Daily Scripture

Wednesday May 11, 2022 – Reading by Peggy Williams

   “Come to Me for all that you need. Come into My Presence with thanksgiving, for thankfulness opens the door
to My treasures. When you are thankful, you affirm the central truth that I am Good. I am light, in Whom there is
no darkness at all.
The assurance that I am entirely Good meets your basic need for security. Your life is not subject
to the whims of a sin-stained deity. Relax in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is entirely trustworthy.
Come to me with confident expectation. There is nothing you need that I cannot provide.”

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 – Announcement of Pastor Jim’s final Sunday

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant! I hope you are enjoying this beautiful weather. Pastor Jim has determined
that his last Sunday with us at Mount Pleasant will be May 22, 2022. He will then be taking some time to relocate
to his new assignment and to rest before starting his duties there in Elizabeth City.

   We will be having a covered dish meal after the church service to celebrate Pastor Jim’s ministry. Please come
and enjoy the fellowship and wonderful food!

   Have a blest day.

 

Monday, May 9, 2022 – Devotion by seminary professor Gennifer B. Brooks

   Good evening from Mount Pleasant on Monday May 09. The following is based on Luke 5:1-11.

   It’s a pattern: God calls; the one who is called demurs, claiming unsuitability to the task; and then, in a startling
turnaround, the one who is called accepts the task. Isaiah did it, and now Peter does it. How many of us—called
of God—have followed this pattern. I know I have, and perhaps that is your story as well.

   Prior to calling Peter, Jesus models a way of being with people that is instructive for us as proclaimers of the gospel.
He touches people by speaking directly into their lives. Those upon whom his attention is centered experience his
presence in tangible ways. The crowd demands his attention, and they get it wholeheartedly. We are called to touch
the people to whom God sends us with the good news that transforms lives.

   Jesus invites Peter into a relationship with him in a field of endeavor that is totally new. It is one that promises
growth of an unexpected nature. Peter was not necessarily listening to Jesus, and Jesus’ request starts Peter on a
course that alters his entire life.

   How has your life changed and perhaps grown since you responded to Christ’s call? Consider where that affirm-
ative response has led and what growth has resulted from that turnaround decision to be a proclaimer of the good
news, whether in word or in deed.

   Take care and God bless.

 

Saturday, May 8, 2022 - Poem by Peggy Williams

I saw a picture today on Facebook –
a small bunny rabbit visiting Lowe’s Home Improvement

It was sitting right among the Garden plants –
having a little Cabbage Snack.

Can you imagine the joy you feel watching
one of God’s tiny creatures nibbling lunch!

Not in a field or a big Garden,
But tucked among the Little Plants for Sale.

Enjoying his lunch – fresh as can be!
Giving joyous smiles to you and me!

All of God’s creatures are for us to enjoy!
From cows and horses… to cats and dogs and such.

Today think of How Much Pleasure We Get
From this mighty present we get from God – a little Bunny.

 

Friday, May 6, 2022 – Devotion by Pastor K. Cherie Jones

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant on Friday May 06. The following is based on Philippians 3:4-14.

   In this short, autobiographical snippet, Paul recaps his little life and places it within the big story of God’s activity.
Paul’s “knowing Christ” has reoriented his perspective on life, creating new priorities for his life’s direction: how he
chooses to expend his energy, and for Whom he will ”press on toward the goal.”

   Rachel Beckwith had a goal that reoriented her perspective. At church she learned about the desperate need for
clean water in other countries. Shocked that children her age did not drink clean water, Rachel decided to raise three
hundred dollars for water wells in Africa. She cancelled her ninth birthday party and urged her family and friends to
contribute nine dollars each to the project. She set up a web page to make it easier to contribute. It disappointed her
to only raise two hundred and twenty dollars by her birthday, but she decided to keep trying.

   Six weeks later, a traffic accident left Rachel critically injured. Friends began to contribute to the fund to signal their
support. On July 23, 2011, three days after the accident, Rachel was taken off life support and died. But Rachael’s
dream lived on.

   As the media picked up the news of her dream of clean water, the contributions poured in. The account was closed
on September 30, 2011, with a total contribution of over 1.2 million dollars that would help more than sixty-three
thousand people.

   By God’s grace, Rachel’s death was not the end of the story. What are your dreams for reaching out to others with
Christ’s love?

   Take care and God bless.  Amen

 

Thursday, May 5, 2022 – Help Us Accept Each Other – UMH 560

Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us; teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace. Be present,
Lord, among us, and bring us to believe we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.

Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith. Teach
us to care for people, for all, not just for some, to love them as we find them, or as they may become.

Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved in living situations to do the truth in love; to practice your
acceptance, until we know by heart the table of forgiveness and laughter’s healing art.

Lord, for today’s encounters with all who are in need, who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread, we
need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on; renew us with your Spirit; Lord, free us, make us one.

 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 – Devotion by David Resenberger based on John 20:19-23.

Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant.

   During the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that we don’t need to be gathered in a public space to celebrate
Easter or have the risen Christ come to us. This story in John was often mentioned. A group of people—the disciples
of Jesus—are fearful. They have shut themselves in and won’t go out because there is something out there that
might hurt them, even kill them.

   In this narrative from John 20 they are afraid of “the Jews.” They are Jews too, of course, but in this Gospel, “Jews”
means leaders and authorities. Jesus’ followers fear punishment if they persist in his radical ways.

   They are also in shock, closed in on themselves, unable to believe that good news can be true news. So when
Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles, tells them that she has seen Jesus, they do nothing. The Gospel of John
loves face-to-face encounters with Jesus: It’s good to hear about him, but it’s better to meet him. That was Mary’s
experience. Likewise, only when Jesus himself appears is the male disciples’ fear replaced by renewed trust in God,
the faith that Jesus had taught them.

   The disaster of Jesus’ crucifixion was not the end. God still had and ace to play. The shock of Jesus’ return breaks
through the inner barriers that the shock of his death had put up. The worst had happened, but it wasn’t the end. The
best thing, the thing beyond all imagination, not only can happen; it has happened. The trust in God shattered by
Good Friday comes rushing back at the sight and touch of Jesus.

   God really does reign over all, and Jesus’ return to life from a brutal death proves it. Now, with trust in God restored,
they are sent out to bring the good news of peace and forgiveness.   Amen

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - “Toward the Light” from Upper Room Devotions

John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will
never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

   Every evening at bedtime I head toward my room and switch off the lights along the way. Years ago I lost my sight
in one eye, and my remaining vision is dimming with age. But despite the dark, I am confident that I will not trip or
fall as I head toward the light shining from my destination because it illuminates my way. If I remember something
that I have forgotten and turn back, I am immediately in trouble because my body blocks the light and I am walking
in my own shadow.

   This reminds me of my daily walk with Jesus. For over 64 years, since I was a teenager, I have tried to walk toward
God’s light. But when I have turned away and walked in the shadow of my own choices and actions, I have often been
in trouble. It is awesome to know that no matter how dark it is, we are always able to find God’s light by turning toward
our Lord in our actions and prayers.

 

Monday, May 2, 2022 – “There Is a Season for Everything” by Father Ron Rolheiser

Good morning from Mount Pleasant.

   The gospels, the mystics, and the great spiritual writers, with some variation in how they express this, concur that
there are three clear stages to the spiritual journey or, in another way of putting it, three levels of discipleship.

   The first level, which might aptly be termed, Essential Discipleship, is the struggle to get our lives together, to achieve
basic human maturity (which itself might be defined as the capacity for essential unselfishness, the capacity to put
others before ourselves).

   The second level can be called Generative Discipleship and is the struggle to give our lives away in love, service,
and prayer. The third level can be called Radical Discipleship and consists in the struggle to give our deaths away,
that is, to leave this earth in such a way that our deaths themselves become our final gift and blessing to our families,
churches, and society.

   The first stage, Essential Discipleship, is precisely about essentials, about getting our lives together by properly
channeling our energies through discipline (the origin of the word, discipleship). That task is learning proper teaching
so as to have a healthy vision, submitting to rules of behavior that ground us and move us beyond our instinctual
selfishness, and being a learner within family and church community.

   But, once this stage is achieved with a certain proficiency, the challenge becomes different. Now the task is to give
our lives away – and to give them away ever more deeply and to an ever-widening circle, as we move towards that
truly great unknown, death, where all that we have grounded ourselves in must be left behind as we are opened to
the widest circle of all, cosmic embrace, infinity, and the ineffable mystery of God.  Amen

 

Saturday, April 30, 2022 – “Plus and Minus” by Peggy Williams

Do You Ever Say:
“What a Week This Has Been!”

True for Me This Past Week
Seemed like Every Way I turned I Hit a Roadblock.

