A PERSONAL PRAYER
Early morning on Friday… snapshots from my imagination trickle through my mind.
All night prayers in the garden, the anguish, sleeping disciples, kiss of betrayal by a friend, the clank of shackles.
The horrors and indignities of Caiaphas, the chief priests.
The early morning walk to Pilate, to Herod, the cruel crowd shouts for blood
The scourge, the beloved man collapsed, the mocking, the crown of thorns
The journey out from the city, stumbling, barely alive already.
The nails. The cross. The gasps for breath. The darkness.
Death. Yes, real death.
My heart is broken. God, I know I am supposed to understand, but I really don’t. I should be able to explain it to others. Can you tell me again why this was necessary? As I grow older, I understand the cross less and less. But… as I grow older, the cross means more and more to me. In a way that is far deeper than my rational understanding, I see in your son’s pain and anguish the greatest expression of love ever. “Did e’er such love and sorrow meet…”
God, today of all days, I cannot find words to say thank you enough for the gift of your amazing love and grace. It is grace because it was an underserved gift for me. But it sure wasn’t free.
O loving father, take me through these days to Easter Sunday, when you demonstrate that the way of life that leads to a cross also leads to life that is abundant and eternal. I want to share in your suffering today, that I might share in your resurrection on Sunday!
I love you, God. Thank you so much for loving me first.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”–Matthew 28:10 Read the passage for this week’s sermon here: Matthew 28:1-10
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
Whom will you tell and show that they don’t need to be afraid?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
I hope you will consider coming to the Good Friday Tenebrae service at 7:00 tonight, April 14. It begins with seven lighted candles, and we extinguish them one at a time as we hear the seven last words of Christ. We remember with as much honesty as we can muster the reality of the suffering of Jesus on the cross, and try to come to terms with the love that suffering represents. The service concludes in the darkness.
Join us on Easter Sunday, April 16
8:00, 9:00, 10:05 & 11:10 a.m.: Traditional Worship Services in the Sanctuary (no Sunday School)
9:15 and 10:15: Encounter Contemporary Worship in the Fellowship Hall
Nursery is open from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for children 2 months-PreK
Parking is available in the South Lot, St. John’s Lot at Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway and our new parking garage on the east side of the building.
Stand Up and Be Counted! The research shows that studying the Bible with others is the one thing that has the greatest impact on the spiritual life of someone who has chosen to be a follower of Jesus. More than coming to church, or simply being in a small group, real Bible Study is life-changing. Because of this, we have set a goal of 2000 in Bible Study with others by the end of 2017. We currently have over 1300 people participating in regular Bible study with others, but we believe that there are others who are in Bible Studies outside the church or who are studying with a Bible Buddy that we don’t know about. Would you please let us know? You can go here and click the “count me in” button to register that you are participating in a Bible Study with others! And if you are not yet in a Bible Study, watch for our Summer Bible Challenge coming up.
Sunday, April 16 – Easter Sunday
Living God, I confess that too often, I have stayed in the tomb of disappointment, grief, doubt, fear, resentment, anger, and much more. Forgive me, God. Show me how to throw off my grave clothes and take hold of the abundant life, the resurrection life you have for me. Let it begin today. Amen. -Prayer by Dr. Tom Pace
Monday, April 17
Lord, forgive us for the times that we fall short of being the church or people you are calling us to be and for the times we misrepresent you with our words or fail to love others the way that you do. Wash us clean again Jesus so that we may be vessels for your great purposes. Amen. -Prayer by Thomas
Tuesday, April 18
Lord, we pray for all of those who have been diagnosed with cancer and for all cancer survivors. Give them the strength to persevere through difficulties and treatments. Be with the families as they walk beside their loved ones on the journey. Amen.
Wednesday, April 19
Today I awaken to your love Jesus, I know you will wrap your arms around all those who aren’t even aware of this wondrous gift you give to all. I pray that they will see your grace and love! In your name. Amen. -Prayer by Darleen
Thursday, April 20
Dear God of all humanity, we ask that you empower us to be ambassadors of your love and wisdom to all the peoples of the earth. To remedy our imbalance, we ask that you give us the strength and courage to act as one family deserving of your mercy so that peace and unity may be realized in our lifetimes. We ask this in your name. Amen. -Prayer by Vince Milum
Friday, April 21
Heavenly Father, I pray that your presence will break through into my life today and that you will take my fears and concerns of the day and replace them with your Spirit. Father, shine your light into my thoughts that I may never be the same again. Amen. -Prayer by Jeff Smith
Saturday, April 22
We pray for those who have turned away from God, those who just cannot believe anymore. May the evening sky and the morning sunrise bring them back. Amen.
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