Friday, April 29, 2011

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I took this photo yesterday when I was helping to establish a center for relief efforts through UMCOR. This is only the barest image of the things people are living through.

Please continue to pray.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jesus Comes

Jesus comes when you least expect it, and need it most.

Please pray that Jesus will come to the victims of the tornadoes that hit Alabama yesterday.
I have seen the damage. I have heard the voices of those searching for missing family members. I have heard of people who have died. So many have lost all their earthly possessions. They need Jesus.

Today I visited a town that was hit hard by the storm. It is basically gone. I was given the job of photographer. Unfortunately, it wasn't my camera so I can't share pictures. But I had a chance to view the scene in a close up as I took photos of damage.

And I was reminded once again that Jesus came. And Jesus still comes. All we need is Jesus.

Keep watch, dear Lord, over those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Passover Glimpse

Last week's Passover Seder was one of the best we've had. And that's saying something, because I can't even remember how long we've been doing a Passover Seder, either on our own, or with our churches.

Some of you readers out in the blurry blogland might be wondering what a Passover Seder is. It is a celebration of remembrance going back 3500 years. It is remembering how God freed the Israelites from slavery as they left Egypt and started to go to the Promised Land. Every symbol and prayer reflects the mercy of God as He orchestrated their being set free from slavery. What the Jews don't realize, is that every symbol also reflects the mercy of God as He sent His Son Jesus who died on the cross to free us from slavery to sin. 
There are literally thousands of different Passover Seder liturgies. The one we use is a Messianic version that points to Jesus Christ and shows how the symbolism was a foreshadow of what was to come.  

Lighting the candles. Traditionally done by the woman of the house. The symbol points to Christ as the light of the world.

Children are traditionally heavily involved in the whole Passover. Here is a view of our booklet, with the part of a young child who asks questions about why we have Passover and what it means. Later children hunt for the Afikomen, which is a symbolic piece of matzoh that is wrapped and hidden and then found and "bought" by the leader for our case, chocolate ones...reminds me of Jesus being hidden in the tomb. And of his being given to the priests for coins.

Everyone participates in the seder. Here, we are dipping our finger into the grape juice and dripping drips to represent each of the plagues that God kept the Israelites from during the first Passover.

There are 4 cups of wine to drink in the seder. Each cup represents something. The first is the cup of sanctification because of God's promise to bring the Israelites out of the burden of the Egyptians. The second is the cup of deliverance. This is to remember God's deliverance as he led them out of Egypt. The third is the cup of Redemption. "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm." The fourth is the cup of Praise.

When we have a seder with the church, we encourage everyone to sit together as a family. Here Dad is leading the seder and Mom prepares to light the candles.

Matzoh is traditionally pierced and striped. We can recognize this as a symbol of Jesus who was pierced for our transgressions and striped for our sins. It has no yeast. Yeast represents sin.

Some views of the seder plates with the symbolic food. Parsley, dipped in salt water to remember our tears. Horseradish, to also help us remember the bitterness of slavery. A bone to remind us of the passover sacrifice. A roasted egg, which is a symbol of mourning. Sweet cheroseth to remind us of the bricks and mortar the Israelites made for the Egyptians.

Making a sandwich with matzoh and cheroseth.

In the middle of the seder, we pause and eat together. Everyone did a great job making kosher for Passover dishes to share. Every year, our favorite is the matzoh ball soup Mom makes. Personally, one of my favorites is spinach mushroom carrot vegetable puffs. So. Good.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the 
other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an
angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on
it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the
guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be 
afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he 
has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and 
tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of 
you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the 
tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met 
them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and 
worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to 
go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Significance of a Used Tomb

Small. Stagnant.
Spice. Somber.
Silent. Still.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Significance of an Extinguished Candle

Nine lit candles. Shedding light.
One by one, they are extinguished.
One by one, the smoke dissipates.
Darkness closes in.
Light is gone.
Hope is gone.

Christ has died.
And we wait.

Crucified, Dead, Buried

John 18, 19

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you man know that I find no fault in Him."
Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!" Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him." The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"
Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers did these things.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wash All of Me

John 13: 1-17, 31b-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord- and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, you Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, "Where I am going, you cannot come." I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Will Betray

John 13: 21-32
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." THe disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples- the one whom Jesus loved- was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; or that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Light

John 12: 20-36
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say- "Father, save me from this hour"? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" Jesus said to them, "The Light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus said this, he departed and hid from them.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Real

As I mentioned before, this is one of my favorite weeks in the church year. There's just so much going on. And I think this year will be even more meaningful because I have fresh memories of the Holy Land and what I saw and experienced there. It helps to bring it to life, and make the reality of the events of Easter real.

I walked the dusty hills of Jerusalem. Today it is full of gasoline fumes, of building projects, of archeological digs. But the hills are still there. I walked the way from the Garden of Gethsemane to the high priest's house. Jerusalem is on a mountain, and as a mountain it has steep hills. It was easy to see Jesus trudging up the hill, handcuffed. It was easy to hear the heavy breathing of Peter as he fearfully trailed behind the crowd, just keeping them in sight. Unwilling to be arrested, but keeping close enough to see what would happen next. And then to picture Jesus attempting to carry His cross up those hills, after losing so much blood and being whipped- it brought tears to my eyes.

One beautiful thing about the Jewish faith is that they preserve the traditions. Especially in Jerusalem. So many of the foods eaten, and sights to see, prayers you hear and other things harken back to an ancient time. Of course, with the temple being destroyed, Jews have changed how they worship, but I could still get an idea and imagine what it might have been like.

