Spiritual Assignments Easter Week

Spiritual Assignments for the week leading to Easter

April 8, 2020 

THIS WEEK’S SPIRITUAL HOMEWORK…AND A PRAYER MEETING 

Hello, church!  

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. Shout-out to those of you who wrote back with practical ideas for living out jubilee! Many of you wrote back with great suggestions like prayer walks, cleaning up litter, and ways to mend broken relationships. I’m so thankful for all of you and your creativity.  

With Easter just around the corner, this week’s homework will look a little different. I would like to encourage all of us to take the opportunity to walk day by day with Jesus to the cross. As such, some of the “homework” below is arranged by days of the week. And while I’m on the topic of Easter, I would ask that you try to keep as many of your Easter traditions as possible, both for the psychological value of keeping routines and also for the purpose of remembering the importance of Easter in general. Dress up for worship on Sunday, egg hunt, have a nice meal, perhaps you even celebrate Passover. Whatever Easter normally is to you and your family, let’s make sure to keep it that way, especially this year. 

Below you’ll also see announcement of a Good Friday Prayer Meeting we’re hosting via Zoom. I hope you’ll join us for that. 

I’ve also included a few new resources as usual, and Linda’s resources for our kids is also listed below. She has put together a lot of useful materials that we think your kids and you will love, so check it out below. 

Peace, 

Chess 
 

Good Friday Prayer Meeting 

Amid rising infection rates and deaths from COVID-19, this is likely to be a particularly hard week for many of us. Among our congregants, several have been touched by the virus, either directly or indirectly, and are gravely concerned about themselves or a family member or a friend. Some of our number are not able to work and are anxious about finances. Others of us may be healthy but feeling the weight of isolation are just heartsick about what we’re all enduring right now. Seems to me that prayer is a good and helpful response in this circumstance.  

That’s why we’ve planned a prayer meeting for this Friday evening at 7:30pm. It’s an opportunity for you to bring your requests, to share what’s on your heart with God, and for us all to pray together for God’s grace in this crisis. As we do with Sunday virtual worship groups, we’ll use Zoom for the prayer meeting, but you can also call in by phone if you don’t wish to connect on your computer. Details are below. Please join us.  

Time: Apr 10, 2020 07:30 PM EDST 

Join Zoom Meeting: Request Connection Information; Congregants can find that information here

 

This week’s Memory Verse:  

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 
2 Corinthians 5:21 

Perhaps one of the most succinct and theologically rich summarizations of the cross, this verse has always inspired me personally. Not only does this verse describe the physical events of the cross, it also explains the motivation behind the event, namely, that we might become the righteousness of God. It has been said similarly by many throughout history as, “God became human so that humans might become God.” The implication is not that we actually become God, rather, that just as God became like us, through the cross we might become like God. It is the unity and oneness that Jesus prayed for in John 17. 

Thursday (4/9): Texts: John 13:1-30, Matt 26:17-30 

The Thursday before Easter goes by many names, but typically is called Maundy Thursday. On this particular day, Jesus partook of the Passover with the disciples and washed their feet. I would encourage you to join in these actions with one another. Take communion with your family or small group, or even by yourself – knowing that you take it as a reminder of the biblical event. Consider celebrating Passover, not as a command, but as a way to immerse yourself in the last supper. Here is a link to a complete Passover seder, a step-by-step guide through the meal, and if you don’t have all of the ingredients, just make do with what you have. Finally, consider washing the feet of those at home with you as a reminder of the humility exhibited by Jesus and the teaching of the first being last and the last being first. Walk through the events of the day, focusing on the humility, sacrifice, and uncertainty that would have been in the room all those years ago. 

Friday (4/10): Text: Matt 27:1-61 

On Friday, typically called Good Friday, I ask that you consider reading through this story as close to three in the afternoon as possible, but if not at three than at any point on Friday. As you read, notice the emotions of the different people in the story. Read yourself into their shoes asking yourself how they would feel, what they would see, how they interpreted the events of the day. Also, try to read the story of the crucifixion without thinking ahead to Easter. Allow the reality of the death of Jesus to become the focal point of your devotional time and give yourself the space to grieve such a horrific event. 

Saturday (4/11): As the disciples gathered together in secret, hiding for their lives in the wake of the death of Jesus, it has become tradition for some Christians to spend Saturday evening in silent watchfulness. Consider staying away the whole night in silent prayer, waiting for the sun to rise and bring with it the news of resurrection, but if the whole night is asking too much or you are not able, try to find some time on Saturday to spend in silent reflection on the death of Jesus and the hope of resurrection. Alternatively, consider waking up before the sunrise and using that time of waiting in silent prayer. 

Book Recommendation: I have mentioned this to some of you before, but for those of you who I haven’t pushed this book onto yet, I ask you to consider reading The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen. The author is a unique and wonderful man, whom I recommend you research on your own, and the book is a short read on the importance of solitude, silence, and prayer. As we are spending time in a forced isolation, this book is a timely read that can repurpose our isolation as a spiritual discipline. I cannot speak highly enough of or recommend a book as strongly as this one. 

 

Previous Links: Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

 

Activities for Children 

You’ll find three great Easter-oriented activities for the kids on the links below.  

One Response to “Spiritual Assignments Easter Week”

  1. Donnis D Crump says:

    Thanks, Chess

    I’m grieving for all the suffering from the pandemic
    But I am fine

    Prayers for the poor and the weak
    the sick and those who serve them

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