and “Don’t-you-dare-approach-or-I will-turn-my-back-on-you-and-walk-away!”  Really big time!

Amazing GraceIn Lent we heard so frequently of God’s love for us even when we ignore Him. He just keeps on giving. He loves and forgives us daily for our every sin. He even let His son be persecuted and killed just so our sins, our foot-in-mouth diseases, wouldn’t stand in the way of our salvation.  I am unable to comprehend a love that is so strong you would sacrifice your son.  That’s who He is–a giver who never stops giving; a Love that will always be there to welcome our approach.  Big time!

A common saying among our friends is, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”  That’s not forgiveness.  I Cor. 13:5 says Love keeps no record of wrongs. When we sin we’ll never hear God saying, “Okay, that’s twice!”  And we must forgive others as quickly as we expect God to forgive us. That’s big time difficult! Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt someone who hurt me. This is what God does – all the time!

Lent this year meant weeks of watching Jesus be so very brave, loving and forgiving.  Weeks to not mourn our hurt, instead to tell our hurt and pain that’s it’s time go away and simply love. It meant we really understood the great disappointments we cause our Father. Yet we must do as He did and forgive. Big time.

The writer of Ecclesiastes said there’s “a time for everything.”  Lent showed us big time that our time is now.

Please join us in prayer that our ever forgiving Lord and His brave, unselfish Son will be with us in our times of missing the mark.  We ask them to bless our words and deeds so that we may always be loving—big time! 

Heart

Do you give up?

By John Peterson

Easter Lutheran window butterfly

Easter is here! He is Risen!

Matthew 6: 16-18: 

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 

Forty Days imageForty some odd days ago, Ash Wednesday was upon us and many of our Catholic and other Christian brothers and sisters use that day as the first of 40 days to give up something for Lent. It may be something like chocolate, television, a favorite food, social media or something else that is important to you. My children would sometimes give up watermelon. Although it is a favorite of theirs, it was a questionable “sacrifice” as it is hard to find watermelon in February and March… sometimes I think they missed the point.  I have always understood giving something up for Lent would be a reminder of the sacrifice Christ gave for me whenever I thought about whatever it was I gave up.

As a Christian, shouldn’t Christ’s sacrifice be something that we reflect on all year long? Shouldn’t we always remember what Christ did for us on the cross? For me, I don’t always remember these sacrifices. I am guilty of selfishly focusing on what I perceive to be the sacrifices I give up for my work, my friends and my family and not on the real sacrifices that Christ gave up for us.

I read a story about a father who was talking to his son about what he gave up for Lent. His son said he gave up fighting with his brothers and sisters. When his father asked him how it was going the son replied, “I’m doing pretty well, Dad – but I can’t wait until Easter”. This story says a lot about how we can feel as Christians. We may give something up for 40 days, but if we don’t remember that this is a sacrifice we miss the point. Anything we give up should remind us of the greatest sacrifice that Jesus gave for every one of us. Reflecting on His sacrifice and focusing our lives to live as Christ lived helps us to “grow in faith and carry on the work of Jesus Christ”.

 

Stained glass window at Easter Lutheran Church

 

Dear Lord – We thank you for the ultimate sacrifice you gave for us. Help us to understand the extent of your love for us and help us to pass a portion of that love on to others. We thank you for the Easter promise and we thank you for loving us so much that you gave your only Son so that we may live. Bless us as we live our lives according to your will. Amen.  

Resurrection and Receiving the Holy Spirit

The store near our house is done clearing away Easter goodies, but in church communities all over the world, the 50-day celebration of Easter has just begun.

Today I’m pondering a passage from John’s gospel that was read yesterday at our church– and in many churches throughout the world– for the Second Sunday of the Easter Season. In this passage, the disciples are hiding behind locked doors in fear. They must have been afraid that if their leader, Jesus, was killed, they might be next on the list for the same treatment for following him.

Suddenly, the Risen Jesus appears in their midst. Peace be with you, he says. I think it’s important to notice what Jesus did not say. He could have easily said, where were you guys when I needed you?  You said you would stick by me no matter what happened!  He could have castigated Peter for denying him three times before the cock crowed. But no…Jesus says, Peace be with you!

Sunrise over Atlantic Coast--Clement of Alexander quote--Spiritual Drawing Board(click on image for full effect)

Not only does Jesus offer them peace. He gives them a special calling: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” They, too, are called by God to carry on the work of Jesus Christ–and he gives them the spiritual strength and gifts they need to do this ministry by breathing on them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit…”

As I mentioned in the post about Jesus breathing his last breath on the cross, the words for breath and spirit are often closely related in the original languages of the bible. Jesus handed over his spirit to the Father when he died on the cross. The Father breathed life into Christ again in the Resurrection–a new kind of life, an eternally living, breathing, incarnated and risen way of existence.

Now Jesus is passing his Holy Spirit into the disciples to empower them to carry on his work. This Holy Spirit has been “breathed” into followers of Jesus throughout all the centuries since that time.

Today, Jesus “breathes” his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, into each one of us who seeks to believe and follow in his path.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts this day with your peace, inner strength, and gifts to serve others with love! 

 Until next time, Amen! 

 

Easter member Julie McCarty is a freelance writer, spiritual director, beginning artist, and volunteer coordinator of Easter Prays/Easter Praise! blog. This post originally appeared on her blog, Spiritual Drawing Board

 

 

Good Friday and Easter …

Christ is Risen! Alleluia

We sometimes live in this world as though Good Friday doesn’t matter but I like to think that the only way we can live in the light and shine for our God is to remember Good Friday because without Good Friday there is no Easter.

Here’s a few thought about Good Friday from an article I read several years ago. The author gives four principles for changing your expectations related to Good Friday:

1. Check the Definitions: “God’s definition of “good” undobtedly confounds and far exceeds my own.”

2. Re-evaluate Death: “The rumors of our demise, it turns out, are greatly exaggerated. With God, the end is the beginning.”

3. Keep Time: This one is about the church calendar particularly Lent and the meaning it can hold for Christians when we know what it means. “Lent, they claim, can facilitate a small death to self that becomes an opening to new life.”

4. Expect the Unexpected: This was by far my favorite principle. “The world offers promises full of emptiness. But Easter offers emptiness full of promise.” She’s talking about the empty cross, empty tomb, empty grave-clothes … all full of promise. “I’m going to believe that if I’ll just leave my empty spaces empty, he’ll fill them. That, I’m convinced, is a reasonable expectation.”

“Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter morning.” I wanted to share this with you all even though Good Friday for this year is past … It is always a good reminder that on your Good Fridays you need to remember that the resurrection isn’t possible without Good Friday or in other words we need to have our bad days for the good days to be that much better! I pray for more Easters in your lives then Good Fridays.

I hope that the following song that kept running through my head yesterday and this morning reminds you all that “without Good Friday, there would be no Easter morning.”

Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now
Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!

Good-bye guilt, good-bye fear, good riddance! Hello, Lord, Hello, sun!
I am one of the Easter People! My new life has begun!

Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!

Daily news is so bad it seems the Good News never gets heard.
Get it straight from the Easter People! God’s in charge spread the word!

Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!

Yesterday I was bored and lonely; But today look and see!
I belong to the Easter People! Life’s exciting to me! 

Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!
Ev’ry morning is Easter morning,
Ev’ry morning is Easter morning,
Ev’ry morning is Easter morning,
From now on!