4th WEEK OF LENT
Theme of the Week:
Matthew 26:17-30; Luke 9:51
THE LASTING SUPPER
By Lonetta Key
I begin with words taken from Luke 9:51 …”He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem.” The context of this statement is that Jesus initiated this itinerary as “the time approached for Him to be taken to heaven.” Jesus was determined to complete His mission. From this verse on, even though numerous events occurred and there was time and space in between, Jesus never lost sight of the direction He was going. He had set His face and did not waver.
And now, in Matthew 26:17-30. we have arrived at a point when the momentum of incidents have culminated into the looming conclusion of Jesus’ self-assigned journey. One marvels at the composure our Lord maintained during this difficult Passover meal.
First of all time is of the essence as He institutes a monumental sacrament to be observed by Christians in perpetuity. In addition, He is acutely aware of Judas’ betrayal in a few hours. Moreover, as predicted He is very mindful that Peter, one of His inner circle, will deny any association with Him. And do so emphatically by cursing. And how could the heart of our Savior not feel the crushing weight of His excruciating imminent death.
What, I wonder, was the prevailing aura in the room that evening. Did the disciples eat their meal somewhat oblivious to its true meaning? Or were they aware of a prevailing pall? Were their conversations animated or was there a restraint to their usual banter? Part of the Passover liturgy celebrated in Jewish homes is, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” I wonder did any of that small gathering begin to comprehend that this Passover was different from all others. Did any of them truly grasp the eternal consequences of this meal.
And then it occurs to me. What would our behavior have indicated about our discernment regarding the significance of this event. Would we have cherished the preciousness of these last moments with the divine Son of God before His climb to Golgotha?
Now we turn our attention to what would seem to be the central focus of the evening in Matthew 26:26-29. I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that none of them perceived the extensive implication of Jesus handing them bread and portraying it as His body. And I would dare say that when He poured the fruit of the vine into that cup and characterized it as His blood that the magnitude of that moment was far too complex for them to absorb.
We definitely have an edge over those men gathered around that table that evening. Or at least we should have. We now can fully conceive of the implication of the words, “this is my body broken for you; this is my blood shed for you.” We have no excuse for not having total clarity and insight into their meaning, So dear Lord in Heaven forgive us if we have not put effort and commitment into a heartfelt, ardent conception of some of the most dynamically powerful words ever uttered. “This is my body broken for you. This is my blood shed for you.” And accept our remorse when we do not with profoundly deep-seated emotion translate Christ’s affirmations into reality as we partake of that sacred supper.
In closing I turn our attention back to Luke 9:51. What Spiritual discipline have you resolutely set your face toward? Being in God’s House consistently. Honoring the Lord while worshiping wholeheartedly in spirit and in truth. Passionately petitioning the Heavenly Father as you come into His transforming presence with a focus on personalization. Daily dedicating time to reading the Scriptures. Asking for the inundating indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
What mission have you resolutely set your face toward? It behooves each of us to remember we have a God given assignment which must be brought to fruition. Jesus was determined to finalize His mission. How resolute are we to attain the achievement of our mission. Just as our Savior concluded His sojourn to Jerusalem so must we complete this entire journey during lent for adequate preparation for the resurrection.
MONDAY 20 MARCH 2023
FOURTH MONDAY OF LENT
I ease away from stress and strain… I let my body rest at peace… I focus on the here and now…
“Lord Jesus Christ, bring me your strength.”
In through the nose…
And exhale out through the mouth…
I begin by setting the scene of today’s reflection in my mind…
Faces lit by flickering lamp wicks, flames casting shadows on the walls, food spread to be shared amongst us, lying with my head at rest on Him, one morsel of bread divides us, then a sudden sigh: it was night…
I ask for the grace to follow Jesus as he accepts the Father’s will…or whatever it is that I need at this moment…
READ: John 13:21-30
MEDITATION AND REFLECTION
As darkness falls, let yourself be drawn into this moment of intimacy and betrayal…At the same moment in which Jesus shares bread with his friends, it falls to Judas to betray him…Let your attention fall on the thoughts passing through the mind of Jesus…and the thoughts passing through the mind of Judas….why does Jesus have to be betrayed for the Father’s will to be done?
As you read these words again, ponder the meaning of Jesus free acceptance of his Father’s will…
READ: John 13:21-30
One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him;
Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’
Speak to Jesus, as one friend speaks to another, share with him what the Father wants for you, then listen to his response…
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
*Pray as You Go; “THE BREAD,” John 13:21-30
TUESDAY 21 MARCH 2023
FOURTH TUESDAY OF LENT
Lectio Divina is broken up into 5 separate sections:
- SILENCO – Silence (we can use our Centering Prayer to help prepare.) Take 60 seconds (or more) in silent preparation for sacred reading.
- LECTIO – Listen to the text by reading out loud slowly and repeat 3 times.
- MEDITATO – Meditation – Reflect on what word, words, phrase or sentence that speaks to you from the text, then write it down.
- ORATIO – Pray – Pray as responding to the words, phrases, sentence that God has stirred in you.
- CONTEMPLATIO – Rest in the presence of God, allowing the words revealed to take root.
- SILENCIO – 60 seconds or more of silence
- LECTIO – Scripture read out loud slowly and repeated 3 times.
- READ: Matt 18:21-22
- MEDITATIO – Reflection on a word, words, phrase, or sentence that speaks to you from the text. Hold onto it or write it down.
- ORATIO – Pray as responding to the words, phrase sentences that God has stirred in you.
