This Maundy Thursday is like none other that we have observed. Rather than gathering to pray and reflect together in the church, remembering Jesus last supper with his disciples, we will be in our homes, with family or alone, recalling the night when Jesus gathered in an upper room with his friends.
You may download here some simple prayers to accompany your meal on Thursday that you may know Jesus in the breaking of bread together, through the scriptures and in your prayers. I have included a simple bannock recipe as well to share as part of your meal (it will pair well with your favourite wine or juice). I encourage you to wash the hands or feet of one another in your house, remembering Jesus call to loving service of one another. If you are alone, as you wash your hands remember those who are with you in spirit and praying for you and know also that we wash our hands so much in the midst of this pandemic, not in fear, but in love and care for those most vulnerable to the spread of the virus.
It is a holy night, when we join with Jesus in his prayers in the garden, awaiting the sorrow of his betrayal and death and trusting in the will and work of God. You may want to read in prayer Matthew 26-27
For the children of our community, this video expresses well the journey of holy week so far.
Rev. Joyce has offered this reflection on the 5th word. I hope you can join us Wednesday April 1st at 7pm by zoom meeting to discuss this scripture. https://us04web.zoom.us/j/665617995
Crucifixion was one of the most painful forms of capital punishment.Thomas Davis, a medical doctor, has studied what effect crucifixion has on the body. Here is what he says:”As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralysed, and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs, and the bloodstream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen…Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then, another agony begins. A deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over—the loss of tissue fluid has reached a critical level—the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. (“The Crucifixion of Jesus: The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View” Arizona Medicine, Vol. 22, March 1965, 183-187)
It is easy to see then why Jesus was thirsty. Psalm 22 seems to be a full description of the Crucifixion even though crucifixion had not yet been invented. Vs. 15 says “My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.” John mentions that someone tried to help Jesus by lifting a sponge filled with wine vinegar to his lips on a branch hyssop. Beside the act of kindness we are reminded that the Lamb of God is being sacrificed in the same manner as the Passover Lamb. The blood that was painted on the lintel and door frame of Hebrew homes so that the Angel of Death would pass by their homes was done using a branch of hyssop. (Exodus 12) So Jesus becomes the final Passover Lamb as he passes over from Death to Life and accomplishes our Salvation.
The question that becomes important for me is “Do I thirst for Christ and give my life fully for his use and glory?” Perhaps as we contemplate the pain he experienced for our sins we can make a new and deeper commitment to our Lord and Saviour.
Yesterday I gave blood (which I haven’t done in years) as a very tangible and safe way for me to help during this pandemic.
I was happy to meet 3 first time donors who all said they were there as a way to get out of the house and do some good while staying committed to helping flatten the curve and care for the vulnerable through “social distancing”.
I highly recommend giving blood as a social good and social outing while social distancing. It saves lives, it is needed now as much as ever and it will feel good to have a cookie and a chat.
Today is the Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the day we remember the angels visit to Mary and her humble acceptance of God’s call to be the mother of Jesus. (Meaning it is 9 months until we celebrate, Jesus’ birthday.)
In Lebanon this day, since 2010, has been a declared an Islamic and Christian celebration and a time when people of these two different faith traditions celebrate together that which binds them in faith and humanity. Below is the prayer written for this day, amid the pandemic, for Christians and Muslims to pray together for the work of God in our lives and in our world.
God, our Lord, Lord of all creation and of humanity in its entirety
You who have chosen Mary and elected her among all women
Sending her the angel Gabriel to announce to her the good news
That we celebrate together Christians and Muslims
Our Lord, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the One who loves all of humankind
You who have given us the blessing of life, save us from the danger of this pandemic
O Lord, make of the Virgin Mary a model for us in our lives
May her example motivate us to hold on to our unity in the face of hardships and challenges
And to have confidence in Your Providence instead of giving in to fear or pride
So that we may, like her, show solidarity and serve others in all gratuity
Our Lord, You are the All Hearing, the One who supports
Assist the paramedics, the nurses, and the doctors
Heal the sick and Console the grieving
Give those who are in need their sustenance and their needs
We implore Your assistance
to remain dedicated to You
and faithful to each other