God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Stay With Me: a Maundy Thursday Meditation based on Luke 22

This is the Maundy Thursday meditation that I used in worship.
Scripture  Luke 22:7-23

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’ 9They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’ 10‘Listen,’ he said to them, ‘when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ ” 12He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.’ 13So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ 17Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ 19Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 20And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ 23Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.         
The Lord’s Supper 

What was it like to sit down for the last time with your followers,to share the meal that remembers when God saved his people from a plague. A night when you gather to remember how God can and does save but knowing this was one of the last chances you had to teach them about God's kingdom. So you took what was before you. You took the loaf of bread. Gave thanks for the bread and gave the bread to your disciples. You told them that when they eat the bread to break it and remember you. And then you took another common item. You lifted that cup not in a toast but in as a chance to give your followers a way to remember you. You gave thanks for the wine and then gave the cup to all present. You shared these symbols of God's love, your love, so that we could always remember your love poured out for us, your love broken for us. 
Let us pray, Jesus help us remember you love poured out for us in the bread and in the wine. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn        Stay With Me Taize

Scripture  Luke 22:24-30
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

28 ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Dispute about Greatness
Who is the greatest?

We know in this political season who says they are the greatest. But you teach us a different way. You say that the greatest is the youngest, the one who serves. You show us this by pouring out wine and sharing bread. You show us how to serve by kneeling down and washing our feet. We try to stop you. But you show us that this is who we are to be the one that falls at the feet of our neighbor. 
Let us pray, Help us to seize this calling of humility and wonder in a world that prefers self-righteousness and power. Hear our prayer, O God. 
Hymn        Stay With Me
Scripture  Luke 22:31-34
31 ‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ 33And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ 34Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.’
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
Jesus, there with your friends you shared the pain that was to come. You shared your sorrow that these friends here with you would lose faith, would be scared, would flee, and would even deny knowing you. Yet in that moment when you share that these friends will fail, you remind Simon that he will remember it all. He will turn back towards God. He will repent and believe again and when he does you ask him to strengthen the faith of the others. 
Let us pray, when we have turned away from you. When we have lost faith in you. Send someone to strength us, to remind us of you and your love. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn         Stay With Me
Scripture  Luke 22:35-38
35 He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ 36He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ 38They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’
Purse, Bag, and Sword
Jesus you knew that dangerous times were coming and you wanted the disciples to be prepared. Jesus knew the people in charge were speaking of them as lawless, as dangerous, as different. You had once sent the disciples out with nothing but a cloak and stick relying on the hospitality of stranger. Now you tells us to gather our resources and our weapons. We only have two swords. How can we challenge the Empire with 2 swords. We know you reminding us that the kingdom is different that we will share our resources creating bread for all. That we will meet our enemies with love, turn the other cheek, love extravagantly and unconditionally.

Let us pray: God send us out into the world knowing that we will not lack anything that our love will be met with the welcome of others. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn                   Stay With Me
Scripture  Luke 22:39-46
39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ 41Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ [[ 43Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] 45When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
Jesus you went out to pray this night. Knowing that trial was coming. You spent time in prayer. You prayed for God to take this burden, this pain, this martyrdom from you. But at the end of your pray, you turn to God asking to show you the way forward and through. You show us that in times of anguish to turn our prayers to God. When you finished your prayer and returned to your friends, you found them asleep. You asked them to pray yet again that they do not come to a time of trial.

Let us pray: God we ask you to be with us in the times of trial, to be with in our struggles to remind us of your presence even in the midst of struggle. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn         Stay With Me
Scripture  Luke 22:47-53
47 While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ 49When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ 50Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? 53When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
A kiss. You trial and death begins with a kiss. A Sign of passing the peace to one another is turned into the first act of violence. A kiss of peace becomes a moment of violence where a sword is drawn, a man in injured. You touch the injured and heal him. Then you ask of you attackers why come with weapons now when I was with you in the teaching everyday. But here in the dark of night you treat me like a criminal. You have turned to the darkness.

Let us pray: God peace, in the face of violence give us courage to face our fear, be with us as we oppose violence with love. Help us to reach out to those who have been visited by violence and bring you healing touch. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn         Stay With Me
Scripture  Luke 22:54-62
54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. 55When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, ‘This man also was with him.’ 57But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ 58A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ 59Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, ‘Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.’ 60But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’ At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ 62And he went out and wept bitterly.
Peter Denies Jesus
Peter you tried to be faithful. You didn’t flee or run away. You followed behind those who arrested Jesus. You followed and watched as they led him to the courtyard. You tried, but then when confronted about knowing Jesus you say: Woman, I do not know him. When asked if you are one of them: You say: Man I am not. When some insists you are from Galilee, you say: Man, I do not know what you are talking about. And then you hear it the cock crowing and you know you failed Jesus. You see him turn and look at you. And you cry bitter tears. You weep for not being who you hoped you were.

Let us pray: Jesus, we too put you aside when isn’t convenient to be a follower. Sometimes it is easier to forget all you have taught us, and just go along with the crowd. Grant us the courage to follow you. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn         Stay With Me
Scripture  Luke 22:63-65
63 Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; 64they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ 65They kept heaping many other insults on him.
The Mocking and Beating of Jesus
Jesus in that place of power those who hold you captive mock you. They speak of your purpose, you compassion, your love in ways that tear you apart, that claw at the center of your being. You are alone there being beating, reviled and abused.   

Let us pray: God we don’t want to stop here in this moment where you are beaten and mocked. We don’t won’t to stay in this place where people are purposely hurt and torn down. Give us the strength and the courage to say no to the mocking and beating, to say no to the forces arrayed against love. Hear our prayer, O God.
Hymn      Stay With Me  

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