Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, March 29, 2020 — Fifth Sunday in Lent

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/revised-common-lectionary-complementary/2020/03/29?version=NIV
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, March 29, 2020 — Fifth Sunday in Lent
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Come Out! On the Breath of God
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45

Opening Statement
Hope is not only a life and death matter, hope is a life in death matter. Hope finds its greatest challenge, and shines its greatest light, when life stands in the face of death and affirms that God remains trustworthy. Ezekiel is called to prophesy such hope in a valley of dried bones and lost dreams. The psalmist proclaims hope from the depths, as one who waits for the gift of a morning yet to dawn. And Jesus, stricken with a grief born of love, speaks hope into Lazarus’s tomb, calling his friend forth as a sign of God’s glory and of our hope.

Opening Prayer
(adapted from Psalm 130, John 11)
God of life, present and promised, you are the One to whom we call: for you are the One who hears, and you are the One who acts, bringing us new life with your grace and love and power. Lead us in our time of worship, that we may be prepared to follow your lead in places where life is at risk—places where hope seems far away, places where dreams die during sleep. Help us live the teachings we proclaim through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
(adapted from Ezekiel 37, Psalm 130, John 11)
Forgive us, O God, when we see the world through rose-colored glasses rather than as it really is, much less the way you seek it to be. Forgive us, Holy One, when we forsake lively and risky faith calling us to be agents of change in our world for the bland conviction that all will be well. Renew us with your grace and ground us with your Spirit, that we might be empowered to live, in word and deed, as testimonies to the power of your love over the grave. In Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance
(adapted from Ezekiel 37, Romans 8)
The God we serve is the God of life, the God of hope, the God of new beginnings—even for dried-up bones and shattered dreams. That rattling of bones in Ezekiel’s vision may be heard as the shackles that once held us down in fear, sin, prejudice, and guilt. God defies these deadly entanglements with the power of life. This we trust, and by this we live. Thanks be to God!

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death. Breathe upon us the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ and serve you in righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading
The dry bones of Israel
37:1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”


Mercy and redemption
1  Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2    Lord, hear my voice.
   Let your ears be attentive
     to my cry for mercy.

3  If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
     Lord, who could stand?
4  But with you there is forgiveness,
     so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5  I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
     and in his word I put my hope.
6  I wait for the Lord
     more than watchmen wait for the morning,
     more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7  Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
     for with the Lord is unfailing love
     and with him is full redemption.
8  He himself will redeem Israel
     from all their sins.

Second Reading
Life in the Spirit
8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Gospel Acclamation
(John 11:25, 26)
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

In the midst of a valley filled with bones, amidst the stench of a tomb’s death and decay, a voice cries out in the name of life. And in holy mystery, life comes forth. These are the stories we are told. But are these the stories we will trust? Are these the stories we will live by?

The Gospel
The raising of Lazarus
11:1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.


Here end the Readings


Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Benediction
Come out! Jesus commands, and calls us from the tombs of our existence into the brightness of a new day.

Come out! Jesus cries, and unbinds us from the chains of our past.

Come out! Jesus calls, and entices us into a world filled with grace and possibility.
So:
Go out! Into a world that needs our life, our breath, our spirit!

Go out! Into a world that needs the Spirit of God, carried on our lips and in our loving arms.

Go out! Into the world to live as God’s resurrected people!

Go out: and go on the breath of God’s holy wind!

Closing Prayer

Lord, thank you that we are a family in Christ. Help us to share his love and legacy with everyone that we encounter this week. May we lavish Christ’s abounding goodness upon our families, friends and colleagues. Holy Spirit, come and equip us in our workplace, guide us in our school life, and inspire us in our neighborhood. May we be your hands and feet to the needy, your words of affirmation to the oppressed and your arms of comfort to the lonely.

Thank you for choosing to use us to bring your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, March 29, 2020 — Fifth Sunday in Lent
Come Out! On the Breath of God
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45

The raising of Lazarus


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 11th chapter of John, beginning with the 1st verse, The raising of Lazarus.



Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. (John 11:1-45)

In the midst of a valley filled with bones, amidst the stench of a tomb’s death and decay, a voice cries out in the name of life. And in holy mystery, life comes forth. These are the stories we are told. But are these the stories we will trust? Are these the stories we will live by?

