Tag Archives: Holy Week

Easter Vigil: What? Why?

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb… 6Then Simon Peter … went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple … also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20: 1-18)


The Easter Prayer Vigil is conducted on Saturday evening within darkness, recalling Jesus’ frightened disciples gathered in despair and hidden within a dark room.

However, the Easter Prayer Vigil begins with the blessing and lighting of the (large) paschal candle which symbolizes Jesus’ journey from death into life. This paschal candle will be lit throughout the Easter season and on Sundays with baptisms. The reason is that baptism is our death to sin and the old self, in order to be raised into new life with Christ.

The Easter Prayer Vigil continues Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 11, 2020 in Devotions/Reflections


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Holy Wednesday: Stump the Rabbi

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away…
34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22: 15-22, 34-40)

After Jesus’ authority is questioned, the religious elite conspire to terminate his popularity, public ministry, and the revolution it was inciting. These religious elite knew that it would require Jesus’ death.

Thus, the Pharisees and Sadducees (religious elite) sought to entrap Jesus in his teaching, in order that he might be arrested, condemned, and crucified per the Roman Empire. Read the rest of this entry »


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Holy Tuesday: Authority Questioned

23When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. (Matthew 21: 23-27)

After Jesus ‘cleansed’ the temple, it was able to once again be the house of God, a house of prayer. Therefore Jesus, who was the presence of God in flesh and blood, was teaching and healing all who gathered despite the dismay and increasing contempt of the religious elite.

The chief priests and elders were not simply the religious elite, but also the religious authority. Thus, they choose to confront Jesus about his authority to teach and heal. However, their inquiry was founded upon neither the desire for deeper understanding nor innocent curiosity, but rather it was built upon the dangerous cornerstone of jealousy and fear. Read the rest of this entry »


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Holy Monday: Christ Cleanse Temple

12Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry. (Matthew 21: 12-15)

On Sunday, Jesus was we received in Jerusalem but with shouts of ‘hosanna’, literally ‘save us’. These were shouts of lament to God and hopeful calls for revolution.

But, what did the people expect and hope to be ‘saved’ from?

  • Perhaps, they desired to be rescued from the political system founded upon ‘Pax Romana’ (Peace of Rome). However, this ‘peace’ was enforced through brutal, violent suppression at the mere murmur of unrest.
  • Perhaps, they desired to be rescued from the social burdens of being an oppressed and occupied people, without a land or nation of their own.
  • Perhaps, they desired to be rescued from the depressed socio-economics that results from said political system and social burdens.

And yet, Jesus immediately enters into the temple. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in Devotions/Reflections



Journey to the Cross: an Invitation to Holy Week

Welcome to the beginning of Holy Week.

Holy Week is a powerful time in our church year and within our life of faith, but it is also a challenging week.

I have been thinking about how our gospel this morning (and week) is exactly what creates best-selling novels and movies. It has the full range of human emotion.

It has the joyful and triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

It has the hope of Jesus’ followers. The hope that he was the Messiah, the Anointed One, that they had been long awaiting to reunite the tribes of Israel and to take his throne establishing a reign that would not end.

It has the betrayal from one of the most inner-part of Jesus’ circle (of disciples/followers).

It has the denial of another from the most inner-circle of Jesus’ disciples.

If you noticed in our scripture this morning, the disciples and those following Christ are mentioned “at a distance”. It is as though they wanted to separate themselves from the one that would be shamed and disgraced by death upon a cross. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 25, 2018 in Sermons


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What the Heck is Maundy Thursday?

Text(s): Matthew 26: 21-29, Mark 14: 18-25, Luke 22: 15-23, and John 13: 1-20.

On Sunday, we entered into Holy Week. We entered into the experience and the journey to the Passion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

On Sunday, we welcomed Christ into our midst, waving palm branches, while the symbols of Christ were ushered into the sanctuary: the cross, the waters of baptism, the chalet and plate, the Holy Scriptures, and light. This was a greeting, a welcome that was fit for a king.

In the gospel accounts, Christ enters the Temple in Jerusalem. He drives out those conducting business, the venders and consumers alike. He flips over the tables of the money changers. He teaches about the corruption of the Temple into a den of robbers instead of the intended house of prayer.

This intense, pivotal moment in the gospel accounts is embellished for dramatic effect. The historical reality is that the dramatic scene was milder, perhaps symbolic, because, the Roman authorities were suspicious of the multitude of Jewish people traveling into Jerusalem to celebration the Passover. Their suspicion was firmly rooted in previous revolt attempts. The Roman authorities had increased the military, security forces in Jerusalem for this festival. Thus, if the depicted scene occurred, Jesus would have been arrested and contained immediately for disputing the peace.

Yet, Jesus’ actions in the Temple most have merited the attention of the Jewish religious authorities, because the chief priests and their scribes approach Jesus and question the source of his authority to teach, to preach, and to heal. Jesus employs wit, I imagine with a grin, avoids providing an answer to their question, and then departs to Bethany for the evening.

This pivotal encounter ignited the chief priests and scribes to conspire against this Rabbi, this prophet Jesus of Nazareth.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Sermons


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