April – 2017
Ezekiel 37.1, 3-5, 7, 9-12a, 14 (ICB)
“I felt the power of the Lord was on me. [God] brought me out…and he put me down in the middle of a valley. It was full of bones. Then [God] asked me, ‘Human being, can these bones live?’
I answered, ‘Lord God, only you know.
The Lord said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones. Say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord God says to the bones: I will cause breath to enter you. Then you will live.’
So I prophesied as I was commanded. While I prophesied, there was a noise and a rattling. The bones came together, bone to bone.
Then the Lord said to me, ‘Prophesy to the wind. Prophesy, human being, and say to the wind: This is what the Lord God says – Wind, come from the four winds. Breathe on these people who were killed so they can live again.’
So I prophesied as the Lord commanded me. And the breath came into them, and they came to life. They stood on their feet. They were a very large army.
Then the Lord said to me: ‘Human being, these bones are like all the people of Israel. They say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope has gone. We are destroyed.
So, prophesy, and say to them – This is what the Lord God says – I will put my Spirit inside you. You will come to life. Then I will put you in your own land. And you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it, says the Lord.’”
John 11.1-3, 17-23, 34-39, 41-44a (ERV)
“There was a man named Lazarus who was sick. He lived in the town of Bethany, where Mary and her sister Martha lived. (Mary is the same woman who put perfume on [Jesus] and wiped his feet with her hair.) Mary’s brother was Lazarus, the man who was now sick. So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, ‘[Teacher], your dear friend Lazarus is sick.’
Jesus arrived in Bethany and found that Lazarus had already been dead and in the tomb for four days. Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem. Many [religious leaders] had come to see Martha and Mary. They came to comfort them about their brother Lazarus.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to greet him. But Mary stayed home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘[Teacher], if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask.’
Jesus said, ‘Your brother will rise and be alive again.’
He asked, ‘Where did you put him?’
They said, ‘Come and see.’
And the [religious leaders] said, ‘Look! He loved Lazarus very much!’
But some of them said, ‘Jesus healed the eyes of the blind man. Why didn’t he help Lazarus and stop him from dying?’
Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance. He said, ‘Move the stone away.’
Martha said, ‘But, Lord, it has been four days since Lazarus died. There will be a bad smell.’ Martha was the sister of the dead man.
So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘[Abba], I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me…’
After Jesus said this he called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’
The dead man came out.”
The Wisdom of Jeffrey Moses
“In today’s world, it is vital to understand that disagreements and conflicts between people or nations cannot be resolved through force. All religions are in complete agreement on this. Conquering others with force merely imprisons them. It does not remove the reasons underlying the conflict. Rather, it increases the tension and inevitably gives rise to even greater animosity.
Love, in contrast, is a unifying force. It radiates outward to resolve differences. It is not that the differences dissolve and are lost, but that they are integrated into a greater whole in which they are made more useful and beautiful. Love conquers before there is fighting. Even if channels of communication have broken down and fighting breaks out, the underlying attitude should still be one of love and unification by love.”
Matthew 21.1-3, 6-11 (NIV)
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the [Teacher] needs them, and he will send them right away.’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’
he crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”
The Wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore
“Every morning the day is reborn among the newly blossomed flowers with the same message retold and the same assurance renewed that death eternally dies, that the waves of turmoil are on the surface, and that the sea of tranquility is fathomless.”
The Wisdom of Max A. Coots
“We need a celebration that speaks the Spring-inspired word about life and death, about us as we live and die, through all the cycling seasons, days, and years. We need the sense of deity to crack our own hard, brown, December husks and push life out of inner tombs and outer pain. Unless we move the seasons of the self, and Spring can come for us, the Winter will go on and on.”
Matthew 28.1-11 (NIV)
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel…came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like [corpses].
The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen…Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him…’
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and [loved] him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my [the others] to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’”
The Wisdom of Dame Agatha Christie
“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
Psalm 16.11 (NIV)
“You have made known to me the path of life [O God]; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your [generous] hand.”
John 20:19-22, 30 (NRSV)
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the [religious authorities], Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the [Eternal] has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit.’
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe* that Jesus is the Messiah,* the [one God has chosen], and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
The Wisdom of Robert Holden
“No matter how low, hurt, hopeless…fearful, or how awful you feel, the potential to experience peace and happiness never goes away. Just as clouds in the sky can eclipse the sun but not destroy it, so too can fear and pain eclipse your happiness but not destroy it. The potential for happiness is with you permanently.”
Luke 24.13-15, 17-24, 28-35 (NIV)
“[Two people] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
[Jesus] asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?…Jesus of Nazareth…was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road…?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ hen the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.”