Lord, we have come a long way on this journey. For so many of us, we know where the scriptural road will take us; and we will walk triumphantly into Jerusalem, eat a supper meal with Jesus, and watch as he is taken from the garden and brought before the authorities. We will weep at the foot of the cross as he speaks words of love and forgiveness, and we will wail at the tomb. We do not like this part of the journey and would just as soon skip it. But here we have the story of his friend, Lazarus, who has died. His sisters, Mary and Martha, have confidence that he could have been healed, but they do not think that he can be raised from the dead. That is part of our problem. We want to have confidence in the restorative healing power of Jesus. Still, we cannot escape our fear of the arch-enemy, death. Jesus’ proclamation of eternal life is real. We need to let go of our fear, for life in eternity is also God’s promise—a home with God. Can we come out of our darkness? Can we risk believing in Jesus? Those are hard questions and cannot be answered without the trip to Jerusalem, to the cross, and to the tomb. God, please be with us on this journey. Amen.


“The raising of Lazarus”

On this 5th Sunday in Lent, our lessons force us to struggle with our finite nature of life here on earth. The subject of death is present in all three readings, a topic that many of us still find difficult to embrace.

In our first reading, Ezekiel is given a very disturbing vision of a valley that is covered with dismembered bones, perhaps the bones of soldiers who had died in battle. This vision would have been upsetting enough, had the valley been strewn with dead bodies, for in that part of the world, according to one of the commentaries that I read, “the bodies of the deceased were thought to be cursed if they did not receive a proper burial. Their dead bodies would otherwise become prey to scavenging beasts.”

But the dead in Ezekiel’s vision is described as a mass of dry bones, parched bones, whose flesh and muscle had already disappeared. Then God asks Ezekiel a question that most of us mortal beings, would have laughed at. “Son of man, can these bones live?” God asks. But Ezekiel doesn’t laugh. Realizing that it is God, the Creator of the universe who has asked the question, he acknowledges his omnipotence by timidly saying, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

So God instructs Ezekiel to speak to the dry bones, telling them that God would cause their bones to come together, rejoined by tendons and that new muscle would grow upon them, that they would be covered in new skin, and that God would cause the breath of life to enter them. And so Ezekiel did as he was told, and the valley filled with the noise of rattling bones, as God acted to bring these persons back to life.

Now I don’t know about you, but if I were in Ezekiel’s place, I would have more than stood in awe of that scene. I would have been shaking in my shoes and covered in goosebumps. And even if Ezekiel’s vision was a dream, I think I would have wakened in a cold sweat. Dead, dry bones don’t jump up and come back to life. Nevertheless, there are two points to be drawn from this story.

The first is explicitly stated in the closing verses of our text, where Ezekiel is told that the bones were symbolic of the whole house of Israel. At the time that this text was written, Israel was dispersed because of the Babylonian exile, and that Ezekiel was to proclaim that God was about to restore Israel to the Promised Land. God was about to restore the dead and broken faith of Israel to new life and hope.

But implicit in this text is that God is the author of life, who alone has the power, even to take dry bones and restore them to life. In his reply to God’s question, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know,” and the vision of seeing the dry bones come to life indicates God’s ability to restore life to the dust of dead bones, just as God first created life from the dust of the ground. This story in Ezekiel is one of the earliest visions giving rise to the hope of resurrection.

Now, let’s turn to our text from John’s Gospel, and Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. We know the story well, and because of its length, I’m not going to comment on all of the details, which could inspire many sermons. But there are some similarities to our lesson from Ezekiel that we can emphasize, as we head into Holy Week.

As I have pointed out before, the miracles that Jesus performed in John’s Gospel were considered by the author to be signs that pointed to the identity of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. And so, right from the beginning of this chapter, John records Jesus as saying, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Then, after Jesus had received the news of his friend’s illness, he decided to remain a couple of days before leaving to go to him. It is almost as if Jesus deliberately delayed his voyage, to enable Lazarus to succumb to his illness and die. And when Jesus finally decides to go to Bethany, his disciples object to Jesus’ return to Judea because of the danger. This fear on behalf of the disciples was not eased by the fact that Jesus finally told them bluntly that Lazarus had already died, and that it was for their sake that he waited so that they might believe.