I think God intends for Us to Use Brick Walls.
To learn, to Reflect, to teach and to Appreciate Positive and Negative.

A Wake Up Call for Each of Us
An Appreciation for Having the Gift of Knowledge.

Look on the Bright Side of God’s Gifts
Try to learn Every Lesson He Lays Before You.

We All Kinda think lessons should be Easy.
But God seems to teach Me Sometimes by Watching me Stumble.

Knowing He is Always There to Catch Me.
To Cover Me with His Love.

Have a Great Day and Know That
If You Stumble, God will Catch You, Too!

 

Friday, April 29, 2022 – Devotion by Bishop Joe E. Pennel, Jr.

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant. The following is a devotion based on John 6:24-35.

   It happened when I was attending a meeting in Chicago. The staff served us a delicious and abundant buffet
meal.

   One thing was missing; there was no bread at the serving station. For me, without the bread the meal seemed
incomplete. I asked the server if we could have some bread. He said, “We do not serve bread with this meal.”

   Bread sustains us. It is extraordinarily symbolic for those of us who live in the tradition of the Hebrew Bible and
the New Testament. We remember how God gave manna to the Israelites as they travelled in the desert. God took
the initiative to feed the people and provided what they needed for the journey. No one cooked the bread; it was
God who gave it.

   In the story from John 6, the crowd who went searching for Jesus finally found him. But Jesus cautioned them
not to be consumed by the food they ate but to be about finding and “digesting” the spiritual food that would lead
them to eternal life.

   This food—this bread—Jesus said, is more important than the manna they received in the desert. This is the
bread that sustains us throughout our lives. It is a gift that Christ offers himself as food for the journey of life. Then
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will
never be thirsty.”

   The bread that is made sacred for us at Holy Communion becomes for us the Bread of Life. As we feed on this
bread, we feed on the living presence of the living Christ. With confession, we are assured that we are forgiven.
Amen

 

Thursday, April 28, 2022 – 2nd Corinthians 4:6-10 and 16

6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 – Devotion by Pastor George R. Graham

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant. The following is a devotion based on John 21:15-17.

   Jesus’ appearance in John 21 encapsulates his teaching about what it means to follow him. He has given the
disciples instructions about how to fish, and then cares for them by feeding them breakfast. Now Jesus focuses
naturally on Simon Peter—the disciple who was eager to be first—to teach the importance of feeding others.

   In this interaction, Jesus does not call him Peter, the name Jesus gave him when he called him to be a disciple.
Jesus goes back to calling him Simon, the name he had until Jesus renamed him. Perhaps Peter, the rock, was a
kind of public persona. Or perhaps Jesus wanted to take things back to where they began.

   Jesus asks Simon Peter three times if he loves him. In part it seems to be a response to Peter’s having denied
knowing Jesus three times as Jesus faced death. By the third time Jesus asks, his question feels painful and awkward
to Peter. His feelings are hurt.

   Jesus wants to make sure that Simon Peter’s responses are not just eager ones, like jumping from the boat to swim
ashore or running back to grab some of the fish that the other disciples had hauled in. He wants to confirm there is
some depth, commitment, and understanding in Simon Peter’s response.

   Following Jesus does not mean just hauling in a load of fish or being cared for by Jesus. It also means feeding Jesus’
lambs and sheep—the poor and vulnerable who were the focus of Jesus’ ministry.

   Jesus teaches that feeding and caring for those who are vulnerable are what it means to love him. Jesus asks Simon
Peter three times to remind him—and all those who hear, including us—about the demands of this work and the depth
of commitment that is necessary.

   Jesus feeds us so we become willing and able to feed others.  Amen

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 – “Planting Seeds” from Upper Room Devotions

   Mark 4:26-27 - [Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and
would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow.”

   In my retirement I have found that planting flower and vegetable seeds is a good way of relating to God and
creation. Planting can be a time of meditation as I prepare the soil and plant or scatter the seeds. Then comes the
patient waiting and hoping for the germination and sprouting of the seeds, followed by the joy of seeing the seeds
turn into plants, with buds, blooms, and fruit.

   Growing relationships is a lot like gardening. We sow seeds of kindness through seeing every person as one
created in the image of God and thus kin to us. We sow words of kindness by speaking the truth in love. We do
deeds of kindness by actively treating every person with compassion and respect — as we would like to be treated.
Thinking about all this led me to Jesus’ parable of the sower. In the parable, the sower scattered the seed everywhere,
regardless of the condition of the soil. We can do likewise. Then, as with gardening, we watch, wait, and hope for
joyful growth in our relationships with others and with God.

