I Don’t Ever Want to Forget!

Standing arms outstreched
A crown of thorns upon his head.
The sound of the hammer
Driving the nails into his hands and feet.

Thunder rolling.
Lighting flashing.
The curtain being torn in two.
Jesus uttering his last words.

IT
IS
FINISHED!

And then pure and utter silence.

(His Last Day by Tara L. Ulrich)

Today we sit in silence as Jesus lies in the tomb. And as Jesus lies in that tomb, I find myself reflecting on what he has done for me. I don’t want to ever forget what Jesus did for me and for you. Yet in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Sunday, I find myself realizing how easy it is to forget. I had to go to Walmart this morning to pick up groceries for our youth Easter breakfast. As I walked around the store, carefully placing items into my cart, I found myself watching the crowds of people busying themselves for tomorrow too.

I bought our groceries and headed back to church. The youth and their parents met me there. We decorated for tomorrow, cut fruit, and I hid some eggs for our Easter egg hunt. After about an hour, I came home and finished my butterfly craft for my children’s sermon for tomorrow. And then I mixed up some muffin mix and placed those in the oven. As I was washing my kitchen counters, I came across a gift that my aunt gave me several years ago. It is a cookie jar but this cookie jar is unlike any cookie jar I have ever seen. This cookie jar is a Nativity. This jar stopped me dead in my tracks as I was washing my counters.

That jar has been sitting there  for months. There are times I think, oh, I should put that away until next year. But then I get busy and forget about it. So it still sits upon my kitchen counter. Now Nativities in my house are not unusual because I collect them. All of them are carefully packed away after Christmas. But there is one that sits on my tv stand. That Nativity is there to remind me that Christ did not come one day a year but is here all the year round.

The Nativity sitting on my tv stand is always there and I love that it reminds me of the love of this man who gave his life for mine…for yours. But the Nativity in the kitchen, it so easily has just become a part of the decor. Yet today, on this Easter Saturday, this eve before we come to the tomb and find the stone rolled away, it stopped me. It reminded me again of the nails being driven into his hands. It reminded me again of the tears that his mother shed for him. It reminded me of the deafening silence after he uttered his last words. It reminded me again that death does not have the last word but that God does.

Christ has done so much for us. Christ has put on the victor’s crown (Thanks for sharing that song, Karrilee). Christ will come again. But for now, let us sit in silence and remember as Jesus is lying in the tomb. We cannot experience the joy of Easter without Good Friday.

Sunday is coming, my friends. And because I don’t ever want to forget, that Nativity will remain on my kitchen counter.

I am linking up with Barbie and Mary at My Freshly Brewed Life for the Weekend Brew.

This Holy Week

Our foreheads were marked with the sign of the cross almost six weeks ago on Ash Wednesday as we began our journey to the cross. With the sign of the cross on our foreheads, the words “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust; to dust you came, to dust you shall return” were spoken over us. Every time I mark a person’s forehead, I am reminded of their humanity and their mortality. It is especially hard when I mark the sign of the cross on a child’s forehead. Yet God declares that God will never leave us or forsake us. This Holy Week I am especially mindful of all who have gone before us including dear blogger Kara Tippetts who lost her battle with cancer a few weeks ago.

It is indeed a holy Week; a week in which we remember all Christ has done for us and experience so many emotions. It is a week in which we feel sadness but it also is a week in which we can be so very thankful. It is a week that walks us from the foot-washing of the disciple’s feet and gathering at the table, to the intensity we feel on the night of his crucifixion and death, to the hope that pours out when we come to the tomb and see the stone rolled away. It is a week that reminds us of the holy hopeful promise found in Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection.

But we cannot experience the promise of the Resurrection without first walking from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to that joy-filled Easter morning. Clarence W. Hall once wrote, “Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.” I find myself clinging to those words this week. There is such hope in knowing that death does not have the final word but that God does.

This Lent I have had the privilege of praying through my Facebook friends list. It is always such an enriching experience to pray for these friends. With their prayers in my heart and knowing how they have experienced their own deaths (death of relationship, death of life, etc), there is hope found in knowing that death does not and WILL NOT have the final word. I am again reminded of one of my favorite Bible verses; Psalm 30: verse five “Weeping may come for the night but joy comes with the morning.”

Tomorrow, on Maundy Thursday, we will gather at the table, with all of our brokenness, where God calls us to come, have our feet washed and eat and drink. Then on Good Friday, we are brought to our knees as Jesus is beaten and crucified. There is a eery stillness that comes over the world that night. But then three days later, we come to the tomb and find that the tomb has been rolled away. And we know that death has not had the last word, but that God does!

God sent God’s son into the world for each and every one of us. God loves us so THAT MUCH! And knowing that love, I find myself thankful for what Christ has done for me…..has done for all of us. But there is also a trembling that comes over me. I am reminded of the chorus to the African American spiritual “Were you There” “Oh sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.” And, my friends, this holy week I especially don’t want to forget that trembling; a trembling that is there as my feet are washed; a trembling that is there as I hear Jesus being beaten and crucified; and a trembling that is there when I come to the tomb and find it empty! Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!

I am linking up with these wonderful writers today: Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday, 
Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory, Holly Gerth for Coffee for your Heart
and Angela Parlin at the #RaRaLinkup.