Photo Courtesy of Susan Russell at An Inch at a time…
Geesus… I hate when that happens… I got up early today because tonight is the BIG service at the Cathedral and I didn’t have anything to wear, that fit or was nice enough [read: more formal] than what was in my closet. So I set off for the mall. The one thing I really needed to get was a card for Donald.
I went to Zellers to find a nice shirt that [fit] and I found a funky tie to go with it so now I will look somewhat formal with a shirt and tie instead of looking all frumpy and studentish. The shirt is a beautiful burgundy button down with the tie to match. I think it looks good. I broke out the old iron and did my best Susie Homemaker to it.
I stopped in at McDonalds and had me some dinner because it will be a long night tonight, and one doesn’t want the old engine rumbling halfway through the service. I also wanted to get that card which I forgot and only remembered it when I sat here to write… I hate when that happens.
Last night I was all by myself and I watched a lot of National Geographic and their specials on the Bible and the History of Jesus, and one show in particular last night talked about the writers of the Bible. Very interesting. There was one, two hour presentation on Jesus and his life and death, which I found intriguing.
There was a scientist who broke down the crucifixion and he has the only lab in the world that is totally dedicated to research on the crucifixion. He also broke down the weight of the cross and the cross weighed something considerable and his test person could not carry the cross the total 1/4 mile that Jesus dragged his cross. It was said that Jesus didn’t die of asphyxiation but of cardiac arrest. They had studied this type of death in the lab and concluded that the way he was crucified – the nails, the wood and the style lent to a new hypothesis which I found interesting.
We are almost at 6 p.m. and I need to boogie… So enjoy your night, go to church and celebrate the Holiest night of the Christian Calendar…
This is the First reading of the night – The Creation Story
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
The Choir Loft at the Vigil Service
A darkened Church awaiting the Easter Candle
Lighting the Holy Fire Outside the Cathedral
The Altar after the Easter Dressing
I am posting these photographs for Louise who is in Florida till the end of the month. These photographs are from last years Easter Vigil service.
This year will be exciting because my friend and Academic Adviser Donald will be received into the Anglican Church and he will begin his discernment into Holy Orders. A process, which Rev. Joyce explained to me takes a couple of years and maybe some specialized schooling at Seminary.
The Easter Vigil Service is the Holiest of Holy nights on the Christian Calendar. The choir is just amazing and the cathedral will be packed with all the people coming for the holiday.
It is also the night that Cecile B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments air on television. A four hour extravaganza…
Mk. 14:1 – 15:47
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
were to take place in two days’ time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, “Not during the festival,
for fear that there may be a riot among the people.”
When he was in Bethany reclining at table
in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
“Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages
and the money given to the poor.”
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, “Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you,
and whenever you wish you can do good to them,
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve,
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
his disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me,
one who is eating with me.”
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
“Surely it is not I?”
He said to them,
“One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus said to them,
“All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him,
“Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be.”
Then Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times.”
But he vehemently replied,
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And they all spoke similarly.
Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I pray.”
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch.”
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will.”
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand.”
Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying,
“The man I shall kiss is the one;
arrest him and lead him away securely.”
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
“Rabbi.” And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me;
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.”
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.
They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
alleging, “We heard him say,
‘I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.'”
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, “Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
“Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?”
Then Jesus answered, “I am;
and ‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.'”
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
“hat further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?”
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!”
And the guards greeted him with blows.
While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest’s maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
“You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
But he denied it saying,
“I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.”
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
“This man is one of them.”
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
“Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.”
He began to curse and to swear,
“I do not know this man about whom you are talking.”
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
“Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”
He broke down and wept.
As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!”
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.
They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.
At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
Here all kneel and pause for a short time.
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.
A couple days ago Curtis sent me an email asking a question, And that was “Predestination – fact or fiction?” Which I wrote him a reply. That reply sent me back to the books. This book specifically.
I believe that God is up there in heaven. And that we are down here. God created them, man and woman and said that that was good. Man and woman have free will to make choices and decisions. God may have ordained the universe and he put us all here for a reason. To learn knowledge and to learn how to love unconditionally and in the end, how to go to our deaths with some modicum of dignity.
I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the thought that God ordained everything in my life to happen the way it did and that he had everything and nothing to do with my current state of life. Did God create illness and suffering and are we just living the lot that God gave us? And if God had the control to create specific instances in our lives then he has the power to change those aspects of life that need to be changed. If God is ultimately in control, and he has a chess board up there and he is playing a great big game with us as pawns then what good is religion?
I’ve never ascribed to the belief that God has caused so many to suffer with illness, disease and Dis-ease. There is such suffering in the world that I cannot even begin to imagine that God has predestined all of this to go like it has. I don’t have all the answers to questions like this, but I can ask them of myself because I have a religious belief and I have a form of cosmology in my head.
