Alive in Love

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Like wind … Like fire … , ©Mark Hewitt 2017

Here is a story where the stage is set for miscommunication.

Yet something amazing takes place in Jerusalem ….

Acts 2: 1-21 (CEV)

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting.

Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.

Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem. And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered.

But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages.

They were excited and amazed, and said:

Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee?

Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages? Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam.

Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome, 11 Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews,

and others of us have chosen to be Jews.

Yet we all hear them using our own languages

to tell the wonderful things God has done.

12 Everyone was excited and confused.

Some of them even kept asking each other,

“What does all this mean?”

13 Others made fun of the Lord’s followers and said,

“They are drunk.”

Peter Speaks to the Crowd

14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles

and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

Friends and everyone else living in Jerusalem,

listen carefully to what I have to say!

15 You are wrong to think that these people are drunk.

After all, it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

16 But this is what God had the prophet Joel say,

17 “When the last days come,
I will give my Spirit
to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
will prophesy.
Your young men
will see visions,
and your old men
will have dreams.
18 In those days I will give
my Spirit to my servants,
both men and women,
and they will prophesy.

19 I will work miracles
in the sky above
and wonders
on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
and clouds of smoke.

20 The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
will be as red as blood
before the great
and wonderful day
of the Lord appears.
21 Then the Lord
will save everyone
who asks for his help.”


Mark Hewitt, 20 May 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

This part of Scripture in Acts 2 is seen as the birth of the church but it is only the first part of the story.

The second part of the coming of the spirit we heard read in Church a couple of weeks back.  It’s not that the Spirit needed to come twice but that the nature of the gathered group was not yet as inclusive as the Spirit.

So when another group of followers gathered soon after, the Spirit came again to complete the inclusive nature of the Church.

This time at Caesarea, a port city, north central Israel, admination centre of Judea province of Roman empire.  Cornelius a centeruion of the Italian Cohort, had gathered family & friends to hear the apostle Peter.

Acts 10: 44-48 (CEV)

44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit took control of everyone who was listening.  45 Some Jewish followers of the Lord had come with Peter, and they were surprised that the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles.  46 Now they were hearing Gentiles speaking unknown languages and praising God. Peter said,  47 “These Gentiles have been given the Holy Spirit, just as we have! I am certain that no one would dare stop us from baptizing them.” 48 Peter ordered them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, and they asked him to stay on for a few days.

The new church is now truly inclusive. We hear in the first account that the Spirit comes like wind, like fire.

What does the Spirit bring?

It brings;
Oneness with God.
Lines of communication
Nothing like a smart phone – it never goes out of range
Clarity & Wisdom

It brings;
Courage to our voice.
Love to our action
Love of us that enables us to Love others.
As Love is the loudest voice.

May the Holy Spirit blow you in new directions.
May the Holy Spirit inspire you to do new things.
May the winds of Pentecost move your heart
and the flames of Pentecost warm your hearts.
May you go this day renewed, refreshed, challenged,
and secure in the knowledge of God’s love for you. Amen.

Seasons of the Spirit

Like wind … like fire … , Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt 2017

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Love Leads the Way

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Tender Hearted, ©Mark Hewitt 2015

The disciples find themselves at a crossroads.  At a point where decisions need to be made as the risen Jesus has ascended to be back one with God.  They spent plenty of time in prayer before they acted to replace one of the 12.  Which they again did with prayer.

So how did the gathered faith community of 120 chose?  (notice anything about the number – a division of 12)

They put it to prayer.  They try and discern God’s will & to seal it by casting lots.

Its not the only way.

Hebrew Scriptures & our Christian Scriptures both have multiple examples of trying to discern God will.  Different ways of decision making for different circumstances.  No One way.

What is important though, was the community’s approach.
Their decision making process values scripture (1:20)
They had a close relationship with Jesus (1:21-22)
And entered the process in prayerful petition (1:24-25)

Prayer is found in all scriptural approaches to decision making.  Guidance through prayer is a process we need to continual use as we have never arrived.  God is always calling us on.  God’s Love is always there before us.  We step into it.

Love leads the way: Prayer helps us see


Mark Hewitt, 13 May 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26 (NRSV)

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, ‘Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.’
So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

God of enduring promise,
you know our hearts and minds.
Fill us with your thoughts
and right action according to your design.
Help us to be loving and kind.
We know that you speak to us,
and we listen for your wisdom now
and in the days to come. Amen.

Seasons of the Spirit

Psalm 1 They are like trees planted by streams, Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt 2017

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Loving Friends

Diane Sunday AM, Worship Leave a Comment

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

God of love,
you speak all of creation into being and call it good;
you come amongst us and call us friends;
you move your spirit so that we may know your love extends
beyond any boundaries we may define.
Help us to be friends of one another and this world.
Open our hearts and minds to ideas and hopes
that can transform our lives
and the lives of those who are in need.

