He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Matthew 28:6aWe have celebrated this special weekend by watching the sunrise twice. Saturday from the top of Sandstone Peak which is the tallest mountain in the Santa Monica mountain range. And then we worshipped this morning on the beach as we listened to the waves crash before us and waited for the sun to peak out over Mugu Rock. What a way to remember and celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. He is risen indeed!
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:
“They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”
Therefore the soldiers did these things.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:17-30
Anticipation, understanding and hope! One of the things I love most about the church calendar is learning about Christian history and applying it to my life today. Just like the season of advent, the season of lent is also a time of anticipation. This year, because we’ve been on the road, Ryan and I have done less to mark the passage of lent. However, this week we are taking time to read a Holy Week devotional which focuses on the cross. It’s a beautiful reminder and helps me to focus on what makes Easter and resurrection Sunday so amazingly special.We are also participating in two different Seder meals. Tonight will be a Passover Seder at our Camarillo church. It’s beautiful to hear the Hebrew prayers, learn about and remember the significance of this meal that has been celebrated for so many generations. If you’re in the area, please join us at 7pm on Mobil Ave. And tomorrow we will celebrate Maundy Thursday with a meal at our church in Santa Barbara. We love being able to celebrate and reflect during this week with our different church families.
These are just some of the ways we are anticipating this Sunday, learning to understand our Christian history and celebrating the hope that is represented with the cross. The hope of the resurrection!
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:1-8
Let us celebrate the truth of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. He is risen, indeed!
*Thanks to Phil King for this great picture of the flower covered cross from Ukarumpa’s morning service this year.
Communion was first taken as a part of a meal. This was a meal shared among friends, the bread was broken and the wine was poured. These are simple actions that would have meant nothing except that the next day the man who broke the bread and poured the wine would be crucified and die on a cross. His actions fulfilled prophecy and took away the sin of the world. He was the true Passover lamb. Today is Good Friday and it is only good because we know how the story ends….stay tuned.
Lent began with Ash Wednesday on February 18th. Another local church marks this season with soup dinners and Lenten services. I’ve been attending (Ryan works that night of the week) and I have enjoyed the community as well as learning about the Lord’s Prayer. At home for Lent Ryan and I have been reading daily and remembering the season, focusing on Christ and the cross. My favorite reading so far, that I think encompasses the spirit of Lent, is called The Mourning. It is part of a Lenten series that can be found on Redeemer New York‘s website. We began this season with seven lit candles which you can see here in my February 19th post: Lent and Remembering.
But now there are only two candles lit in anticipation of Holy Week. Each Sunday we blow out another candle and read from this devotional called Lenten Lights from Desiring God Ministries. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the Sunday where we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At that point we will have only one candle still lit.
At some point this week, I will make hot cross buns. I’m not really sure when, where and why hot cross buns started being made for the Easter season but I do know that they are delicious and another sweet reminder of the cross.
Ryan and I are excited to celebrate another sweet remembrance of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. We will be driving up to Santa Barbara to connect with our church community there as we share a Christian Seder meal. The Seder is the meal that is traditionally eaten at Jewish passover.
And on Friday, the 3rd of March we will attend services for Good Friday. Good Friday is the day we remember Christ’s death on the cross. This solemn occasion isn’t fun but it is a pivotal part of the Christian faith. Without Christ’s death, his resurrection is meaningless. On Good Friday we will also blow out the final candle symbolizing our final descent into the darkness of sin and death.
But darkness doesn’t win. Hope remains because we know how the story ends. Christ defeats death and comes back to life. (Luke 24:6-7) On resurrection Sunday Ryan and I, along with Christians across the globe, will celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. At home we will light all the candles again as a symbol of light reigning over darkness. We serve the creator God, the one who endured death on a cross for our sins but was not defeated, instead he won the battle and rose again. Easter is the celebration marking the fact that Christians serve a living God. He is Risen indeed.