I have studied Eastern traditions in my religious studies and they have different ways of seeing cosmology. Pantheistic religions have a broader view of cosmology than monotheistic religions. Then there is other literature that we can read. Like “Many lives and Many Masters.” or even the books by Kryon, the parables and the spirit books which I read so many of when I was first diagnosed because I needed to know how to die and I also wanted to know what was on the other side. I had my near death experience and they sent me back. And a wise man came to me and told me that I should ask my questions about the universe while I was still alive and not wait until I was dead. What good would answers be once we are dead…
The first time I read Many lives Many Masters it was a few years ago and I was at my in laws for the holidays, that was the first time that I had an astral projection occurrence. Then what followed was several snapping the tether dreams here at home. I have always paid attention to my dreams and I have cataloged them here under the pen name Jerome in the pages.
But I will tell you that I believe in reincarnation and that we have been here before. I myself have never been hypnotized and regressed but I have an affinity of certain times in history – I have quite the fancy for anything Egypt. That was really clear when the Egypt exhibit came to Montreal some years ago. I went to see the exhibit three or four times just to walk through the hall was a journey into the past.
So after talking to Curtis, I reread the text about past lives and reincarnation. And I have another book called The Journey Home a Kryon Parable that I quite like. They are both on my bedside table. I read them now and then. Because they are teaching books. If I have been here before, then I need to know why I am here now. And what debts need to be paid and to whom they need to be paid, and also what specific lessons am I supposed to learn while I am in this current physical incarnation.
If I was here before, and I died and I crossed over to the planes and was given my next incarnation with certain things I needed to do now, and also from Kryon it is said that we contract each incarnation with certain people in each incarnation. It is written that groups of people incarnate together over many lifetimes. That for some of us, certain people in our lives are only supposed to be in our lives for a specific period of time. And that when people come and go from our lives that it was supposed to be that way. And this is a present lesson that I am living through again right now. Why do people come and go from my life like they do, and this is the reminder why.
So now I have to look back over the recent past and ask some serious questions about what has happened and where the lessons are in everything I have done in the recent past. I am reflecting on this because I am writing my final synthesis paper for applied human sciences and I had to write about something from my life that recently occurred. And the writing flowed from somewhere within me. I just felt that the answer was coming so I sat and wrote out an entire section of my paper in one clean sweep.
I guess I go through these stages of reflection and growth every few months because my life is anything but boring and things are happening here and there all the time, and I feel like they have cosmic weight in this earthly incarnation. It goes without saying that this life was ordained by someone and that I have lived this life as it went. I made some rash decisions which I am paying for now. Yet I am still alive, so in my Christian cosmology, God isn’t done with me yet. This is a common expression that people who suffer from illnesses can hold on to, if we are still here and there is air in our lungs, then God is not done with us yet. There are still things to do and lessons to be learned, debts to pay and lessons to pass on to others on the path.
Lent is almost over… the 40 days of preparation and cleansing for Holy Week and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most holy time of the religious calendar. Did you carry only what you needed? Did you share your water and bread with other pilgrims on the road? Did you take the easy way through Lent? Or did you work to better yourself and maybe learn something about yourself over these past 40 days and nights? Will you be ready for the resurrection? Will you go to the tomb to find him on that third morning? And who will be with you and what will the angels tell you….
“He is not here he has risen from the dead….”
If there is something that I still need to learn then I am willing to walk a few more steps – if there is a debt to be paid – I need to know to whom I owe that debt. If there are things that were left undone in a past life and I carried those things over into this life, I need to know what those things are. It is said that we are to gain knowledge to become more like God. Which means we must master the seven virtues, and we must also get rid of the seven deadly sins from our lives. We must become more like God in all that we do and say.
Faith without works is dead, it is far to easy to speak the right words – if there is no right action behind them, they are just hollow words with no meaning. So what are you doing with your life? Are you just coasting through on easy street or are you on your personal journey? Do you know what you are doing here? Have you asked the questions you need to ask of yourself ? What is God calling you to do? What has been left undone. What debts do you need to pay and to whom do you need to pay them to? And what lessons have you yet to learn?
If we were here before, and we are here now, there are things still to do. If we are alive then we have a job to do, lessons to learn and we need to meet those people on the path we are supposed to or destined to meet and we are supposed to pass that knowledge on to them. You never know when you will be entertaining an angel and pay close attention because one day the Masters will appear and then you will know what you need to know…
It is simple – we come into this life, and after all is said and done, we must have the ability to be ready to die. Living with no regrets and no misgivings, living life to its fullest, drinking in every experience. Approaching every person on our path with wonder because maybe they have something to pass on to us. Are you paying attention to the signs and the little things???