When Jesus arrived, he discovered that Lazarus had already been buried for four days. And after consoling Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, Jesus goes to the tomb of his friend Lazarus, he asks that the stone that sealed it be removed. Then Martha, practical Martha who was concerned with the details of earthly life, said to Jesus, “But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Well, Lazarus’ corpse may not have been “dry bones,” but the implication is that his body was long past sustaining life. His body was in the process of decay, and returning to the dust of the earth from which God had first created life. But Jesus insisted, telling Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone that sealed his tomb, and Jesus uttered the call for Lazarus to come forth. And when he did, Lazarus came walking out of the tomb, wrapped in his burial cloths, to the astonishment of all.

Think of the implication of this lesson from John, as we are about to enter Holy Week, the most sacred season of our church year, in which we focus on our Lord’s death and resurrection for our redemption. Jesus restored life to a person who was obviously dead, whose body emitted the odor of a decaying corpse. Only God could do that! And John, who throughout his Gospel seems to be critical of the Jews, tells us that many of the people who saw Jesus raise Lazarus that day came to believe in him.

And so, I have to admit that this story in John’s Gospel is not really about Lazarus being given a few more years of human, finite life. It is not about his sisters having their prayers answered, that if Jesus had arrived earlier, he could have saved the life of their brother. This story points to the fact that, as Jesus enters Jerusalem to give his life for our redemption, he is truly God’s Son, who has the power to restore life, even to the dead.

Clearly, the restoration of life to Lazarus was more than a vision, such as Ezekiel received. According to John’s Gospel, it was actually witnessed by many people. It is a story that tells us that Jesus, who triumphantly rides into Jerusalem in the days that follow, has, within his power, control over sin and death. It tells us that Jesus does so willingly, in order to enter death, to conquer death once and for all so that we might know the power of his resurrection to bring us to new life.

And that is where we encounter Paul’s letter to the Romans. Here, Paul tells us that as baptized people into Christ’s death and resurrection, we have be granted new life, not just in the hope of being reunited with our Lord following our death, but through the power of God’s Spirit that lives in us, to live our present life, as people who know the power of God to restore us to life, even after our death.

It is a call to live our lives in the present, as we still live and breathe, to acknowledge God as the source of all life, to give thanks and praise to Jesus as the source of God’s life-giving grace that has entered into death that we might have new life, but also that we acknowledge the power of God’s Spirit to lead us into a life of faith, in which we proclaim the grace of God to those around us, not only with our words but with our actions.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, during this season of Lent, as we follow Jesus, your Son, toward the cross and his death, deepen our appreciation for his sacrifice so that we might be freed from death’s grasp on our lives. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, give us confidence in your power to bring life out of death. Help us to recognize our failure to live as your redeemed people, empower us to embrace the new life you give us. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.


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Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Sermon contributed by Rev. Ronald Harbaugh.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life. We see this in his raising of Lazarus, in our everyday lives, and at the time when we face death.

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, March 29, 2020

https://biblegateway.christianbook.com/common-prayer-liturgy-for-ordinary-radicals/shane-claiborne/9780310326199/pd/326199
The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, March 29, 2020

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a twentieth-century Jesuit philosopher, prayed, “Since once again, Lord, I have neither bread nor wine nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labors and suffering of the world.”

Lord God, we give you thanks that no building can house you fully and no place of worship can contain your majesty. Teach us by our deeds of peace and justice and joyful celebration to erect altars in the world, so that when some other soul comes across them, they will see that you are indeed present everywhere. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, March 29, 2020

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/verse-of-the-day/2020/03/29?version=NIV

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Read all of 2 Corinthians 5

Listen to 2 Corinthians 5

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Domingo 29 de marzo de 2020

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2020/03/29

Padres, apoyemos a nuestros hijos

Hijo mío, si tu corazón es sabio, también mi corazón se regocijará.

Hombres y mujeres que están hoy listos a leer este devocional, también les convienen que sepan lo que espera Dios de los padres.

Padres, asuman con autoridad el ser como dice Dios la cabeza y el sacerdote del hogar.

Eso significa que debes tener una relación con Dios, de modo que seas la parte más importante de esa casa. Si no asumes tu posición, las mujeres con carácter fuerte tomarán la tuya y estarás en desventaja y fuera del orden de Dios.

Papi, tú eres el proveedor. Tú eres a quien Dios creó para que mantengas tu hogar y seas un excelente administrador del mismo. Claro, si tu esposa está trabajando, las cosas entre los dos serán más fáciles. Sin embargo, ante Dios el que tiene la autoridad tiene la responsabilidad.

