Thursday, March 24, 2016

His Princess Every Day - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

His Whisper

My Treasured Daughter,

I’m never too busy to talk to you, but you must be still to hear My whisper. Turn away from the chatter that drowns out My voice, and you will begin to hear Me in your spirit. I am the voice of heaven, and I am always speaking to you in creative ways. If you look up, you will hear Me speak of the heavens’ majesties; if you look at the eyes of the hurting, you will hear Me speak compassion; if you count your blessings, you will hear Me reminding you that I am always here for you. Oh, the riches I long to bestow on you today, if only you come before Me, quiet in mind and spirit!

Your Father and the Voice of heaven

This truth was given to me in secret,
as though whispered in my ear. - Job 4:12

Treasure of Truth

In our silence, we will hear God whisper wisdom and the way forward.

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.

The term “Maundy” comes from the Latin verb “mandatum” which means to give, to order or command. After Jesus and the disciples finished the Last Supper, Jesus gave the disciples a new commandment—“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34).

Holy Thursday is notable for being the day on which the Chrism Mass is celebrated in each diocese. Usually held in the diocese's cathedral, in this Mass the holy oils are blessed by the bishop, consisting of the chrism, oil of the sick, and oil of catechumens. The oil of the catechumens and chrism are to be used on the coming Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil, for the baptism and confirmation of those entering the church.

The Washing of the Feet is a traditional component of the celebration among many Christian groups, including the Armenian, Ethiopian, Eastern Catholic, Schwarzenau (German Baptist) Brethren, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, and Roman Catholic traditions. The practice is also becoming increasingly popular as a part of the Maundy Thursday liturgy in the Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, as well as in other Protestant denominations. In the Catholic Church and in some Anglican churches, the Mass of the Lord's Supper begins as usual, but the Gloria is accompanied by the ringing of bells, which are then silent until the Easter Vigil. After the homily the washing of feet may be performed. The Blessed Sacrament remains exposed, at least in the Catholic Mass, until the service concludes with a procession taking it to the place of reposition. The altar is later stripped bare, as are all other altars in the church except the Altar of Repose. In pre-1970 editions, the Roman Missal envisages this being done ceremonially, to the accompaniment of Psalm 21/22, a practice which continues in many Anglican churches. In other Christian denominations, such as the Lutheran Church or Methodist Church, the stripping of the altar and other items on the chancel also occurs, as a preparation for the somber Good Friday service.

Maundy Thursday is a public holiday in Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, the Philippines, Spain, and Venezuela,and in Kerala State of India. Certain German states declare a public holiday for public sector employees. In the UK, civil servants were traditionally granted a half-day holiday (known as "privilege leave") on this date, but that was abolished after 2012.

The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is an ancient practice, probably originating in Rome and occurs among the faithful in countries around the world.

The Mystical Supper, Icon by Simon Ushakov (1685).

Óscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador

Today the church remembers Óscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, 1980, and the Martyrs of El Salvador.

Born in 1917 in San Salvador, Romero grew up in a nation in which 40 percent of the land was owned by just thirteen families. As a child, he spent much of his time in the church, and when he completed the three grades offered by his local school, it was the church which tutored him. In 1942, he was ordained priest. He was ordained bishop in 1970 and became Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977.

Just after his appointment as archbishop, one of Romero's close friends was assassinated for his political activities. Rutillo Grande had been a progressive Jesuit priest who was outspoken against injustice. Later, Romero would say, "When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, " If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path.' " This murder seems to have radicalized Romero.

In 1980, Romero was shot to death while celebrating Mass in a small hospital chapel. The day before, he had preached a sermon in which he demanded that Salvadoran soldiers stop participating in oppressive activities, based on Christian values. Romero's funeral itself became a demonstration" a chance to speak out for justice" and some 250,000 people came. It was later called the largest demonstration in Salvadoran history.

Fill us with courage, inspired by the witness of Óscar Romero, that we might take up our cross and follow Christ's way and build up your kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Almighty God, you called your servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to your Word who abides, your Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Daily Readings for March 24, 2016 - Maundy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-14
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

Psalm 116:1, 10-17
1   I love the LORD, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
10   How shall I repay the LORD for all the good things he has done for me?
11   I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the Name of the LORD.
12   I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
13   Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his servants.
14   O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant and the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
15   I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the Name of the LORD.
16   I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
17   In the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

John 13:1-17, 13:31-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean." After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-- and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Daily Meditation for March 24, 2016 - Maundy Thursday

From Forward Day by Day

John 13:8 Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

On this night, it is traditional to celebrate the first Eucharist Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room. It is, of course, also traditional to celebrate the new commandment, when Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” That new commandment is enacted in the washing of feet, a gesture that was as tender and intimate then as it is today.

Peter didn’t want any part of this, and plenty of modern folk don’t want any part of it either. Washing feet is awkward. Having one’s feet washed is awkward. But that’s how it is with caring for one another. We do it regardless of our feelings, because it is right and we are commanded so to do. Some churches wash hands instead of feet, which lacks the intimacy and awkwardness to be a fit symbol. We are commanded to do this thing that we don’t want to do. Our very resistance is exactly why we should be vulnerable and love others and accept their love.

Verse of the Day - March 24, 2016

Romans 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.