Holy Week Devotions – Wednesday, April 8, 2020

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. (Luke 19:23-25)

As the soldiers stripped Jesus of his garments, the soldiers believe they have also stripped him of his status, his worth, and his beauty. They did not realize we are all made in the image of God and our beauty and worth is not as removable as our garments. As Jesus said in Matthew 6: 28-29, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

Today’s Activity: Consider the flowers in your yard, on your walk, in your planter boxes and take a moment to look at, smell and touch each, remembering that we are more than our looks, our clothing and our outward appearance. That we are created as amazing and unique as these flowers. Post an image of the flowers you see.

Holy Week Devotions – Tuesday, April 7, 2020

“Light One Candle” is a Hannukah song made famous by folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary first recorded in 1986. As I was thinking about how we can pray for those who’ve been affected by the pandemic, my list grew and grew: doctors, nurses, medical personnel, those who’ve died and their families, those who have tested positive and are fighting the virus, those who are sick and awaiting results, those whose lives have been disrupted….. that’s all of us! We all need prayers for help and healing; we all need prayers for strength and comfort. How do we pray for everyone that needs help?

Then I remembered the power of light in the darkness, about how one bit of light can change the darkness and I remembered all those times in history when the darkness threatened to overcome us. And the words we remember at Advent, from John 1: 5,  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Today’s activity: Light a candle for the people you are praying for today . Light a candle for the struggles of those in need in the world. Light a candle for those who live in poverty and “hot spots”, for those struggling to stay alive and remain hopeful. Light a candle for the world. Take a photo of your prayer candle and post the photo. so that we can all share the light together. Don’t let the light go out!

Holy Week Devotions – Monday, April 6, 2020

In 1873, Horatio Spafford, an American lawyer, wrote the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.” It was written after a hard two years in Horatio’s life: His only son died in 1871 at the age of four from scarlet fever. Then, his financial life was ruined when his property was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him a telegram that read, “Saved alone.” Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.

In the face of grief, in the face of tragedy, we have a choice: we can choose sorrow, despair, and the unending undertow of fear and anger. OR we can see the strength, endurance, courage and faith that is ever-present, as is God. We can choose to look at our life and see that whether in times of peace or in times of sorrow, God is with us. That it all times of life – even in the face of death and destruction – God is with us to comfort us, to give us hope, to guide us from hatred into action. And until then, we wait. As Psalm 130: 5-9 instructs us:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Activtiy: Post a photo or a text that brings you peace during this difficult time. What or who reassures you of the hope that all will be okay? What keeps you grounded when “sorrows like sea billows roll?”

An Offer of Help

Hello Friends,

As this season continues, it is vital for us to know we are not alone. Several of our members have offered to help with errand, rides to doctors appointments, grocery stores, etc. If you need groceries, errands done or a ride, please contact us at office@walnutumc.org!

For those in need of a prayer,
This is a prayer from one of my favorite authors, Nadia Bolz-Weber:

God who made us all,
Our healers are exhausted, God. Give rest to those who care for the sick.
Our children are bored, God. Grant extra creativity to their caregivers.
Our friends are lonely, God. Help us to reach out.
Our pastors are doing the best they can, God. Help them to know it is enough.
Our workers are jobless, God. Grant us the collective will to take care of them.
Our fellow parents are losing their minds, God. Bring unexpected play and joy and dance parties to all in need.
Our grocery workers are absorbing everyones’s anxiety, God. Protect them from us.
Our elderly are even more isolated God. Comfort them.
We haven’t done this before and we are scared, God.
I don’t even know what else to pray for.

May God be with you,
Pastor Krista