Where there is hunger and desperate need in the lives of others –
Where there is oppression and violence in the lives of others –
where there is deep sorrow, emptiness and anxiety;
open our hearts and minds
to ideas and hopes of generosity and simplicity,
justice and peace, compassion and your words of good news.
Show us how to love one another,
that joy may abound amongst all whom you call friends. Amen


Diane Bury, 6 May 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

John 15: 9-17 (NRSV)

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Love Abides

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Seppeltsville Vine, ©Mark Hewitt 2010

Vineyards, vines, grapes & wine are very much part of South Australia’s culture, so we are in a good place to understand the imagery and the importance of the vine to those who Jesus first spoke to.

Agriculturally, vines & their fruit, the grape, were a part of every day life in biblical times.  And as is the case today, the fruit of the vines were primarily for wine and then fruit for food.  So Jesus makes use of this rich resource of imagery, referring to himself & his community, as being a vine.  With the vine grower/gardener being none other than God.

What is it that makes the vine different than the trees?  A vine is a vine!  Its hard to tell one branch from another.  Where, one branch stops, and another begins.  All branches run together out of the central vine.  Branches aren’t usually referred to as branches but as part of the vine.  The vine is made of the whole Church community is a vine.  The mark of this faithful community is how it loves, not who its members are.

The vine though is not left to grow wild.  The gardener prunes so that each branch that bears fruit can bear even more – love even more.


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John 15: 1-8 (NRSV)

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunesto make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

God, you are the vine grower. We are the branches.
Help us abide in your true vine, Jesus the Christ,
so that we may bear much fruit.
Grant that we may faithfully proclaim the good news
until all are welcomed into the new life
you so generously give. Amen

Seasons of the Spirit

I am the true vine, Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt 2017

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Love in Truth and Action

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Good Shepherd; Shepherding is a serious business, ©Mark Hewitt 2012

Forget all those paintings you’ve seen where a tall, blond, Jesus carries a fluffy white lamb in his arms.  This is a serious business.  A flock of sheep without a shepherd will soon be gone.  A good Shepherd is Committed – intertwined with the sheep with no one was more present with sheep than a shepherd.  Having a closeness and attention to the needs and natural tendencies of the flock.  They did more than just watch the sheep.

A Good Shepherd was Love in action.


Mark Hewitt, 22 April 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

John 10: 11-18 (NRSV)

‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

God, you are the great carer of the world.
On Earth and in your presence
we can live lives of love and truth
knowing that in Jesus you lived alongside us
and in the Spirit, you live in us.

Amen.

Seasons of the Spirit

Psalm 23 He makes me lie down in green pastures, Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt

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Love Means Showing Up

Graham Sunday AM, Worship Leave a Comment

Rosellas, ©Graham Vawser

Our Easter experience has two parts.  At one point we realise that by the love of God, Jesus shows up in all the daily situations of our life and shares all our experience. And this leads to a realisation that in the love of God we too must show up to others with our awareness of the blessings which Jesus can bring into all the circumstances of their lives. Like the earliest followers of Jesus we, too, are witnesses to the love of God which continues to show up in our world.


Graham Vawser, 15 April 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

Luke 24: 36b-48 (NRSV)

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

You, Jesus, are the one who shows up when we need you.
When we look at this world and wonder how it got this way,
when we see the devastation of lands and waters of creation marred at our hands,
we find it hard to know that you remain in control,
that you are still with us.

Help us show up when anyone needs a friend.
Guide us to the streets, shelters and prisons;
show us refugees, runaways, and those with the deepest needs.
May they see your love in us, so that they might discover and experience
your abiding, generous, uncomplicated love.

And when we need a friend,
when we doubt,
be with us.
Grant us a sense of joy that overwhelms our worst fears;
grant us your peace;
and grant us full hearts
to know you when you show up,
and to show up ourselves
in those places where you want us to be signs of your love.

Amen

-adapted from Seasons of the Spirit

Prayerful Colouring

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Love is a Response to Grace

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Open Hands, ©Mark Hewitt 2012

Belief – Faith, is not something easily or lightly given.

Wendy M Wright in her book The Vigil,  copyright © 1992 Upper Room Books wrote this;
“To believe something (in a religious sense) is not simply to hold an opinion; it is to let that something sink down into the marrow of your bones and form the structure of your life.  To believe something is to let its affirmation become the inhalation and exhalation of your life’s breath. Belief does not exclude doubt or incredulity or intellectual curiosity, but belief is not exhausted in doubting or incredulity or curiosity. To believe something is to let it transform your life.”

 

I would add beief does not exclude being broken. This exchange between Thomas & Jesus gives us all comfort in that its okay to be critical, it’s okay to be questioning, it’s okay to doubt.  All the disciples displayed it.

Being critical, questioning, doubting is part of belief. We all come to belief in different ways.

Belief is more than intellectual agreement; a person who believes, gives one’s whole self to something. Just as Thomas did. The root of the Latin credo (I believe) is cor (heart.)  You are enclouraged in your faith journey to be led by your heart, to be critical, to question, to have doubts.  Let that process take place because of the bedrock of your belief  and let that process Inform and shape your faith.


Mark Hewitt, 8 April 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

John 20: 19-31 (NRSV)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Jesus and Thomas

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

The Purpose of This Book

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Risen Christ, breathe upon us your spirit of new life.
Where we cannot see, help us to keep our minds open toward faith.
Strengthen us as we seek to know you, and help us to grow in love for you and for each other.
Amen.

