Do this in remembrance

blogIMG_0492It’s Maundy Thursday – a day of remembrance for those of us who are Christians.

Good Friday is but a day away.  And then we wait for the day spectacular.  The day of rejoicing.  Resurrection Day!  Easter Sunday – the day Jesus proved He is the way to victory over death.

But as we wait, we commemorate.  Tonight at church, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper.   As believers in Christ, we will gather together in our country church.  We will read Scripture and ponder those last days Jesus lived on earth in human form.

We will follow in His footsteps.  We will eat a meal together – we call it a Love Feast – just as He did with His disciples before He was arrested, tried, convicted, beaten, and crucified on a cross.

John 13:1:  “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.”

Today we will partake in Communion.  We will break specially prepared bread, handmade by our church deacons using a long-used recipe.  We will give thanks for it before we eat, just as our Savior did before he spoke these words recorded in Luke 22:19: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Then we will take the cup, again giving thanks in remembrance of what our Lord did for us on the cross when His blood poured forth to save our souls. In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”  ~ Luke 22:20

But there is something else we will do.  It may seem unusual to some, but it is an integral part of our faith as we remember the significance of this Holy Week, the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for human kind, and the love that overflowed from Him.

We will fill basins with water, gather towels, and kneel in front of other fellow believers in Christ and wash their feet.

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” ~ John 13:3-5

In Jesus’ day, prior to a communal meal, it was common to have your dirty, dusty feet washed before reclining at a low table to eat.  This job was relegated to a lowly servant. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate in love, humility, and servanthood by performing this act for His disciples.

And then He told them and us, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, not is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” ~ John 13:14-17

So why do we do wash the feet of another?  Not only do we do so to follow Jesus’ example, but also because even though as believers we have been washed clean of our sins when we come to Christ, we need cleansing from living in a sin-stained world.

Sanctification (cleansing) is performed by the power of the Holy Spirit through the “washing with water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26).   As followers of Jesus, we desire to emulate Him, serve others with humility in our hearts and minds, and build one another up in love.

It is then that we will be equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

On this best day of the year, I can’t think of a better way to spend it than serving my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by following the footsteps of Jesus.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Spectacular Sunday: He is risen!

I captured this photo a couple of years ago at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh one day when my husband and I visited there in need of a winter’s day respite.

Something about this sight intrigued me enough to warrant taking a picture.   In comparison to some of the other photos I snapped of exquisite plants and flowers that day, this one doesn’t seem that extraordinary.

But yet, each time I view these snapshots, I am drawn to this picture over and over again.   Finally, this week as I prayerfully considered Holy Week and what it means to believers in Jesus Christ like me, I realized why this photo attracts me with such intensity.

It reminds me of the picture in my mind of how I think the tomb appeared on that Resurrection morning.  The stone was gone.  The tomb was open.  And it was empty.  Our Savior defeated death and He arose!

 “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’  Then they remembered his words.” ~ Luke 24: 1-8

The tomb is empty.  My Savior paid the ultimate price for my sin and the sins of this world.   He arose from the grave victorious!  And so shall we.  Hallelujah!  He is risen, indeed!!

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Easter beauty

As I await the joyous sunrise of Resurrection Sunday, I remember when I was  a young girl anxious to celebrate Easter.  My mother and I always wore an Easter corsage to church, often a delicate orchid.

I took these photos of beautiful flowers at an orchid show a couple of years ago.  Each time I view these pictures, they remind me of Easter.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!” ~ Jesus Christ in Luke 12: 25-28

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Good Friday’s ultimate sacrifice

Luke 23:44-56

The Death of Jesus:

“It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’ When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.  But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus:

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,  who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”

Do this in remembrance

Every year during this very special week I find myself a little speechless.

Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter,  always leaves me at a loss for words.

To remember that my Savior entered Jerusalem triumphantly to the cheers of a crowd shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”  yet just a few days later, Jesus hung on a cross dying to jeers of the crowd simply astonishes me beyond words.

After observing the Passover meal with His disciples and trying to prepare them for what He knew was to come, Jesus established what believers in Christ call the Last Supper.  Then He prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus was betrayed, arrested, deserted and denied, tried and condemned to be crucified until death, beaten, scourged, and mocked.

To consider that He bore the sins of the entire world on His shoulders willingly, knowing the pain and agony He would bear and to realize He loved me (and you) enough to offer Himself as the sacrificial Lamb takes both my breath and my words away.

Last Saturday evening, the day before Palm Sunday, my husband and I worshiped the Risen Lamb with 14,000 other believers at a Casting Crowns concert in our nearby city.  What an incredible night.

What an amazing way to usher in this Holy Week, listening to and singing along with one of my favorite Christian performing groups.  Surrounded by a packed arena full of fellow Christians.  Again it rendered me speechless.

My own words seem so inadequate to express what my Savior did for us.  Often when words fail me, pictures and music suffice.  So as this Easter weekend unfolds, I’ll post music that is meaningful to me and captures the waves of emotion I feel.

And all because of this:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com