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Category Archives: Lent

“Nana, look, there’s blood on Jesus.”

 

Max with cross 2

A crucifix (from Latin cruci fixus meaning “(one) fixed to a cross”) is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself attached to the cross is referred to in English as the corpus (Latin for “body”) — Wikipedia

Several years ago, a friend made a ceramic crucifix for us. The crucifix depicts an image of Jesus bleeding from his side, while dying on the cross.  Since that time, I set the crucifix out in our home during the Lenten season.  It serves as a visual reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for me, our family, and for the entire world. Jesus suffered and died a horrible death, so that we could be reconciled into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

This year, I placed the crucifix on our kitchen hutch. I thought to myself, “This will be a good location for it, so the grandchildren won’t knock it over and break it, yet still at eye level so they can easily see it, from a distance.”

The first week passed and nobody noticed it, or at least they didn’t mention it. A week later, our four-year-old grandson, Max, pointed to the crucifix and said somberly, “Nana, look, there’s blood on Jesus.” We walked toward the crucifix, and I said, “Yes, isn’t this sad?” We then dialogued about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

max 1The following week Max asked his mother to come and see Jesus on the cross.  As they walked over to the hutch Max said, “Look mom, Jesus is bleeding. He died on the cross.” There was a slight pause,–then the most beautiful declaration of “He is risen!” resounded from my precious grandson’s mouth: “But Jesus isn’t dead anymore!” My heart began to melt as Max realized the Easter message with such an exuberant simplistic faith.

I have to believe that this special encounter between our Savior and Max put a big smile on the face of God.

Each Easter my heart is full of thankfulness and gratitude to our LORD, who loved me, our family, and the entire world, enough to reconcile me (a sinner), to the One True God, through His (Jesus’) death and resurrection.

I encourage parents to display Christian symbols, especially the cross/crucifix, pictures, and other home décor inscribed with Scripture, around their homes. This is a simple, yet very effective way to share the love for Jesus with family and guests.

The Saturday before Easter morning, I will remove the crucifix and replace it with an empty cross or an empty tomb. Just like Max said, “Jesus isn’t dead anymore!”

The cross of Jesus Christ symbolizes the epitome of love and self-sacrifice. “Greater love has no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice of love that reconciles us to God. Crosses and crucifixes are powerful visual reminders of God’s love and serve as a witness of hope to the world.

I invite my blog friends to reflect upon God’s love while reading through the following Scripture and notations.

Peace and Hope (Romans 5: 1-11)

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

The Crucifixion (Notation of Mark 15:15b-32) – From Bible Gateway:

The brevity of Mark’s report is striking. Jesus chose to endure death fully conscious rather than drink the sedative offered him (see Pr 31:6). The division of his garments (see Ps 22:18) underscores the humiliation of the Crucified One. The notice affixed to the cross, the taunts of the passersby, and the mockery of the chief priests and teachers of the law are all ironic. They communicate a fundamental truth that would not have been lost to the Christians of Mark’s day: In the suffering and weakness of the Cross, God’s power is manifest.

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).

 The Crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:21-32)

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.

27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28] [a] 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-39)

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

 Jesus Has Risen! (Mark 16:1-6)

16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.

Romans 6:9-11

9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

May the remembrance and affirmation of Christ’s death and resurrection bless you and your family this Easter.

He is risen!

All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise stated.

 

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40 Days Introspection

40 DaysMy 10 year-old granddaughter, Ella, reminded me yesterday that my mind is possibly becoming “mush!”  While discussing ways our family could observe the Lenten season, my daughter, Ella’s aunt, asked me about the meaning behind the 40 days of Lent. After stumbling through a couple of my own thoughts, Ella, in her sweet humility said, “You know, it’s about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness for 40 days.” Of course, I knew that, but why the brain freeze at that moment.  Could it be the emphasis of Lent is not where it should be?

