Tag Archives: Good Friday


It has been a month since I have written. The words have been there. The thoughts. The dreams. The joyous bursts of creativity. But the fingers were stayed. For whatever reason – I found myself waiting. So – I waited. I waited some more. Waited for the special silence that always precedes the release of words. And still I waited.

Holy week. 
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday.

A month ago, in one of my many thrift store meanderings, I found a Robert Shaw recording in conjunction with Ohio State University choirs. It was not one from when I was there, but the choral works on it spoke to me once again. The next day, I found myself sitting on the floor of my small utility closet as I pulled out all my classical CD’s. My school room filled with them as I worked. I began singing – not well – but nevertheless – with all my heart in the car on the way home. Finally, letting them filter through my prayers as I lay my head down.

“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”~Lk 9:58

Two weeks later, I found myself walking through the door of a stately, city Methodist church. The steeple bell rang as I walked the sidewalk towards the church – just as they used to when I walked with my parents. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. I was not surprised. I needed the rituals. I needed the music. I needed to hear the oral readings of Psalms and “Our Father”. I needed to remember the community of my history. The birthplace of my faith – my youth – my maturity.

A touchstone of truth.

“Pilate said to him, “You are a King then?” Yeshua said to him,“You have said that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world: to testify of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?” ~Jn 18:37-38

It is Holy Week.
It is Good Friday.

On Maundy Thursday, I was going to go back to the Methodist church, but instead, I watched the Mass of the Basilica in DC and sang with choir during Holy Communion. Tonight, as I watched some of the Stations of the Cross in Rome, my thoughts focused and the fingers found their freedom. Then I turned on the “The Passion of the Christ”. It is always the last thing I want to do – ever. It is a hard movie to watch. I cry – often. And yet, it is the one thing thing I must do. I must remember the gift. I must honor the sacrifice that an earthly mother made in conjunction with the plan that a loving, heavenly Father made for all His children so long ago.

“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”~Jn 15:13

Today was a stormy day in NC. “The swirly winds came and the rain fell on us” as a poem from my high school days stated. I checked my plants. Pulled the flag in under the porch roof. Rubbed the dogs’ heads over and over as they stayed close by my side. Even the cat who has been standoffish all week has spent most of the night on my lap. The winds have quieted and while all three animals and hubby are sleeping in our small TV room, I am at peace.

The stone has covered the tomb, but Grace is about to blow away the cords that hold it closed.

Resurrection Day is coming.

“You are my friends if you will do all that I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master does, but I have called you my friends, because all that I have heard from my Father, I have taught you.”~Jn 15:14-15

It has been an interesting month of being a learner again. Listening to the Teacher of Truth is never easy of me. I am – at this point in life – used to being the teacher in the room. I tend to want to control everything around me. Although – some of my oldest friends say that I have always had that “teacher attitude” – whatever that is. I’m still not sure where it is leading or what is on that path that seems to have very few mile markers. What I do know?

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you also will go bring forth fruit and your fruit will remain, so that all you will ask my Father in my name, he will give to you.These things I command you that you will love one another.”~Jn 15:16-17


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Lenten Journey #2

August Rush…

Dirty Dancing…

Moulin Rouge…

Don’t you love those points in the movies that touch your heart? The climatic essence when the hero turns back, returns, or absorbs the idea that he/she has been rebelling against throughout the whole movie…honor…integrity…undying love. You want to stand up, clap your hands together (I do believe – I do believe – come on, Tink) and cheer. Hmmm…like when: August runs away from Wizard to conduct his symphony; Johnny holds out his hand and says, ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’; Christian turns back to Satine as she begins to sing, “Come What May”; a anguished Father sending His Son to save…

You get the idea.

No matter how many times I watch Moulin Rouge (and I just watched it…again), “Come What May” always sticks in my head (for days – sigh), and I end up singing it in the shower – the car – the hot tub  over and over (musicians tend to do that). But today, “Nature Boy”  kept creeping in as well. Toulouse keeps shouting out a line from this song: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”.

And again, there in my mind, was Jesus standing in that sunny meadow. Looking off into the horizon.  Seeing something that no one else has seen yet.  A Son – listening to His Father and willing to share their undying love.

Funny…how God can work through the common, ordinary activities of our day just to remind us of His love. Don’t you just want to stand up, clap your hands and cheer?

Easter Thoughtsong

Palm Sunday:  Long ago, songs and praises were offered to a young man riding into the holy city onl the back of a donkey. It is only appropriate that my Hebrew devotional today centered on the differences between Psalms and songs….hmmm…I didn’t even know there was a difference – but in Hebrew tradition there is quite a difference: “The Hebrew word for song is shira (which is also a popular girl’s name), but like all biblical words, there is a deeper significance as well. Shir doesn’t only mean song; it signifies a connection and, interestingly enough, is the same word for both a domesticated animal and a leash. With this understanding, shirah means a song connecting the singer with God above.

Psalm, or mizmor, on the other hand, has nearly the opposite connotation. Mizmor comes from the Hebrew word zamoor which means to cut or prune as in Leviticus (25:4), during the Sabbatical year, “Do not prune (tizmor) your vineyard.”

The message here is that before offering a psalm to the Lord, we must first cut out any inappropriate forces or desires that may interfere with our devotion.

The challenge for us then becomes to live each day as the psalmist suggests — by offering “a song” and “a psalm,” connecting ourselves to God, while cutting away those things that keep us from Him.”

When the crowd sang Our Lord’s praises on that long ago day, I guess they forgot to prune away the things that remained in their way – keeping them from knowing Him and Our Father.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us” —Psalm 67:1

MAUNDY THURSDAY:   Long ago in a far away land, a man knelt and washed the feet of his friends. Later, his best friend, John, sat to his right. The man looked up and offered the seat at his left to another friend; his name was Judas. His birth place had been in a stable – his last meal in a guest room and he gave “thanks” as he shared his cup of wine.