 

Monday, April 25, 2022 – “Where to Find Resurrection” from Father Ron Rolheiser

Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant.

   The Gospels tell us that, on the morning of the resurrection, the women followers of Jesus set out for the tomb of
Jesus, carrying spices, expecting to anoint and embalm a dead body.

   Well-intentioned but misguided, what they find is not a dead body, but an empty tomb and an angel challenging
them with these words: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? Go instead into Galilee and you will find
him there!”

   Why Galilee? What’s Galilee? And how do we get there?

   In the Gospels, Galilee is not simply a geographical location, a place on a map. It is first a place in the heart. As well,
Galilee refers to the dream and to the road of discipleship that the disciples once walked with Jesus and to that place
and time when their hearts most burned with hope and enthusiasm. And now, after the crucifixion, just when they feel
that the dream is dead, that their faith is only fantasy, they are told to go back to the place where it all began: “Go back
to Galilee. He will meet you there!”

   And they do go back to Galilee, both to the geographical location and to that special place in their hearts where once
burned the dream of discipleship. And just as promised, Jesus appears to them. He doesn’t appear exactly as he was
before, or as frequently as they would like him to, but he does appear as more than a ghost and a memory.

   Ultimately the resurrection asks us to go back to Galilee, to return to the dream, hope, and discipleship that had once
inflamed us but has now been lost through disillusionment.

   That is one of the essential messages of Easter: Whenever we are discouraged in our faith, whenever our hopes
seem to be crucified, we need to go back to Galilee, back to the dream and the road of discipleship that we had em-
barked upon before things went wrong.

   Once there, it all makes sense again.  Amen

 

Saturday, April 23, 2022 – “Surprise Blessings” by Peggy Williams

Yesterday I got a little surprise.  
Not a “Good” or “Bad” thing… just Unexpected.

It made me look Back
Into the past… about some Good thoughts 

It made me “Open” the Memory box
I thought I had that Box “all under control” 
(You all know I like to be in “control”)
Nope… Not this time.

So I realized as I came back to My self
That I got a “little Push” a “Small Reminder” from God

To Not Always leave your memories “in the box”
But to take Them Out… Examine them again

And to Cherish the Good and the Not So Good
Because these Memories from My Past made my Faith Stronger.

And God seemed to “tap Me on the Shoulder” out of the blue

And Said “I’ve Got Something for You”

So today I want to Encourage You
Open the Box… Your box… And Remind Yourself

It renewed My Faith and made me
Cry and Smile and Look for the Purpose… the Reason

And God was my Answer… Reminding me
My Faith Journey Has come a Long Way

Along with More Blessings than I could ever possibly Count.

Bless each one of you. Amen

 

Thursday, April 21, 2022 – The Righteousness of God Through Faith

Good morning on Thursday, April 21st. Hear Paul’s words from Romans 3:21-24.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - by Prof. Mark W. Stamm and based on Psalm 31:9-16

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant.

   Having empathy is the first step in the disciple’s way of generosity. Today’s reading begins, “Be gracious to me . . .
for I am in distress, my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.” Here is prayer offered in a time of loss
and spoken by one who is exhausted. That description may or may not describe you right now, but continue listening
to the psalmist’s prayer. He feels like he has been forgotten and “plotted against.” His sense of dread is all-encom-
passing, even if his fears and feelings don’t entirely make sense.

   Perhaps is seems strange to offer this prayer as your own, although there may be times when it’s exactly what you
would pray. Either way, I invite you to imagine it as someone’s prayer today. Here is a key understanding held by
those who advocate for use of the full Psalter, even its difficult parts.

   Ask yourself, “Who might be praying this prayer today?” Then imagine praying it with them, perhaps with someone
mourning the loss of a spouse or child, or with a victim of abuse, or with someone struggling to pay medical bills or
to find the next meal.

   Invite the Spirit into the process, both to enlighten your imagination and to help you bear difficult things, even your
own worthless groans. Here is work the Holy One inspires in us and we are able to do it because Jesus walked the
journey before us. With him we can complete this prayer with confidence: “But I trust in you, O Lord. . . . My times
are in your hand . . . deliver me.”  Amen

 

Tuesday, 4/19/2022  “No Longer Afraid” – Upper Room Devotions

   Matthew 4:16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and
shadow of death, light has dawned.

   When I was young, I had a great fear of darkness.