- CONTEMPLATIO – Rest in the presence of God allowing the words revealed to take root: 3 to 5 minutes.
WEDNESDAY 22 MARCH 2023
FIFTH WEDNESDAY OF LENT
READ: Luke 22:14-20:
This poem is written as a meditation on the act of taking the Lord’s Supper.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
By Frank Carpenter
Beloved child, though you had wandered far from me
Though your very nature repelled me
Though your rebellion was deserving of death
I love you still, beloved child
Because of my boundless love for you
I reached out across time for you
I reached out beyond sin for you
I reached out to rescue you
Because of my love for you, beloved child
Because of my perfect love for you
I took your sin upon myself
I bore the cross you should have borne
I died the death which you deserved
I sacrificed my life for you
All for the love of you, beloved child
Because of my sacrificial love for you
I cancelled your iniquity
I cleansed you from the stain of sin
I washed you whiter than the snow
I bought you for eternal life
Because of my love for you
I am my Father’s beloved child
But his love for you is such that he offered me on your behalf
He offered me to suffer and die
That he might draw you back unto himself
Because of his great love for you, beloved child
Because of my gracious love for you
I gave my body to be broken for you
I gave my blood to be poured out for you
The blood of my covenant and my forgiveness
These I offered willingly because of my love for you
Always remember my love for you
May the bread and the cup ever be tokens between us
Taken because of your love for me
THURSDAY 23 MARCH 2023
FIFTH THURSDAY OF LENT
FROM THE COMMUNITY @ FPCH
Haiku on Scripture
The haiku is a Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.
This haiku is Holy Spirit inspired from Matthew 26:17-30.
The Lord’s Supper
by Maria Monetta-Burke
I remember you
Sharing the bread and the cup
Giving us your life
Haikus on Micha 7:18-19
In our weekly staff meeting this week, Maria led us in a time of healing prayer and meditation using the Key of David Whole Notes. We then read and reflected on the Micah 7 passage. We proceeded to write our own Haikus to what moved in us through the hearing of the scripture. Here is a small sample of our staff Haikus.
by Richard Gomez
Youth Discipleship Coordinator
Trusting only thee,
One isolated for me;
Debt paid, I am free
by Rocco Ambrosio
Rentals & Filming Coordinator
You who died for me
me a sinner Confesses
Your Mercy cleanses
by Terri Knox
Director of Christian Education
Forever loves all
Will I ever understand?
Who can know his ways?
by Tom Hartshorn
Community Care and Life Coordinator
A forgiving God
Your anger turns to delight
Sin sinks to the depths
by Maria Monetta-Burke
Security and Grounds Supervisor
God of compassion
Your arm is strong to save me
Casting down my sins
FRIDAY 24 MARCH 2023
FIFTH FRIDAY OF LENT
THE BREAD AND THE CUP:
A Communion Prayer
By Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Lord Jesus, I bow before you in humility and ask You to examine my heart today. Show me anything that is not pleasing to You. Reveal any secret pride, any unconfessed sin, any rebellion or unforgiveness that may be hindering my relationship with You. I know that I am Your beloved child, having received You into my heart and life and having accepted Your death as penalty for my sinfulness. The price You paid covered me for all time, and my desire is to live for You.
As I take the bread representing Your life that was broken for me, I remember and celebrate Your faithfulness to me and to all who will receive You. I can’t begin to fathom the agonizing suffering of Your crucifixion. Yet You took that pain for me. You died for me! Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Your extravagant love and unmerited favor. Thank You that Your death gave me life—abundant life now, and eternal life forever. As You instructed Your disciples, I, too, receive this bread in remembrance of You.
And in the same way, as I take this cup representing Your blood poured out from a splintered cross, I realize that You were the supreme sacrifice for all my sin: past, present, and future. Because of Your blood shed for me, and Your body broken for me, I can be free from the power and penalty of sin. Thank You for Your victory over death. You took the death that I deserved. You took my punishment. Your pain was indeed my gain. And today I remember and celebrate the precious gift of life You gave me through the blood that You spilled.
But while my relationship is secure with you, I know sin can break our fellowship at times. I’m still human, and I often forget who I am and Whose I am. You want to convict and correct me, not shame me. You love me like a perfect parent. You’ll never disown me or leave me. You love me no matter what. But sin hurts both my heart and Yours. So before I take communion today, I’m asking You to truly search my heart and reveal hidden things for which to ask Your forgiveness.
Each time I take communion, Lord, I want to recommit my life, my heart, my thoughts, my everything to You. Fill me today with Your powerful Spirit. As I leave this place, help me to hold this fresh remembrance and the story that never grows old close to my heart. Help me to share its message faithfully as You give opportunity.
In Your Precious name,
We take communion to remember the night in which Jesus was betrayed. He broke bread and gave thanks. We especially remember communion during Holy Week, the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
*taken from an article; “A Prayer Before Taking Communion,” Rebecca Barlow Jordan
SATURDAY 25 MARCH 2023
FIFTH SATURDAY OF LENT
Read: II Corinthians 5:17-21
What has brought you new life and joy this week?
Where have you seen Jesus revealed in a new or fresh way?
What has surprised or disturbed you this week?
Share with God an encounter that changed, challenged, or comforted you.
Ponder times when you may have resisted God’s guidance. What has stopped you from being wholehearted? Speak with the Lord about this.
Pray for the week to come, for God’s guiding hand in your life and your interactions with others.
Are there any Spiritual Disciplines you have committed to practice throughout Lent? Ask the Lord for grace to remain faithful in those disciplines.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
That is enough for me.