SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Read Matthew 22:34-40
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 the 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.
*from “Pray as You Go”
Read Luke 19:28-40
It is fundamental to everything which we do as Christians, that we personally develop a style of which is recognizably Christian. This means that in our family groups, in our business and government offices, when we walk in, a light goes on. This style of life will be recognizable in all of our personal contacts. We shall mediate God’s love to every person we meet.
-Elizabeth O’Connor, Call to Commitment
The Christian way of life is really just ordinary human life – being born, living together in community, working, having children, caring for the sick, and elderly, eating and drinking, encountering strangers, worshipping, and dying – but all of it refracted through the lens of Jesus Christ, the true human being.
-Thomas Long, Witness
A pound of meat would surely be affected by a quarter pound of salt. If this is real Christianity, the salt of the earth, where is the effect which Jesus spoke?
- What stands out to you in the scripture. This may be a passage that you have read many times over the years. What is an image that comes to mind as you meditate on the scripture?
- How do you respond to Elizabeth O’Connor’s simple definition of servanthood – as mediating God’s love to every person we meet?
- What does Christlike servanthood look like? How do we live that out? Who has modeled a life of servanthood, humility, and sacrifice for you?
MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK, APRIL 11
IF THERE WERE NO RESURRECTION
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-17
If God’s history among human beings had come to an end on Good Friday, the last word on humankind would be: guilt, revolt, unfitting of all human-titanic powers, storming of heaven by human beings, godlessness, abandonment by God, which ends up ultimately in meaninglessness and despair. “Then your faith is futile. Then you are still in your sins. Then we are the most miserable human beings.” That is, the last word spoken is: humankind. On the cross of Jesus Christ, not only does our moral and religious life come to ruin by being found guilty, but our entire culture is also judged.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sermon in Barcelona
Easter Sunday, April 8, 1928
Christian life means being human by virtue of the incarnation, it means being judged and pardoned by virtue of the cross and means to live a new life in the power of the resurrection. None of these becomes real without the others.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics
- Re-read the text 2 or 3 times. Sit in silence and see what God places on your heart. Is it a word, verse or phrase that stands out to you? Write it down and sit with God.
- What are your thoughts as you read the Bonhoeffer quote from his piece, Ethics?
- What is the “new life” that Bonhoeffer proclaims through the resurrection? What does that look like and how are you living that to the fullest?
TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK, APRIL 12
FELLOWSHIP AND WORHSHIP
Read Acts 2:42-47
Worship is the real world; at its most profound, worship is a way of entering the world as it really looked in its full transparent reality, a place where we hear and see and experience what is genuinely true, unmasking the illusions of the world outside.
-William H. Willimon, The Service of God: Christian Work and Worship
In worship, I’m invited to look at this gathering of people with new eyes. I’m reminded that I did not gather these people; God did. It wasn’t my ideas to pull together such an unlikely lot; it was God’s idea, and I am summoned to see everyone present as a brother and sister in faith. As if that were not enough of a stretch, I’m even invited in my faithful imagination to see this gaggle of teachers, merchants, farmers and dentists as the very beloved of God, created in the image of God, a royal priesthood, citizens of a holy nation, without forgetting for a minute that they are, at one and the same time, quite ordinary folks with all the real struggles and problems any collection of human being possesses
-Thomas Long, Testimony: Talking Ourselves Into Being Christian
- Sit with the passage from Acts. Take 5 minutes of quite and pray through the scripture. What a unique and interesting bunch of people this must have been. What stands out to you?
- Why do we worship God? Why do you worship God?
- What does the experience of corporate worship mean to our faith?
- What do you think we/you could do to get more out of worship?
WEDENSDAY OF HOLY WEEK, APRIL 13
Read Hebrews 11:1-16
There are mysteries which you can solve by taking thought. For instance, a murder-mystery whose mysteriousness must be dispelled in order for the truth to be known.
There are other mysteries which do not conceal a truth to think your way to, but whose truth is itself a mystery. The mystery of yourself, for example. The more you try to fathom it, the more fathomless it is revealed to be. No matter how much of your self you are able to objectify and examine, the quintessential, living part of yourself will always elude you, i.e., the part that is conducting the examination. Thus, you do not solve the mystery, you live in the mystery. And you do that not by fully knowing yourself but by fully being yourself.
To say that God is a mystery is to say you can never nail him down. Even on Christ the nails proved ultimately ineffective.
- How do react to the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1?
- Christianity is not following a set of rules or principles for living. Rather, it is a relationship with a person who loves us more than we love ourselves. The question of our faith is trust. Do we trust Jesus Christ? Have you grown in your trust level with Christ in the past year?
- Are you comfortable with putting your trust in a God of mystery?
- What questions would you like to ask God? What question about God and faith have been troubling or encouraging for you?
MAUNDY THURSDAY, APRIL 14
STAY AWAKE AND PRAY
Read Matthew 26:36-46
We marvel at Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. How could anyone facing the dread probability of imminent death so fortify himself with an hour’s worth of prayer as to emerge refreshed and resourceful? The answer is, of course, that Jesus did not only pray occasionally, when he felt the need of it. He was a man of prayer. His whole being, his very fiber, had been daily strengthened by prayer for years.
There was no thrashing about in Gethsemane for one-time contact with the source of all power. Jesus slipped naturally into the role of prayer, the way a practiced athlete slips quickly into his playing style.
-John Killinger, Bread for the Wilderness Wine for the Journey
- Place yourself in the scene of Gethsemane. What is the evening like, how is weather, and what are smells that surround you? Imagine you are one of the disciples. How do you see Christ in this hour? Why aren’t you able to stay awake?
- How does your daily/weekly prayer strengthen you? Do you feel strengthened? Or do you feel exhausted feeling you’re not being heard?
- If you knew you only had a few days to live, what would you do with the time? Who would you want to be with in these final hours?
GOOD FRIDAY, APRIL 15
IT IS FINISHED
Read Matthew 27
Therefore, I will allot him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Today the primary human problem, the core issues that defeats human history, is both revealed and resolved. It is indeed a “good” Friday. The central issue at work is the human inclination to kill others, in any multitude of ways, instead of dying ourselves – to our own illusions, pretenses, narcissism, and self-defeating behaviors. Jesus dies “for” us not in the sense of “in place of” but “in solidarity with.” The first is merely a heavenly transaction of sorts, the second is a transformation of our very soul and the trajectory of history.
-Richard Rohr, Wonderous Encounters, Scriptures for Lent
Good Friday and Easter… God’s judgement and grace were revealed to the world. Judgement in those hours which Jesus Christ, out Lord, hung on the cross; grace in that hour in which death was swallowed up in victory. It was not human beings who accomplished anything here; no, God alone did it. He came to human beings in infinite love. He judged what is human. And he granted grace beyond any merit.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sermon in Barcelona
for the third Sunday in Lent, March 11, 1928
- As you read Matthew 27, what emotions does this powerful text stir up in you?
- Where do you see yourself in the story? Which character do you most identify with? Why?
- Do you find it difficult to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you?