Scripture: 1 Peter 2:23-24
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
When the day begins badly and then worsens, we feel like quitting. Jesus must have felt the same way, but he didn’t give up. He knew what had to be done and loved us too much to say, “I quit.”
Remember a time that others were depending on you and you didn’t give up. What was that victory like and what did it lead to in further hard times when once again others were depending on you? In the classic story of the ‘Little Engine that Could’, the little engine struggles to accomplish its goal while repeating the mantra, “I think I can, I think I can”. What would your mantra be that you repeat to yourself to keep you from quitting?
Prayer: Lord, when things seem unbearable and I feel like quitting, strengthen me, especially when others are depending on me to keep on going. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 23:26
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
Jesus is so weak that the Roman soldiers enlist a bystander, Simon of Cyrene, to bear Jesus’ cross to hurry things up a bit. Jesus – the Son of God, King of All the World – is so weak that he falls along the way and needs to be helped. The One who made others whole is Himself battered, bruised, and broken.
Find a quiet (or semi-quiet) place and read Matthew 25:44-46
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Consider this: In what ways have you been serving the ‘least of these’? Can you think of times in the past week that you have failed to act in service of the least in your life?
Prayer: Lord, Simon’s first reaction might have been, “That’s not my problem.” Oftentimes I react in the same way. Jesus, you said that other people are you when they come into my life. Sometimes, helping them seems like an unfair, thankless job. Help me be thankful for the chance to help. Amen.
Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Gospels do not tell us that Jesus fell on his way to Golgotha, but the Stations of the Cross depict this happening three different times. It’s not unthinkable is it? By this point Jesus had been beaten, scourged, and was weary with hunger and sleep deprivation. The One who made others whole is Himself battered, bruised, and broken… a humble servant.
This Lent season we have had to be creative with our following of Jesus. Even serving others is more complicated as we have less contact with one another. This hour make a phone call to someone that you would have otherwise seen and served this week. Consider this an act of service as you reach out to this person with the kind of love Jesus displayed for you.
Prayer:Lord, sometimes I am trying hard to do what has to be done, and then something happens to make it even more difficult. Jesus, when I feel like screaming, “I don’t need this too!” help me remember that you understand, and that real love doesn’t quit. Amen.
Scripture: John 19:17
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
After Jesus was sentenced to death by Pilate, his physical journey to the cross started with picking up a heavy burden, the crossbar of the cross that would be the tool of his execution. Jesus did not only carry a physical load with him however, but a spiritual burden as well, as he carried the weight of all our sins to the cross. He carried our sins, and fears, and guilt, because we are unable to carry it ourselves.
Think of the most physically exhausting load you have carried. What kind of relief did you feel when you were finally able to put it down. Now consider the most emotional, spiritual burden you have ever carried. What kind of relief did you feel or will you feel when you put it down?
Lord, thank you for being strong enough to carry the burdens that we cannot. We thank and praise you for your mercy and sacrifice through which you give us relief from our suffering and hope for our future. Lord, we repent of the ways that we have sinned and added to your burden. In your holy, perfect name, amen.
Scripture: John 19:11-16
11 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.” 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews 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.” 13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15They 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.” 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
This station presents us with two kinds of authority. Pilate, like many leaders, has a tough decision to make and he caves to the pressure of others while Jesus submits to the lordship and will of the Father. Throughout the church’s history, Christians have been handed over by and persecuted by governments and other human leaders. But Jesus, while condemned to a death sentence, holds all the real authority on earth and identifies with us in suffering.
Traditionally, we “walk” the stations of the cross. If you’re able, go outside and find a flagpole or a neighbor’s flag, to stop at as you reflect and pray. As you walk there, reflect on the nature of God’s authority and human authority. While people seek a king like “Caesar”, God gives authority to a king like Jesus who willingly sacrifices himself for the very people who persecute Him.
Lord, you were the most innocent victim ever of horrible injustice. You taught truth and love and suffered for it. When I am misunderstood, I have to remember that I’m not the first and I am not alone. Jesus, when things are going wrong even though my intentions are good, help me remember that you, too, suffered. Help me remember that you are always with me.
Join us for a very special day of remembering the love of Jesus Christ this Good Friday. We will be ‘walking’ through the Stations of the Cross together. Beginning at 8:00 a.m., every hour, on the hour, we will post a new Station which will include a Scripture reading, a reflection, and an activity to engage us in the events of Jesus’ crucifixion. Posts will be made on our Facebook page and on this website. It may be helpful to set an alarm each hour as a reminder to join in or turn on notifications from the Facebook page. The last post will be made at 7:00 p.m.
Our next Blood Drive is April 14th from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM. The Red Cross will be in the Fellowship Hall at FUMC Navasota. There is always a need for blood donations and currently the supply is very low as shelter in place regulations have made it difficult for donations to be made. You can register online to give HERE or stop in and donate.
We are so thankful that we can invite you to our Palm Sunday YouTube online worship service. You can access the service at any time so if you are a creature of habit you might watch Sunday morning at our usual 9:15 worship time or hop over to worship right now! If your children are worshipping with you we have a special art assignment for them this week. Click this LINK to worship with us!