NO le des mal ejemplo a tu hijo para que no te avergüence.

NO te entregues cien por cien a tu trabajo o actividades de tu ministerio, a fin de que tengas tiempo para tus hijos.

NO olvides que tu primer llamado es tu familia y Dios te pedirá cuentas al respecto.

NO te apartes de los caminos de Dios, pues allí encontrarás bendición.

Honro hoy a mi esposo porque es un excelente padre de sus hijos y de mis princesas.

Gracias, mi Dios.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Hombres y mujeres que están hoy listos a leer este devocional, también les convienen que sepan lo que espera Dios de los padres.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, March 29, 2020

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2020/03/29
RELATIONAL ASPECT OF COMMITMENT

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

The relational aspect of commitment is found in the phrase, “Whoever wants to be my disciple…” There is a desire on our part that causes us to want to come to Jesus to be His follower. It is a relationship that you seek to establish with Him. But what is the origin of this relationship? We do not have anything in us that is good enough to be offered to God. It is God Himself who has committed Himself to us. It is He who has taken the initiative that makes it possible for me to respond in commitment to Him.

We see God’s commitment in His creation. He made humankind in His image. And we see His true commitment when we messed up in the fall of humankind. Thus began God’s plan for salvation, the redemption story that culminated in the coming of Jesus Christ. God’s commitment to us is one of total love. This caused Him to not even spare His only Son from the cruelty of the cross to redeem us from the curse of sin.

In addition, when Jesus was on earth, it was He who took the initiative. In fact, when there were some who wanted to volunteer their services prior to their understanding of the true nature of discipleship and the commitment that is required of them, they were discouraged from doing so:

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:18–22)

This is the relational aspect of commitment; one in which we desire to follow Jesus because God first committed Himself to us and calls us to follow Him. We who have experienced His love and grace desire to respond to Him.

RESPONSE: Today I commit to a relationship with Jesus in being a true learner and follower.

PRAYER: Lord, I respond to Your love and grace today and desire to become a fully devoted disciple.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions - March 29, 2020 - SUFFERING AND LOVE

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20200329

"SUFFERING AND LOVE"

March 29, 2020

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And He (Jesus) said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will."

I find it very difficult to write about this passage. My mind and heart stand in awe of Jesus' suffering—and of the great love that He has for us, to go through this for our sake. His humanity is on full display in this story. We can see that He is fully aware of what's about to happen, and as with any human being, His body and soul shudder at the prospect. No wonder Luke says His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground! No wonder He prayed, "Remove this cup from Me." His suffering had already begun.

But there are other, smaller things to notice. He took His friends with Him, almost to the very spot where He ended up praying on the ground—Peter and James and John, the ones closest to Him. Jesus didn't want to be alone as He struggled with what was to come. And look at the name that He used for God—"Abba," which is the term a child would use for his dear father.

All of this shows us someone who clearly loves us very much, to go through all of that and still pray, "Yet not what I will, but what You will." Most of us never get the choice when it comes to suffering. It is forced on us by the circumstances of our lives, and we simply have to muddle through. But Jesus—He chose it. He chose obedience to the Father He loved. And He chose salvation for the people He loved—for you and for me. His suffering, death, and resurrection have given us life.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to grasp Your great love, and to love You back. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • When have you suffered the most?
  • Do you think it is easier or harder to suffer when you know you have another option?
  • What good has God brought out of the suffering in your own life?

Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
When have you suffered the most?

Devocional CPTLN del 29 de marzo de 2020 - Sufrimiento y amor


ALIMENTO DIARIO

Sufrimiento y amor

29 de Marzo de 2020

Jesús les dijo a sus discípulos: "Siéntense aquí, mientras yo voy a orar." Se llevó consigo a Pedro, Jacobo y Juan, y comenzó a entristecerse y angustiarse. Les dijo: "Siento en el alma una tristeza de muerte. Quédense aquí, y manténganse despiertos." Se fue un poco más adelante y, postrándose en tierra, oró que, de ser posible, no tuviera que pasar por ese momento. Decía: "¡Abba, Padre! Para ti, todo es posible. ¡Aparta de mí esta copa! Pero que no sea lo que yo quiero, sino lo que quieres tú."

