Monday, March 25, 2013

A Look at Easter Week

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

This is Easter Week and I found a nice video of the events of Easter week set to music. 

I am both embedding the vidio and providing the link.

Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday and Jesus being welcomed in the manner that a king returning from a victorious battle would be welcomed home. 

From the Transformations Prayer Loft
He arrives in Jerusalem to celebrate the Pass Over Feast. The feast that remembers the Jewish people in Egypt and how they were instructed to put the blood of a lamb over their door and remain inside and eat the passover meal together. They were protected as the death angel passed over Egypt taking every first born. If you remember your Sunday School stories the is the climax of Moses going to the Pharaoh saying "Let My People Go". He refused and gets things likes plagues of nats, and frogs, water turning  to blood and finally the death of every first born. You can find the whole story in Exodus 8-12 in your Bible.   

Thursday is the Last Supper and the night that Jesus goes to the garden to pray and is betrayed by the kiss of his friend Judas. 

Friday is the crucifixion. There is an Earth Quake and the Veil of the Temple is torn in two. 

Sunday - is the resurrection when Jesus raises from the dead. 

Painting by Margot, Masks by Taylor Blake
In my church we do a Good Friday service. I am actually in charge of it this year so much of my week will be getting ready for that service. It is a somber reflective kind of service. I have to think it was a pretty traumatic week for the disciples. They go from the highs of Jesus being hailed as a king on Palm Sunday and the the crucifixion on Friday. Jesus has told them very clearly what is going to happen but I think most of it did not really register for them till afterwards. In Matthew 26 just after telling the parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Jesus says "When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”   He goes on to say later that same day  "20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.
21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
Jesus shares what we call Communion "26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant,which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Then they head to the Garden where Jesus asks the disciples to wait and pray. He goes off to pray and returns three separate times to find them sleeping. 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
The Transformations Prayer Loft

I look at the week between Palm Sunday and Easter and to me it seems to be a week that should some how be marked by prayer. For the most part it is a regular week for my family. Work, school, other activities but in among them I will look for places to set aside to watch and pray to reflect on the things that happened during Easter week. 
I will try to wrap my mind around what it must have felt like as the disciples to see Jesus, celebrated, betrayed, imprisoned, sentenced, beaten, crucified, laid in the tomb.  
You and I know that Jesus was true to his promise to rise again but for them they had to live through the confusion, to see the one they loved suffer and die, they run and hide. Think about how dark those hours must have been. Were they remembering the things He said at that point. Are they hanging on to the miracles and by faith really looking for the resurrection?  Think of your own walk with Jesus how do you do in those times between praying about something you need and the actual answer to that prayer. Do you wait and hope and then have times of doubt and fear. I think if you are honest most of us struggle and I think the disciples must have as well.

Painting by Nikki Lima 
 I've included some photos of the new Transformation Prayer Loft that I have been working on. It opened yesterday and it was wonderful to see people experiencing the space, the art and the variety of hands on prayer activities. I will share other photos and more about it in other posts this week. Today I wanted for us to take a look at the week that lies before us and to challenge you to find some places to set aside during your busy week to wait and pray and to reflect upon the events of Easter Week.

Painting by Lisa Johnson

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