March – 2018

First Thursday, March 1 (Genesis 37.3-4, 23-24, 26-28)

Mar 4 – Denying and Returning to God
A Course in Miracles teaches:
“Many…do not realize that to deny God is to deny their own Identity…[Child] of God, you have…been much mistaken. Yet this can be corrected and God will help you…You denied [God] because you loved [God]…and…[God] loves you. Remember that what you deny you must have once known. And if you accept denial, you can accept its undoing. Your [God] has not denied you. [God] does not retaliate, but [God] does call to you to return.”

(+) The Good News as recorded in the Fourth Gospel (John 18.12, 15-17, NRSV):
So the soldiers, their officer, and the [Religious] police arrested Jesus and bound him. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Prayer: “Holy God, we…often turn our backs on you. Forgive us and show us a new way to live, [moving] boldly and passionately toward you. Amen.”

Mar 11 – Truth
Mahatma Gandhi exhorted:
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

(+) The Good News as recorded in the Fourth Gospel (John 18.33-38, NRSV):
Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the [Jewish people]?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not [Jewish], am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over….But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

Prayer: “God of truth, too often we bend truth to fit our needs. Show us how to recognize and follow your truth, shown to us by the life and love of…Jesus. Amen.”

Mar 18 – Staying Strong
(+) The Good News as recorded in the Fourth Gospel (John 19.1-7, NRSV):
Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, the [Jewish King]!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.”

The [religious authorities] answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

The rest of the Story (9-16, NRSV):
[Pilate] entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the [those wanting Jesus executed] cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement…Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the [crowds], “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!”

Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Prayer: “Holy God, in this season of contemplation, help us to recognize that you revealed yourself in Jesus…May we be strengthened by his [example]…today. Amen.”

Palm Sunday, March 25 – Navigating Hope and Horror
We read in the Psalter (Psalm 24.9-10, NRSV):
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the [Sovereign] of glory may come in. Who is this [Sovereign] of glory? The Lord of hosts…is the [Sovereign] of glory.

(+) The Good News as recorded in the Fourth Gospel (John 12.12-13, NRSV):
…The great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 1So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of [God]—the [Sovereign] of Israel!”

The Story continues (John 19.17-22, NRSV):
Carrying the cross by himself, [Jesus] went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the [Jewish people].” Many…read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests…said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King…,’ but, ‘This man said, I am [the Jewish] King…’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

Prayer: “Dear God…Together we cry ‘Hosanna!’ to your [anointed one] who rode willingly and bravely into Jerusalem. Hear us as we celebrate… Amen.”

 

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