Seasons of the Spirit

Behind Locked Doors, Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt 2017

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In & From Our Brokenness, We Are Made Beautiful

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Rainbow Flowers, ©Mark Hewitt 2018

The Passion/Easter story is at the core of our Christian faith. Hardship, struggle and death during Holy Week & Good Friday is overturned by the New Life & overwhelming Joy of Easter Day. Hope triumphs supreme!

What I value about Good Friday is that it is okay to rest in lament. We can be sad, focus on and acknowledge that not all things are bright and beautiful. Life can be tough. Yet the darkness does not fully overwhelm us. Even as we rest in that sorrow, we have hope. That hope might be really, really small but it is still there. The hope is there as we know the story. We might not feel hopeful at the time but we know from before, that resurrection follows the crucifixion, new life follows suffering and pain. Hope & Joy breaks through in Jesus’ story and Hope & Joy will eventually break through in our story.

We began our journey towards Easter with a story of hope. We heard the story about Noah, Naamar & the flood. In that we acknowledged that there will have been storms in our own lives: floods of anxieties, times of being overwhelmed, of being flooded in & with life. Times when it was all too much. But to take hope as after the storms, after the damage…the rainbow will come. Suffering will be followed by the refreshing newness of the rainbow. On that Sunday morning we had a painting of a rainbow against grey stormy clouds to remind us of God’s promise.

 

Rainbow, ©Mark Hewitt 2018

On Easter Day we have much more than the sign of a rainbow, we have new life through Jesus’ resurrection. To represent that new life we have a painting of flowers that overwhelm the same grey stormy background of the rainbow painting. The flowers are all the same colours of the rainbow. We began our journey with hope we end our journey with hope & joy. The two painting visualise the link between our first Sunday in Lent & Easter day.


Mark Hewitt, 1 April 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.

Mark 16: 1-8 (NRSV)

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Dear God,
this past week has been one of mixed emotions;
of faith struggling to understand.
We have greeted you with palm branches;
we have sat at table with you to share a farewell meal.
We have witnessed your death on a simple wooden cross.
Yet on the third day,
you come to us again in victory.
By this, we know that death is not the final word.
As the sun boldly rises to meet a new day,
rise in our lives this easter morning,
for you are our hope,
our life,
our joy.
Amen

Seasons of the Spirit, Easter 2018

Mosaic Flowers, Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt 2018

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Brokenness

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Mark 14:26-15:47

Peter’s Denial Foretold

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters; for it is written,
“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.”
But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he said vehemently, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And all of them said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.’ All of them deserted him and fled.

A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.

Jesus before the Council

They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.” ’But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and
“you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power”,
and “coming with the clouds of heaven.” ’
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him over and beat him.

Peter Denies Jesus

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘I do not know or understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’ But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’ But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about.’ At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.

Jesus before Pilate

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom.Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah,the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

The Death of Jesus

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

The Burial of Jesus

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

We all come with our own brokenness.

We are hurt, we hurt others.

We lay our brokenness at the foot of the cross

Go out in quiet faith
To walk the way towards the hope of Easter Day
And our meeting with the risen Christ.

And May we dare to look deathliness in the face,
And find the love of God waiting there behind it,
Calling us to follow down the dark reaches of our life
Into the safe arms of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Remarkable Rocks, Prayerful Colouring, ©Mark Hewitt 2018

Click to download and colour in as you reflect on brokenness

 

Maundy Thursday

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Washing

John 13:1-17, 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.

These days our paths are not so dusty & our feet not so exposed.

So as an act of service we will wash each others hands.

God of dirty hands and tired feet,
Taking people as they come,
Kneeling and healing,
Touching where others turn away,
Forgive us when we want to be too clean.
Forgive us when we despise life
For the messy business it is.

If we are too proud
To own up to our brokenness,
If we keep hidden
What needs refreshment,
How can you care for us?

You can care – and this is how:
When we are ready to move
From distance to involvement,
From intent to touch,
Then you will wash the feet
That tire on rocky roads;
You will care and heal
Beyond our expectation.

Thanks be to God. AMEN.

Meal

No one comes as a stranger to this holy meal.
All of us are honoured and expected guests.
Each of us is invited to come as we are,
Holding nothing in our hands
Other than these humble offerings of bread and wine,
The food and drink of ordinary life made with human hands
From the gifts which lie in God’s creation.

O God, we give you grateful thanks
For all that lies within this sacred feast.
May our lives show the signs
That love is possible,
Grace is believable
And compassion is our way of life.
This we pray in your name.
Amen.

Broken

John 13: 31-35

When Judas 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.’

 

Our Brokenness

We are human with frailities, we don’t always get in right, are works in progress, make mistakes, hurt others or are hurt by others.

God does not wait till we are perfect.

God loves us as we are, has purpose for us as we are and we are commanded to love one another as we are

 

After the meal Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn and they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will run away and leave me, for the scripture says, “ The shepherd will be killed and the sheep of the flock will be scattered”.

Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane.

He was arrested and they all foresook him and fled…