April 2021 Prayer To Go

SURRENDER

Take Lord, all my liberty.

Receive my memory, my understanding and my whole will.

Whatever I have and possess

you have given to me.

To you, I restore it wholly; and to your will

I utterly surrender it for your direction.

Give me the love of you only,

with your grace,

and I am rich enough;

nor do I ask for anything else.

St. Ignatius Loyola (1491 – 1556)

Dear Saints,

As we find ourselves both in shock that we are still in Covid madness as well in a second year of Holy week, apart, I want to share with you a video I can’t stop watching.  “TJ” has found himself on trial for something he KNOWS he has done but is shamelessly unrelenting in admitting he has done a bad thing. Even when his Father continues to pepper him with the same question,” Did you do this?!?!” while showing the evidence AND his sibling giving testimony to TJ’s naughty deed, TJ holds fast to his resolve. He emphatically, repeatedly denies that he had ANYTHING to do with the frosting missing or messed up on a number of cupcakes.  TJ’s father says, “Last chance, did you do this??” TJ again shakes his head and says, no! no! no! While the frosting is literally all over his face and hands.

He’s 2.

How is it that we learn at such a young age to be both so dastardly and already so skilled to vehemently deny our naughty behavior? It must go back to the fall in the Garden. But that’s not really a great excuse. We’ve had Millenia to curb (or even eradicate) those behaviors and yet they persist.  As if life depended on it. For TJ, the stakes are definitely higher than they are so for us. If TJ admits he’s snowplowed at least two or three cupcakes, in his world, a 15-minute time out will seem endless and he may feel that he will lose total agency/power forever, because he’s 2.

So, what’s our excuse? What keeps us from owning our childish behaviors and the inability to say “I was wrong” and, “I am sorry”?

Well, I’ll give you a clue. If we still think we are independent, living under our own steam, hoping no one sees our mistakes, and denying our failures, then we are not living as disciples nor trusting in God’s word of forgiveness or that the Resurrection is real. 

One way for the TJ in all of us to grow up and away from denying our bad behavior is to listen to TJ’s father’s response. You can view the video here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/peopleandplaces/two-year-old-child-covered-in-frosting-says-he-didn-t-eat-the-cupcakes/vi-BB1eQp6N.

Yes, it’s the laughter on the part of the Father that tells us we’re not so bad after all. That God is a God of discipline and joy, laughter, and forgiveness.

We’ve had a rough year and although we will have the opportunity to worship together on Easter Sunday, not all will or can attend. The numbers are still increasing again in NJ and we don’t know when we’ll all be together again. Outdoor worship is a possibility but is also comes with extra challenges like how to record the service and provide music, both of which are very important and very difficult.

So, this year might be the best year to truly give ourselves fully over to God and fully trust that no matter how naughty we are, no matter how afraid we are to admit the truth about ourselves, God’s love made know in the life, death, and resurrection overcomes it all.

Seeking New Hope in the Resurrection,

Rev Jen

Do This in Remembrance of Me; I Corinthians 11:24-26

24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Daily Reflection

Shared meals were one of the most distinctive features of Jesus’ public activity. He was criticized for eating “with tax collectors and sinners” but he was all about inclusion and affirming a different vision of society in which the neighbor, as well as the stranger, was indeed loved.  

The Lord’s Supper is an affirmation of Christian community. It is a declaration that we are a people bound under a new agreement with the living Lord, an agreement which sets us apart as an eternal community – a people bound in love to one another and to the Lord.  We share these bits of bread and sips of wine or grape juice, which speak to us of our origin and hope, of identity and sacrifice. And utter joy!  We share this meal which carries with it the message, “I love you and you’re special to me” as we offer again the very gifts of God with the words, “The body of Christ given for you.  The blood of Christ shed for you.”   What better way to love our neighbor than to “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”?

On this Maundy Thursday as we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we remember what Jesus has done for us.  We reaffirm our faith in his death and resurrection on our behalf and we affirm our oneness and love, our community.  Here we find a unity that sustains us, a unity based not in similarity of gifts, but in diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Here is where we act out what it is we believe.  When we receive these common elements it is a sign and pledge that we are “with Christ” and “in Christ” and that he is “in us.”  But not us as individuals — no, the corporate ‘us’ as representatives of God’s world, as the Body of Christ.

Daily Prayer

Loving God, as we share in this Sacrament may we hear your voice reminding us once again how much you love us.  Amen

~Lorrie Skinner