Did you know that in early Jewish weddings the young man would say to his bride: “This cup is a new covenant in my blood which I offer to you.” When she takes his cup, she drinks from the cup as a sign of her acceptance.

Do all those references that you have heard in the Bible about blood and the church being the “bride of Christ” begin to make sense? Slowly, it started to make sense to me.

Eucharisteo in Greek means Thanksgiving. The root word of eucharisteo is charis or “grace.” The Greek word chara, is also there which means “joy.” He gave thanks for being chosen as the Passover lamb on Sunday. He gave thanks for the cup of wine-filled wrath that he was being asked to drink from.

“The height of joy isn’t simply to be blessed — but to become the blessing.

The height of joy isn’t to have blessings actualized — but to become the actual blessing.

Not to be blessed with stuff — but to become the blessing in service.” Anne Voscamp

That is what Jesus did on a night long ago in a far away land.

GOOD FRIDAY:   In the early morning hours of a long ago today, He was alone in a garden. Most people would think that is ironic, since all of this started in a lost garden. But as always, He was following where His Father led Him. Passover. This God/Man knelt in the darkness of a full moon and felt the garden breezes stir His hair. This garden, where the fruit was pressed and bounty extracted, was where He, too, was pressed, so that the bounty could be extracted.

Tears of blood, desertion of friends, betrayal by another, family??? Alone. Born in a stable…alone in a garden…from beginning to end – He had no place to lay His head. The God/Man warred within one body to the ultimate choice – His choice…His Father’s choice…the choice of grace.

What followed – the unendurable – was fore-told by the prophets – disfigured beyond belief as He took on the sins of all eternity . The choice had been made – the gift given – the waiting had begun.

Holy Saturday: Waiting is never easy. Time slows – eyelids droop – pieces of song drift through – tears fall… People are people. Despite a few executions, a sky darkening storm and minor earthquake, life went on in the holy city.

Soldiers patrolled the area. Pilate listened to more petitions. The Sanhedrin tried to figure out how to repair a broken altar or mend the curtains that hid the Holiest of Holies. And I’m sure, the main populace of the holy city worked at cleaning up after the natural disasters. That’s what we do – right?

However, there were some that were lost on that day long ago. Tears mingled with pain and produced confusion. Did they huddle together, hidden from the authorities – just in case, someone wanted more blood?? Or did they mourn in silence, seeking the places that they had last seen Him? Was it over? What now?

I like to think that they went to find His mother. Somehow, I like to think she knew more than they. The Bible doesn’t say much about His mother, Mary, but what is there has always fascinated me. She didn’t scream and run when an angel visited her in darkest hour before the dawn. She didn’t blink when Joseph hesitated. She asked for miracles before any had been accomplished. She stood at the foot of the cross and wept at the sight of her baby boy. Could I have done any of those things?

When they came, I see her holding His prayer shawl and —- waiting. She knew her son was no longer in pain and even better – she knew there was more to His story. Did she know exactly what was to come? Did she understand the parable of the temple before the disciples? I don’t know; I do know that she was still the woman who had answered: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word… My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.” If she answered this once upon a time…then she was probably: fasting…preparing…praying…waiting…

Waiting…for the sun of a new day… a Son with a new covenant….waiting.

EASTER SUNDAY:  In the early hours of the third day, His mother waited.  In a room full of people, she was alone with her thoughts…her prayers…her faith.  At some point, when her eyes became too heavy, her head fell upon the arm that rested on the small window sill  and the light of the full moon covered her head like a blanket as His well-worn prayer shawl covered her shoulders.  It was then the music awakened her.  Familiar – words without words – music.  The waiting was over.

She rose easily to her feet and picked her way through those sleeping on the floor around her.  She smiled.  They had come offering comfort, but had found instead, comfort.  Her strength…wisdom had served as their ballast over the turbulent, stormy days.   Disciples – their families – all crowded into the house of a gracious benefactor.  Dawn was not far away and Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James would soon be rising.  His mother opened the door and joined her two angelic companions.  Friends that had traveled this road with her since the beginning.   Together, they made their way to her son’s tomb.

Of all the things that she had held tight to her heart, today would be the holiest. The Roman soldiers slept by the tomb; their spears and swords useless against the music that gave them peaceful dreams and offered a miracle to the waiting world.

Darkness banished.  Power unleashed.  A tomb unsealed.  “Behold, my daughter,” the music sang as Mary, His earthly mother, sank to her knees on holy ground.

He stood…released…renewed…reborn…radiant within the light of His heavenly father.  “Mother.”

Can you imagine?  Can you hear the music?  Do you feel the joy?

The wrath was gone.  The rough places made straight.  A tiny human baby had been forged under the purifying fire of temptation and sin and was now refined into the most precious gift Our Father could give his children – Grace.

A way back.


I can’t begin to imagine what mother and son talked about that first Easter morning, but I’m sure they did.  How she must have ached to touch and smooth His hair back from His face. But it was not time…He had not yet ascended to His Father. As she welcomed Him into the world from her body, so she ushered Him back into the world with her faith.  A different form…a different path…a different world because Christ had  overcomed the world…overcomed sin…overcomed death.

Easter lives.  Cloaked with power from on high. we are waiting again.  The birth pangs are increasing.  Wars and rumors of wars roil around us.  And… when He returns?  The gates of the garden will be unlocked and we will walk – once again – with Our Father and know Him … face-to-face…Grace filled…Grace blessed.

(Luke 24)