Me resulta muy difícil escribir sobre este pasaje. Mi mente y mi corazón están asombrados por el sufrimiento de Jesús y por el gran amor que tiene por nosotros, para pasar por todo esto. Su humanidad está en plena exhibición en esta historia. Podemos ver que es plenamente consciente de lo que está por suceder y, como con cualquier ser humano, su cuerpo y su alma se estremecen ante la perspectiva. ¡No es de extrañar que Lucas diga que su sudor era como gotas de sangre que caían al suelo! Y tampoco es de extrañar que Jesús orara: "Aparta de mí esta copa." Su sufrimiento ya había comenzado.

Pero hay otras cosas para ver. Jesús se llevó a sus amigos con él: Pedro, Jacobo y Juan, los más cercanos a él. No quería estar solo mientras luchaba con lo que estaba por venir. Y cuando oró al Padre, usó el nombre "Abba", que es el término que un niño usaría para dirigirse a su papá.

Todo esto nos muestra claramente la realidad del sufrimiento de Jesús, al igual que la realidad de la inmensidad de su amor por nosotros. A pesar de la angustia, ora: "Pero que no sea lo que yo quiero, sino lo que quieres tú." Cuando se trata de sufrir, la mayoría de nosotros nunca tenemos opción: el sufrimiento nos lo imponen las circunstancias de la vida y no nos queda más que afrontarlo. Pero Jesús lo eligió. Eligió la obediencia al Padre que amaba y eligió la salvación para las personas que amaba: para ti y para mí. Su sufrimiento, muerte y resurrección nos han dado vida.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, ayúdame a aferrarme a tu gran amor. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  1. ¿Cuándo has sufrido más?
  2. ¿Qué cosa buena ha sacado Dios del sufrimiento en tu propia vida?

© Copyright 2020 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
¿Cuándo has sufrido más?

Unser Täglich Brot - Fruchtsaft

https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/2020/03/29/fruchtsaft/

Fruchtsaft

Lesung: Johannes 15,5-8 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Richter 7-8; Lukas 5,1-16

Ich bin der Weinstock; ihr seid die Reben. Wer in mir bleibt und ich in ihm, wird viel Frucht bringen.

Ein günstiges Angebot. Die Lampe schien perfekt für mein Büro daheim—die richtige Farbe, Größe und der richtige Preis. Aber als ich sie zu Hause in die Steckdose steckte, passierte gar nichts. Kein Licht. Kein Strom. Kein Saft.

Kein Problem, versicherte mir mein Mann. „Ich kann das reparieren. Das ist leicht.“ Als er die Lampe auseinanderbaute, sah er sofort das Problem. Der Stecker war nicht mit dem Kabel verbunden. Ohne mit der Stromleitung verbunden zu sein, war die „perfekte“ hübsche Lampe nutzlos.

Das Gleiche gilt auch für uns. Jesus sprach zu seinen Jüngern: „Ich bin der Weinstock; ihr seid die Reben. Wer in mir bleibt und ich in ihm, wird viel Frucht bringen. Denn getrennt von mir könnt ihr nichts tun“ (V. 5).

Diese Lehre stammt aus einer Weinregion, daher verstanden die Jünger sofort, was er meinte. Weinstöcke sind widerstandsfähige Pflanzen und ihre Zweige können mit extremer Beschneidung umgehen. Werden sie aber von ihrer Lebensquelle getrennt, sind die Zweige so wertlos wie Totholz. So ist es auch mit uns.

Wenn wir in Jesus bleiben und seine Worte in uns leben lassen, sind wir mit unserer Lebensquelle verbunden, nämlich Christus selbst. „Darin wird mein Vater verherrlicht, dass ihr viel Frucht hervorbringt und meine Jünger werdet“, sagt Jesus in Vers 8. Solch eine ergiebige Frucht benötigt tägliche Pflege. Gott schenkt sie uns durch die Bibel und seine Liebe. Verbinden wir uns also mit unserer Kraftquelle und lassen wir den Saft fließen!
Was bedeutet es für dich, in Jesus zu bleiben? Wie hat er dich ausgerüstet, damit du für ihn Frucht bringen kannst?
Allmächtiger Gott, schenke mir Kraft, in dir zu bleiben, damit dein liebendes Wort gute Frucht in mir hervorbringt.


© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Ein günstiges Angebot. Die Lampe schien perfekt für mein Büro daheim—die richtige Farbe, Größe und der richtige Preis. Aber als ich sie zu Hause in die Steckdose steckte …