On Good Friday we remember that at the cross Jesus wipes away our sins, becoming a global magnet that draws the whole world to Himself. Good Friday also reminds me that embracing endings (deaths) and new beginnings (resurrections) is the pattern of life for every Christian. Nothing new takes place without an ending. A real ending—a final death—often feels like disintegration, falling apart, a coming undone. It feels that way because that is what death is. It is an ending that requires walking through a completely dark tunnel, not knowing when or if any light will come again. If we embrace these losses for the severe mercies they are, God does a profound work in us and through us in ways that are similar to what the apostle Paul describes as “death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Cor. 4:12). As a person who tends to resist. Read more.
We have not done a good job of remembering Good Friday or Holy Saturday in the Western church. We like to quickly jump to Easter. Tonight at New Life Fellowship Church, on Good Friday, we will remember Christ’s crucifixion through a Tenebrae (meaning “darkness” or “shadows”) style service. The service of Tenebrae has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s passion, using Scripture, silence, worship, and darkness. As lights are progressively extinguished, we enter into the overwhelming reality of His death. After the final candle is extinguished, we will sit in total darkness for 5 minutes, reminding us of the terrible horror of Jesus laid in the tomb. Why? The cross is the pattern of our lives. Everything happened to Jesus in some way happens to us. That includes the tomb. On the first Holy Saturday, the 11 disciples were at a Wall (See Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, chapter. Read more.
Why pause for Ash Wednesday, the gateway to Lent which climaxes in Good Friday and Easter 40 days from today? The following are three simple reasons: 1. Encountering God. Abram once entered the deep, terrifying darkness and encountered God there (Gen. 15). Moses wasn’t looking for a burning bush on the day he was summoned (Ex. 3). Jacob was trying to sleep when he wound up headlocked by an angel (Gen. 32). Ash Wednesday is positioning ourselves for such an encounter. 2. Rhythm. In our 24-7, non-stop world, God invites us to a rhythm – in our days (Offices), weeks (Sabbaths), and years (the church calendar). Unlike the world which centers its calendar to the school year or vacations, we anchor our lives in the Incarnation (Christmas) and the Resurrection (Easter). 3. Mortality. This day reminds us of that we created, limited beings. “Dust you are and to dust you shall return.” We. Read more.
Over time I have become more convinced, not less, of the application of the radical simplicity of the Desert Fathers of the 3rd t0 5th centuries. They fled to the desert in order to seek God and eventually serve as a life raft for a church that had become almost indistingishable from the world. The church in the West is in a very similar state. The answer begins with us as pastors and leaders of God’s flock, I believe. As Tolstoy once said, “Everybody wants to change the world, but noone thinks of changing himself.” I think he was right. There is only one pathway – the pathway of Jesus. Ronald Rolheiser in The Holy Longing outlines this as the only way to profound transformation. We repeat it over and over again in our walks with Christ. 1. Name your deaths (Good Friday) 2. Claim your births (Easter) 3. Grieve for what you have lost and adjust to the. Read more.