I’d like to believe that I will set aside the 40 days leading up to Good Friday, as a time of personal introspection. I’d thought about the common “self-denial” that is often recognized as something we give up (or deny ourselves from), but then, this doesn’t quite appeal to me this year. Would I really draw nearer to Christ if I gave up eating sweets for 40 days, or if I fasted from social media? Possibly, but I’m really needing to give up more than those things that enter my body internally.

God drew me to the book, Holey, Wholly, Holy, A Lenten journey of refinement. My husband read this book last year and I noticed it lying with all our other seasonal reading materials. After reading only the notes from the author, Kris Camealy, the introduction, and some of the chapter titles: You Can’t Hurry the Holy, Self-Examination (Holey), There’s No shortcut to Holiness, I knew I’d found the right Lenten resource for my 40 day journey.

Although my present personal struggle has permeated my mind over the past several months, it is my desire to use this Lenten season to hear the voice of my Savior as I intentionally quiet myself before Him. Too often, the noises around me are so loud that I can’t hear His loving and authoritative voice.

I like the prayer that Kris has written in the front of her book. 

Father God, you are most perfect and Holy. We cannot fathom the depths of your love that sent your own Son through the horror and suffering of the crucifixion, in place of lowly sinners such as us. Lord as we search for our place alongside you this Lenten season, I ask that you would mercifully lead us (me) into your will, that you would draw us (me) ever closer to your heart, through your gentle humbling. Make us willing, Father, help us (me) to receive your grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

To receive a copy of Holey, Wholly, Holy, A Lenten journey of refinement and learn more about the author:  http://kriscamealy.com/ebook/

Activities for LentIn our family sharing of ideas for the Lenten season, I came across these ideas from a fellow blogger. I especially like the White Flowers & Red Food Dye.

http://ihavenogreaterjoy.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/a-fun-kick-off-for-lent-and-more-easter-activities/

 

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Lent, Easter, and Families

The season of Lent will begin two weeks from today, on Ash Wednesday. This is a notable time for Christians–to bow their hearts before God, with true humility, repentance of sins, and a determined desire to seek God’s presence without ceasing. It is also a time to eagerly anticipate Easter Sunday, as Christians around the world celebrate our resurrected Lord. How are we doing, Christians?  For me perslentcross.jpg (10912 bytes)onally, I desire to spend this time (40 weekdays and 6 Sundays) by intentionally surrendering my time, talents, and thoughts to Jesus. You say, “Shouldn’t this be the norm 365 days a year?” Of course, but as we study the life of Jesus, there were “special” times set aside to pray and prepare one’s heart. Jesus knew the importance of reading and teaching God’s Word in the temple (Luke 2:41-49). And there were many times when Jesus reminded his disciples to pray without ceasing (Luke 18:1-8). One of the most touching examples of Christ’s humility, with exception of the Cross, is when he “wrapped a towel around his waist…and began to wash his disciples’ feet” (John 13:1-20). Jesus not only demonstrated a servant’s role through foot-washing, but he also illustrated the Father’s forgiveness towards others (see also Matt. 5:23-24; Eph. 4:32). There are so many other instances in Scripture where Jesus intentionally set aside specific times to show His genuine love and obedience to His Heavenly Father. The significant ones I’ve listed are just an inkling into what I believe God wants us to emulate.

Families, take some time during Lent to intentionally follow the example of Jesus. Set aside some”special” time to bow your hearts before God, in true humility, repentance, and with a desire to fully seek God’s presence.

There are endless ideas on the internet to help families prepare their hearts for Easter.  Here’s a couple that you may find helpful. The most important way, however, is to spend time together as a family, reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week. I’ve included a link to the Christian Resource Institute (CRI), where you can read more on the Season of Lent.

http://www.crivoice.org/cylent.html

Shop FamilyLife – Messiah Mystery™ Lent Kit.

DIY Mini Resurrection Garden — We are THAT Family

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 11: 50 am - in Christian Family Traditions, Easter, Faith At Home, Lent

 

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