We visited the temple site. There are blocks of stone still laying where the Romans left them when they destroyed the temple in 70 AD. Archeologists have dug down to the level Jesus would have walked on at the temple. You can still see stalls and mikvahs. Places to buy the birds and sheep for sacrifices, places to wash before you go to the temple. Even today the streets are crowded with people buying and selling. There are so many languages to hear, jostling as people move up and down the streets. That translates easily to the Passover crowds of Jesus' day. Passover was one of the biggest feasts of the year that everyone went to Jerusalem to celebrate.

The streets of old Jerusalem are all stone paved. Many places were paved by King Herod. They are very narrow with many stalls or stores that generations of families own. There are many wares hung out for display, many people trying to bargain. They offer a whiff of what they have, or give you "hospitality" in the form of mint tea or fresh squeezed orange juice as they try to talk you into buying. The colors are vivid, the people anxious to please, the smells many and varied. Add the crowds from everywhere there for Passover and you have quite a picture.

I hope that by bringing the story to life, by thinking of the every day things present like the tastes, smells, sounds and sights, I might more readily remember Jesus' sacrifice as He died on the cross. It really happened. It's not just a story in a book, or a myth or fable. Jesus - God's Son in human form- really lived. And he really died.
And he really was restored and resurrected.

A miracle that is reality.

The Smell of Perfume

John 12:1-11
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold fro three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always." Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Matthew 21:1-11
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, 
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you,
 and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them
 and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 
“The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ This took
 place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 
‘Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
   humble, and mounted on a donkey,
     and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ 
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they

 brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat 
on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others 
cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that 
went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking,

 ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from 
Nazareth in Galilee.’

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hope For Tomorrow

We aren't there yet. Lent is not over. But here is a bit of hope to tide us over until next week when we can experience the newness of being forgiven as Christ dies on the cross.

During Lent we spend time thinking about how to change ourselves. We examine ourselves. We "repack" what we believe, even. We experience pain as we face our sin. Then Easter comes and we are renewed by the newness of being forgiven and being washed clean by Christ's love. We feel His Love. We are changed. A new way of living.
ROMANS 6:3-4
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

The Passion Of Christ

My heart and mind is preparing for next week- the Passion week leading up to Resurrection Sunday. This is one of my most favorite weeks in the church calendar, and becoming my favorite holiday, too. It's just so much more significant that Christ died and rose than that he was born in a stable. He was born in the stable in order to die on the cross and then rise from the dead, so I am beginning to appreciate the celebration of that action more and more.

Every year I like to think about the week, and the arch of the story and I especially think about the emotions experienced. So I found this old blog post to share from the blog I share with my sisters.

I've been thinking about what it was like in Jerusalem when I was visiting and how I was imagining what it was like when Jesus was there. Perhaps another blog post soon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Scripture For Today

Psalm 33

 1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
   it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
   make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
   play skillfully, and shout for joy.
 4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
   he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
   the earth is full of his unfailing love.

 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
   their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars[a];
   he puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
   let all the people of the world revere him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
   he commanded, and it stood firm.

 10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
   he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
   the purposes of his heart through all generations.

 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
   the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down
   and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
   all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
   who considers everything they do.

 16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
   no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
   despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
   on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
   and keep them alive in famine.

 20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
   he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
   for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
   even as we put our hope in you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Release

I'm fascinated by this photo.
I love how the seed is hanging on, but just about ready to fly away...into it's own adventure, to begin it's life as  it's own dandelion.

It can be a difficult thing, to begin a journey of life. An aventura de la vida. There are fears to be faced, steps to be taken, rocks to navigate, and then hopefully, finally, the smooth and pleasant places.

Just as the seed is ready to release, a breeze comes and sweeps it away. It dances on the breeze until it finally rests someplace, and sets about to do what dandelions do.

Which is bloom where it's planted, and then spread seeds so more dandelions can come forth.

In this journey of life, this pathway, there is only one sure thing.
That God is in control, that God is speaking into my life, that God will send the breeze to send me whither He wishes. And that He will give the strength and the opportunities to do what Christians do. Which is bloom where they're planted and then spread the gospel so more Christians can come forth.

The reason for this aventura de la vida.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I'd like to pause here a moment to express my extreme excitement.






It's a Canon EOS Rebel 450D SLR! I'm so excited! Better pictures! More lenses to come! Dirt cheap!

Expect more photos on this blog in the future. Because I have a camera and I'm not afraid to use it!

And on that note, here is a photo I took last weekend pre-new camera.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Christ In Me

Christ Be With Me

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.


Christ in me. I was thinking and praying this week that when people see me, they would see Christ. When people talk to me they would notice Christ. When people hear me speak, they would hear Christ.

I frequently think about how to express Christ's love when I am interacting with people all day long. I need to find a way to express to that person that Christ is Love and they should come away seeing Christ, not Katie.
Because we are "Little Christ" or Christians.

I have not attained this yet. It is impossible for a human to achieve. Yet, I strive, knowing that Christ is in me and through me and through some mysterious and powerful way He can overcome my human stumbles and shine through somehow, some way.


Christ comes in many different ways. Christ takes many forms. 
Christ comes when we least expect it.
Christ comes when we hurt the most.
Christ comes when we're filled with happiness.
Christ comes when we meet a stranger.
Christ comes when we find a friend.
Christ comes when we gain strength we didn't know we had.
Christ comes when we stand for what we believe.
Christ comes when we love difficult people.
Christ comes when we reach out to others.
Christ comes when we humble ourselves.
Christ is always coming. 


Thanks be to God.