Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holy Week and Easter [yes, backdated]

The Friday before Holy Week (3/14) was busy with sermon prep and a visit.

The Saturday before Holy Week we celebrated as Palm Sunday at Mt. Olive. All the Saturday School kids (in the same family) were sick. So no Sat. School. I held a questioning of my student who has Autism with his brother and Grandmother. Nitro (his name) did exceptionally well. Some day I think I should write about the various considerations that go into Catechizing a student with Autism. But with so many irons in the fire now, that will probably be a ways off.

Palm Sunday (3/16) I held worship at St. Petri, Oak Park, and Nazareth. And then we dive into Holy Week.

Kyle N. and his brothers finished the wall in our basement. We have a new bedroom now for a couple of our kids. We've begun painting and re-arranging. Louisa, our oldest daughter, is not satisfied because the bedroom is not hers. But those are the breaks in a large family.

Monday and Tuesday were filled with several Pastoral jobs and calls, not the least of which was finalizing 4 sermons for Wed. School, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.

Wed. School went well (3/19). I put the confirmands through a review of their questioning and taught them the distinctions between a Moral, Moral Law, Natural Law (Biblical, and Secular), Moraizing, Pietism, and all other such nonsense of bending someone's will to a law that is not predicated upon the Moral Law of God.

Thursday (3/20) we had worship at Mt. Olive and Oak Park with Questioning of Confirmands at Oak Park. Matt, Louisa, and Jake did very well. Friday we had Tenebrae service at St. Petri with Questioning of Confirmands. Briley, Shane, and Whitney did very well. And we had Tenebrae service at Nazareth.

Some time I'll post my Tenebrae service. The service itself has the congregations reading the prophecies in the Old Testament about each part of the Passion of Jesus Christ; the Pastor reads the Gospel lesson fulfillment of the Prophecies up to the burial of Jesus. Special attention is given to Psalms 16 and 22, and Isaiah 52-53.

Saturday (3/22) we enjoyed the festivities of Christ's resurrection on Holy Saturday at Mt. Olive. The Saturday School children sang for the congregation and did an excellent job. Katie and Chantelle are 7 years old, Anna is 6 years old. And it is my privilege to teach them.

My parents and my son, Jeremy, came to visit us on Saturday to stay through Monday; celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ with us.

Sunday I held Easter worship at St. Petri, Oak Park, and Nazareth. After a long day of worship and preaching, Mary had a wonderful meal for our family waiting.

A short time after our meal we had an Easter Egg hunt.

Each of the kids was given a particular color of egg to find. I got to hide them.

I know that there might be some readers who are baffled by an Easter Egg hunt. I don't know if the readers from Kazakhstan know what this is. And I realize that there might be some readers around the world that wonder what in the world those Americans have in their heads.

But realize that the popular mythology of Easter being derived from some kind of Anglo-goddess Oestra is a total fiction. There never was such a mythology in history. This false-goddess is a fiction of moderns from the late 1960s and on. In truth, Easter Eggs were used by the Eastern Church as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter egg hunts and all the hullabaloo around finding them can be a very useful and fun way of teaching children about the resurrection. That's how we use Easter egg hunts.

What I find entertaining about the whole thing is that my oldest two children; Jeremy and Matthew; were so involved in their search for the eggs that they didn't care about the fact that even the littlest kids were engaged in the same game.

Since I hid the eggs, I made sure that the older kids had a more difficult time finding them. I can be so devious when I want to be.

And then there is the enjoyment of the candy and eggs themselves. I am so glad that my Parents and my oldest son could be here with us to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

We know, yes, very personally, that death is the ultimate consequence of sin. My younger brother died young, over 4 years ago. We've had too many family and congregational funerals to think about. But Christ died and Raised Himself from the Dead to show us that we have eternal life through Him.

Because of Christ's resurrection we have the certainty that those who have died in faith before us are not lost. We do not grieve them as those who have no hope. We will be reunited with them in Christ at the Last Day.

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

23 “Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!

24 That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;

26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,

27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

[Job 19:23-27]

God bless you this Easer!

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