Sometimes it isn’t the BIG lessons we need to learn about, for many it is the little ones that have the biggest impact on our lives…
See you all soon. More to come…
Jesus Predicts His Death: Jn 12:20-33
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
We get to see in John today the High Christology. Jesus is foretelling the death he will suffer to those around him. There are several things we can take from this Gospel. John is the most different from the other Gospels. Just reading the Gospel for reading sake is not enough. One has to engage the text for every word is a piece of information [in the Greek] texts.
The voice from heaven stating that “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again” In John everything happens at the cross. The cross is the signifying piece in the Gospel of John. The High Christology of John becomes apparent. Where the Son of Man meets the Son of God. Because for a Jew death on a cross is abhorrent, so the two Christologies come together and the Son of God is there to make good Jesus’ death on the cross.
“Now the prince of this world will be driven out.” this would be satan. “But I, when I am lifted up [ On the Cross ] from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” There is such a wealth of information to be gleaned from this Gospel when read at close hand. With the death of Lazarus, and Jesus raising him from the dead, Jesus seals his own fate. This was the final straw that drove the people to find a way to kill Jesus. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus will be Glorified in his resurrection. [Jn. 12:32-33].
Everything happens at the cross. The Son of Man will die and the Son of God will be Lifted Up. Jesus the Son of man will be lifted up, the death of Jesus with his elevation is Glorification encapsulated in the crucifixion scene. It is a Realized Eschatology – at the Cross.
Moving to the 19th Chapter of John [ 19:30] Jesus gives up his spirit at the cross – the Spirit was given. The meaning – the Salvation of the world.
Everything in John revolves around the person / identity of Jesus. Sin in John is “not believing in the person of Jesus.” John 20:30-31 believing “Jesus is the Son of God” The initial faith one has subjunctive case [in the Greek] faith is something that you continually do, continually believe.
At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
The Calling of the First Disciples
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
As Jesus grew into his manhood, he was aware of the miraculous. From a very young childhood he was able to do miracles and his mother Mary knew of these things and in time she shared with him the secret of his birth.In the stories of Jesus’ young adult life we get hints at what may have been. That’s if you read side literature.
The Baptism of Jesus
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
After Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan by his cousin John, he left the Jordan and fled into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. There satan tempted him with many things.
Matthew 4:1-11 – The Temptation of Jesus
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
” ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
It was here in the desert that Jesus communed with his Father and he learned many things about God and his calling as Christ. This was the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. The scriptures go on from this point and Jesus calls his disciples. Jesus’ ministry took him back to Galilee and Capernaum. He healed the sick. These passages lead us up to the beatitudes which Jesus taught high up on a mountain.
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
My yearly Lenten Reflection 40 days and 40 nights. Join us.
I was gonna wait to post this, but the spirit is moving me today, So here is one of my favorite pieces of writing. I wrote in a few years ago, and I repost it every year at the beginning of Lent. And since I don’t have anything fresh to offer you – you can read this and prepare for your journey … Enjoy..
And so it begins, the walk through the desert. God is moving tonight, I can feel it in my bones deep within my soul. I am in Preacher mode and the message is loud and clear…Write and share the journey. There are several new bloggers on this list now, Christians I know for sure. Here is my Lenten exercise of the journey, it is called “Will you walk with me a step or two.”
One day the Lord spoke to them and they started walking through the desert. Men, women, children the elderly and the herds and flocks. Where they were going was not known, but it was apparent that they were going to get somewhere. If only they walked a step or two.
A young man spoke up and said “I will walk ahead of the tribes, I will lead them as the Lord leads me.” And the Lord asked the young boy, “are you ready to walk for the glory of God,” why “Yes,” the boy answered. So be it the Lord said, “now lead them, but take only that which you need and nothing more.” I will walk with You Lord, he said without a second thought.
The Lord said that the way will not be smooth and there are things you will see on the way that will test your faith, yet I the Lord will make the way straight and the path smooth, if you have faith in Me and the Glory of God the father. Yes, I have faith, the boy replied, so walk my son.
A few days into the journey the boy came across a woman with ragged hair and little clothing. She was elderly and needed some water. The boy was only carrying what he had, and he gave drink to the woman and quenched her thirst. She said to him, that she was lonely and afraid of the road, and the boy replied, woman, have no fear, for I will walk with you until nightfall and we will camp under the canopy of heaven. That day they walked together and the woman was grateful for the company and the water.
That night, they made camp, the tribes of the Lord.
The Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and water flowed. They all drew water from a spring that appeared and everyones thirst was satiated. And the animals were watered as well. Food was passed from group to group until every last one was fed. That night they sang the song of the Lord until everyone was sent to a sleep protected by the Lord himself.
The very next morning, rested and fed, the tribes packed up their wares and started the journey as they did the day prior. The sun hung low in the sky, and by high noon, sweat was pouring off the brows of the people. The young boy made his way in front of the pack, leading them as he was guided by the spirit of the lord. Soon after noon the boy came across an elderly man who was being carried by two men, visibly shaken and tired.
The boy looked up to the sky and said, what can I do Lord?
The answer came and the boy took the arm of the litter and helped carry the man for the rest of the day, until darkness fell and camp was set up for the night. Once again, the Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and from the rock a spring came up from the earth once again, the people and the animals were watered. The tables were set and the people were fed to their fill. Once again, they praised the God of Abraham and in the coolness of the night they slept under the canopy of the heavens.
On the third day they awoke to a cloudy day, grateful for the relief from the sun, they gathered up their wares and began to walk once again. Today the young man was tired. He had been leading this lot for days now, and yet the lord said, Keep walking. So he did.
On this day he came upon a young person drawn from travel, covered in dust from the desert. Visibly the boy had not eaten in days and was close to death.
The young man stopped and knelt down next to him and shared his water and some bread from his pack. He lifted the boy into his arms and carried him for the rest of the day. Hours passed and the boy was filled with faith and strength as he carried his charge on his back. That night at camp, the young boy gathered some bedding and laid his friend in a cool soft place.
That night the Angel of the Lord appeared and once again, struck the rock and water flowed. He bathed the young man whom he had carried all day, then they broke bread and shared living water from the earth. Miracle, you ask, quite possibly so.
That night all were fed and after the plates were cleared and all had been fed, they gathered before the fires and praised the God of Abraham. They rested beneath the canopy of heaven.
For 38 days and 38 nights, the boy walked with his people, helping each soul he encountered to the best of his ability as God had commanded him to do.
On the 39th day they awoke. The angel of the Lord was there at first light and he told them, the journey was almost over, walk on as the Lord commands.
That day was no different. On that day the young boy would meet his final “person.” She was laden with child, and was walking alone carrying everything that she needed. No man walked by her side, no assistance came to her. She was visibly close to giving birth, and the Boy took her hand
As night fell, the boy gathered the women together and they prepared the woman for birth. A call went out to the men and they gathered together some wood for someplace to keep the child. As was foretold, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them once again, and struck the rock and as happened each night before, water flowed.
That night the stars shone brightly, the heavens were alight with song. Something was about to happen. For after the meal, the woman called for the boy and he appeared by her side. The time had come and she wanted to share the birth of the child with him, for he walked with her a step or two. That night under the canopy of heaven a child was born and she asked the boy his name.
He answered, “My name is David.” She smiled at her son, and spoke to the heavens, May God in heaven be blessed and may he bless my son David, born this night. The heavens replied with a thousand shooting stars… What a glorious vision the host of angels come down from heaven to sing to David, the newest member of the tribes of Abraham. That night they rested and slept in peace.
On the 40th day the young boy awoke, there standing before him were 40 men, women and children. All of those whom David had walked with through the desert. At that moment an Elder man spoke to David and said follow me, there is someone who would like to see you David, HE has asked for you by name.
The people before him parted and through them David walked until he reached a hill that was green with foliage and there a spring bubbled up. “Take off your sandals David” a voice spoke to him. David did not skip a beat. As David looked up from undoing his shoes, There the Master sat on the rock before him.
David’s eye welled up with tears, he had done exactly as he was instructed, as the Lord had told him. He had led his people through the desert helping each soul he met on his path. The Master knew what was in his heart and soul. David was without words. The Master got up from where He sat and approached David and wrapped his arms around him, and said……..
“Well done good and faithful servant. In YOU I am well pleased.”
What for? David said, all I did was what you asked of me while I walked. And the Master replied, “you know David, each time you helped one of these souls on your journey, you helped ME.” “What the least of these you have done for my brothers and sisters you have done for me.”
The Master reached down into the pool of water and blessing the water he blessed and baptized David the Boy, and then David the infant. And for a moment the heavens opened up and God’s voice was heard, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
And from the sky a beam of light shone forth into the desert and the sands were parted and there in the swirl of dust a city appeared. It is there that the people made their homes. The journey had ended. And a placed blessed by God was theirs to live in.
So will you walk with me a step or two. The journey is long and the road may be rough, but as the Lord says “I will make the path straight and your burden will be light.” Take only that which you need. And if you meet someone of the road, stop and ask your questions, share your water and food, for you never know when the Master will reveal himself to you.
Are you ready to start walking !!!