"Jesus Is Poor
Jesus, the Blessed One, is poor. The poverty of Jesus is much more than an economic or social poverty. Jesus is poor because he freely chose powerlessness over power, vulnerability over defensiveness, dependency over self-sufficiency. This is the poverty of spirit that Jesus chose to live.
Jesus calls us who are blessed as he is, to live our lives with that same poverty."
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith
There is a threshold, it seems,
where either the spirit cracks
or some steel enters the soul.
God our Father, when the foundations of our life
are shaken by the bitter winds of disappointment,
or by a grief that seems too great to bear,
take hold of us and help us through to the other side.
And should there come the day when we must
stand firm against the forces of evil, or say no
to a demand that we sell our soul, help us
not be broken by the consequences of our decision
or action,even though a dream we followed
lies in fragments at our feet.
Lord, take all that happens to us and turn it
to good account, so that the furnace of adversity
may in the end succeed only in deepening our trust,
lengthening our cords of sympathy,
and widening the horizons of our world.
Dr. Terry C. Falla, former minister, Brunswick Baptist Church, Melbourne, Australia. From Be Our Freedom Lord: Responsive Prayers and Readings for Contemporary Worship
Christmas and Easter
Why is it that so many more people celebrate Christmas than Easter? Why is Christmas given so much more attention?
I guess the best answer is “tradition.” It has become customary for people to spend, and spend some more, on gifts for family, friends and co-workers. Originally, gifts were given to celebrate God’s gift to the world of His Son, but now, Christmas is the make or break time of the year for merchants. The hoopla and celebrations start the minute Halloween decorations come down in stores. Christmas wrapping paper goes on sale November 1!
On the other hand, Easter gets comparatively little thought from those whose hearts do not follow deeply what happened on that first Easter: For the only time in history a man rose from the dead to live forever with His Father in Heaven.
Everyone knows that every living creature was born. Everyone knows that all people die at some point in life. But not everyone believes that the man who rose from the dead on that first Easter lives still, nor that those who do believe will do the same.
Why celebrate Lent?
Why do we celebrate Lent? Where did the term come from? What is its meaning?
Since the 13th century, Lent has been a time for Christians to meditate on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Originally, the term in Latin was quadregesima, which means fortieth day - referring to the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness after his baptism by John; days in the wilderness where Satan tempted him.
English priests began using the word Lent instead of the Latin terms because Lent means spring. The word comes from the German lenz, meaning long because spring days are long.
It would seem, then, that Lent is a period of forty days (not counting Sundays) when we should be giving special attention in our times of worship and meditation before God, to the life of His Son, especially the last forty days of His life. Those were difficult days for Jesus. He knew that He would soon give up his life in a horrible death and that His death would carry with it the burden of all the sins of mankind.
Ask And You Will Receive
My wife is the prayer coordinator for our church. She prepares a weekly document of prayer requests from the congregation, and on Saturday evening, e-mails it to those who have asked to be included in the prayer chain. On Sunday morning before church she photocopies the document for those who do not have a computer. Urgent requests during the week are sent by e-mail and telephone.
Last Sunday, she and Brenda, who helps her with the photocopying, discovered that the church’s copier was jammed. They searched the machine to find the source but to no avail. Finally, they put their hands on the machine and Dorothy began a prayer for help, “This machine, dear Lord . . . ” That’s as far as she got.
At that point, she recognized that one finger was touching a small button on the copier that neither of them had noticed. She pushed it. A slide opened, and there was the source of the trouble. God knew about the problem. He was waiting for her to ask Him for help.