The following devotionals are meant to be used in the home, as individuals or as a family. They include the lectionary readings for each day, a devotional thought, a prayer and links to music videos to encourage meditation.
Click on these on your phone, tablet or computer. I’ve tried to include some different types of music, so try to listen even if it’s not all your style! J) (For those who are not used to doing this, sometimes an ad may pop up. You can usually skip it, or it will be over in a minute).
It is our hope that you will find these devotions to be a helpful tool for your worship in your home during this special week when we cannot be together.
Blessings to you and yours! God is ever faithful!
We Proclaim the Mystery of our Faith!
Psalm 118:1,2; 14-24
Heavy-hearted Mary and the others made their way to the tomb to, as they thought, do their final act of homage to Jesus and properly anoint His body. Grief turned to fear, even anger as it appeared that someone had stolen the body of their loved one, possibly to further desecrate it. Grief turned to confusion and then to incredulous joy as Mary met Jesus and told the others she had seen Him. Nothing in the world would ever be the same again!
Because of the Resurrection, the frightened disciples began to hope. Because of the Resurrection, we too will be resurrected. Because of the Resurrection, Creation has begun to be released from its bondage to decay. Because of the Resurrection, new life is possible for each one of us. Because of the Resurrection, we are saved to the uttermost! Because of the Resurrection we can look forward to eternal life with Jesus at His return.
And so we proclaim the mystery of our faith!
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again!
Let our joy be unbounded! Thanks be to God!
- Sandi Patty - Was It A Morning Like This
- Up from the grave He Arose by Voice of Eden (VOE) for Jesus Calls
- The 2nd Chapter Of Acts - The Easter Song (1974)
- See What a Morning
- THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS ( Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir )
Mighty God, in whom we know the power of redemption, You stand among us in the shadows of our time. As we move through every sorrow and trial of this life, uphold us with knowledge of the final morning, when, in the glorious presence of Your risen Son, we will share in His Resurrection, redeemed and restored to the fullness of life, and forever freed to be Your people. Amen.
Hope Was Gone
Lamentations 3:1-9; 19-24
Psalm 31:1-4; 15:6
1 Peter 4:1-8
Matthew 27: 57-66
Numbness. That’s what I have experienced during a great grief. Sometimes it hurts so badly that you try to shut down and feel nothing. It only works for a while, and then the cracks begin to rupture and all the sorrow comes pouring in. I cannot really imagine what the day after Jesus’s death must have been like.
For those who loved Him, all of their hope was gone. They had “hoped He would restore Israel”. The heady days of miracles and multitudes had ended shatteringly with the death of their friend and leader. They may have wondered if they were next. Some of them may have been sad enough that they didn’t care if they were.
Creation itself had been through an upheaval. There was an earthquake, many dead people were seen walking around. There was darkness at midday. There must have been a great stillness.
In our times of sorrow we may experience numbness, fear, anger, loss of hope. We need to cling to the words from our Lamentations and grieve in that framework: “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.”
Living on this side of Easter, even our darkest Saturdays are framed by hope.
Eternal God, rock and refuge; with roots grown old in the earth, river beds run dry, and flowers withered in the field, we wait for revival and release. Abide with us until we come alive in the sunrise of Your glory. Amen.
The Darkest Day in Human History
Good Friday. What a strange name for the darkest day in human history! This is the day that humanity committed deicide. Betrayal, abandonment, pain, sorrow, grief beyond any that any of us has ever experienced….how could this day be called good?
Looking at it from a human perspective, it’s difficult to imagine. Looking through the light of Scripture, however, we begin to see it. God was in control of this. It was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Jesus Himself prophesied that it would happen. In His actions at the cross, it is very apparent that He is no helpless victim. He provides for His mother, He saves a thief on the next cross, and He makes it clear that He is choosing to do all of this. He lays His life down. No one takes it from Him.
Our Hebrews reading helps us to interpret these horrible events. He has “opened a new way to enter the holy place.” Because of the new covenant He has made with us and ratified by His own blood, we are forgiven and no longer subject to death! And the writer of Hebrews says that where there is forgiveness of sin there is no longer any offering to be made for it.
That is how the worst day in human history came to be known as “Good Friday”! Our Creator chose to die rather than live without us! Thanks be to God!
We veil our faces before your glory, O Holy and Immortal One, and bow before the cross of Your wounded Christ. With angels and archangels, we praise You, our Mercy, and we bless You, our Compassion, for in our brokenness, You have not abandoned us. Hear us as we pray through Jesus, our high priest: heal all division, reconcile the estranged, console the suffering, and raise up to new life all that is bound by death. Amen
Supper in the Upper Room
Exodus 12:1-4; 11-14
Psalm 116:1,2; 16-19
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17; 31b-35
Maundy Thursday is the day we remember the supper in the Upper Room, the day we remember that Jesus took on the role of a servant and washed His disciples’ feet, the day we remember that He gave us a new commandment to love one another with the same kind of servant love He showed us.
It seems strange not to be together tonight sharing at the table, singing of Jesus’s love for us and reading the scriptures you’ve just read together. In some ways, choosing to observe the quarantine even if we are not afraid for our own selves is a way of loving one another. Jesus laid down His life for ours. Giving up some of our cherished activities to protect our friends is a way of showing His love.
Soon we will meet again and share at the table of the Lord. Jesus told us that, every time we do this we are witnessing His death until He comes. He loved us. He wants us to love each other the same sacrificial way. And He promises to one day come again. After that there will be no social distancing ever again. Love will be perfect, and healing complete.
Eternal God, in the sharing of a meal Your Son established a new covenant for all people, and in the washing of feet He showed us the dignity of service. Grant that by the power of Your Holy Spirit these signs of our life in faith may speak again to our hearts, feed our spirits and refresh our bodies. Amen.
Jesus is Betrayed
On Wednesday of Holy Week, many in the Church remember that Jesus was betrayed by one of His own. Judas Iscariot had talked, eaten, laughed and travelled with Jesus. He had seen the miracles, heard the message and shared the dangers. Ironically, He may have understood better than the others when Jesus said He would die. Judas was looking for an earthly king to overthrow Rome. At some point he decided that Jesus was not going to be that person—and he was right. Jesus has other plans, and was working for a different Kingdom than the one Judas wanted to bring in.
In a stunning act of rejection, Judas decided that he no longer trusted this one he had followed. He decided he needed to get out while he could. In doing so, he lost himself. By turning his back on Jesus, he turned his back on all that he didn’t even know he wanted.
We have no reason to believe that Jesus was not deeply hurt by His friend’s betrayal. He was fully human as we are, and experienced all the emotions we do. He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”, and I believe this grief was part of that. When Isaiah tells us that “the chastisement that brought us peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed” this is part of what He was saying. All the griefs we experience in life are part of what Jesus died for. Thanks be to God.
Creator of the universe, You made the world in beauty, and restore all things in glory through the victory of Jesus Christ. Though You were betrayed by a friend, we thank You for Your love that heals our iniquities, griefs and betrayals. We pray that, wherever people suffer poverty, sickness, selfishness, war and greed, You will heal their sorrows and use us to help. Amen.
Jesus Predicts His Death
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
On Tuesday of Holy Week, many in the church focus on Jesus’s predictions of His death. His disciple, Philip, brought some Greeks to see Him. Jesus explained that this was the time for Him to be glorified. He went on to describe how he would die and bear fruit, how He would be lifted up and draw people to Himself. He freely admits that He dreads this, and yet He sets His face to fulfill His purpose.
We are called to be His people, to walk in the light, to believe in the light, to become children of the light. Like Philip, we need to bring others to see Him, to see the light that has shone upon us.
What does this mean?
Jesus’s own death did not catch Him by surprise. He was very clear about what would occur. He has not been caught by surprise by this present darkness, and He has ways for His people to be light-bearers during this time.
Empower us in witness so that all the world may recognize in the scandal of the cross the mystery of reconciliation. Amen.
Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet
On Monday of Holy Week, the Church traditionally remembers the worship act of Mary of Bethany. She came into the house where Jesus was, and, not worrying what anyone thought of her, she broke open a very expensive box of perfume made from spikenard and anointed Jesus’s feet with it it and dried them with her hair.
Jewish women kept their hair covered. It was a humiliating thing to let it down in front of others, especially a roomful of men. Mary didn’t care. Her love for Jesus was the only thing that mattered. Interestingly, it also shows that Mary may have been one of the only ones who understood what Jesus was getting ready to do. Jesus implies that she did this to anoint Him for burial. She is the only one who did. When the other women came to finish the job, He had already risen.
Fragrance Filled the House
Spikenard was a highly fragrant perfume. The Scripture says the fragrance filled the house. It is very possible that it still lingered when Jesus went to the cross. Mary’s costly gift (both in money and in emotional treasure) was the last act of love given to Jesus before Calvary.
How much worship do we owe Him? Is anything we have too costly? Possessions, dignity, what does any of it matter in the face of the love of Jesus? Let us pour out all that we have in worship.
Christ our God, your love is poured out in death for our sakes. Hold us in your embrace as we wait for Easter’s dawn. Comfort us with the promise that no power of earth, not even death itself, can separate us from your love; and strengthen us to wait until you are reveled to us in all your risen glory. Amen
Psalm 118: 1,2; 19-29
Philippians 2 5-11
If we were together today, we would hold a palm processional to commemorate Jesus’s
triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is a time of celebration as we are filled with the joy that comes from knowing that Jesus came to bring us salvation. “Hosanna”, we cry with the crowds.
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” And it is a great joy to know that Jesus came to accomplish our salvation! The other side to Palm/Passion Sunday is the understanding that Jesus came into Jerusalem for one purpose—to die. He came on a donkey fulfilling prophecy, but this is not just a rah rah Sunday. Our Psalm today is a Psalm of Ascents, one of the Psalms the pilgrims (including Jesus) would have sung on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover.
Look at it again, and realize that our Savior would have sung these words, knowing that they were prophetically written about what He was to do. In the midst of everyone’s celebration, Jesus was the only one who knew what was really going on.
And He rode on anyway.
Our Philippians reading tells us He humbled Himself unto death—even death on a cross. We are told elsewhere that, “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame.” As we wave or color palms at home, let us thank God with joy. But let us not lose sight of what it cost our Savior to save us.
Grant us the steadfast faith to enter the gates of righteousness, that we may receive grace to become worthy citizens of your kingdom. Amen.