   One night the electricity went off. Darkness quickly enveloped my room, and I felt something bad was closing in
on me.  I screamed until my mother rushed to my rescue. As soon as the light from her lantern shone in the room,
the darkness disappeared!

   Thinking about that night years later reminds me of how the whole world lay in darkness until God spoke the sun
into being. I think also of how the coming of Jesus Christ as the true Light dispelled the darkness in the world and
illuminated the path for humankind. (See John 1:9.) Finally, thinking of that night reminds me of a cold manger in
Bethlehem where the Holy Child was born. That night marks the point at which God shined a divine light into the
world and dispelled the power of evil.

   Remembering my experience with darkness as a child helps me understand Easter and Christmas better. Christmas
and Easter are the times when God’s light through Christ breaks the hold of sin in the world. I no longer celebrate
Christmas and Easter blindly, but with a deep understanding of what God did by sending Jesus as the Light of the
world.  Have a blessed day.

 

Monday, April 18, 2022 – Devotion by Brandan Robertson

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant on Monday April 18. The following is a devotion based on Jeremiah 17:5-6.

   Faith often requires us to trust in a perspective other than our own, which is an incredibly hard thing to do. It often
asks us to suspend our rational judgment for a moment and trust that our Infinite Creator has a much better grasp
on our situation than our finite minds do.

   In today’s passage, the prophet Jeremiah tells the people of Israel something they have been reminded of again
and again—when they rely on the human way of doing things, rather than the way of God, they will find themselves
dried up, parched, and dying. They will, the prophet says, miss out on the prosperity that God has promised to bring
when they trust in the divine will.

   Too many of us have been conditioned to feel as if God’s commands (or the commands of anyone) are to keep us
from doing what we want to do. The truth is, however, that the principles and lessons of scripture are intended to guide
us on the path of abundant life. They seek to provide a corrective to the finite and flawed human belief that working
hard enough, earning enough money, or experiencing the most pleasure will lead to a fulfilling life.

   Not only does this path not lead to fulfillment; it actually drains the life out of us. Jerimiah’s message is clear: Don’t
trust in the limited perspective of humans, or you will be greatly disappointed.

   As we go about living day by day, it is important to ask if we are looking at our circumstances from a self-centered,
limited human lens, or if we are seeking to align with God’s perspective, even if it doesn’t make immediate sense to us.
Our answer to that question will determine the quality of the life we will live.   Amen

 

Saturday, April 16, 2022 – Devotion from “Jesus Calling” by Susan Young

   Let me fill you with my love, joy, and peace. These are Glory-gifts, flowing from my living Presence. Though you
are an earthen vessel, I designed you to be filled with heavenly contents. Your weakness is not a deterrent to being
filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly.

   As you go through this day, trust Me to provide the strength you need moment by moment. Don’t waste energy
wondering whether you are adequate for today’s journey. My Spirit within you is more than sufficient to handle what-
ever this day may bring. That is the basis for your confidence!

 

Wednesday April 13, 2022 - Jesus Sacrificed Everything by Asherita Ciuciu

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant. 

   Under the Roman Empire, crucifixion was reserved for executing foreigners, lower-class Roman citizens, violent
offenders, and traitors. The condemned were often scourged until the soldier could lash out no more. They were
forced to march through the city naked, stripped of dignity and pride. The whole of it is too gruesome to imagine.

   Pilate’s soldiers, Herod’s guards, and even the Jewish leaders tortured and humiliated Jesus, and all this was before
the Roman soldiers mounted Him on a cross, driving spikes through His hands and feet, thrusting Him up to hang on
a roughly hewn stake in the ground, leaving Him to pull Himself up to gasp for each breath of air.

   Crucified victims couldn’t chase away birds or flies from their wounds and couldn’t protect themselves from the
scorching heat of the day and shivering cold of the night. It’s too much.

   The brutality and utter depravity of such an execution is too much for our modern sensibilities, so we turn our faces.
Who could look upon such torture and not feel sick to their stomach?

   But the worst was yet to come: Jesus’ own Father turns His face away from His Son. Every sin of every person from
all time past, present, and future were heaped upon His innocent soul. The perfect spotless Lamb of God was being
slaughtered for the sins of    the world in the most abhorrent and shameful way.

   But, Jesus was not a powerless prisoner. With a single flex of His muscles, He could have healed His own wounds
and come down from that cross; a single whisper could have called down legions of warrior angels; a single command
and the enemy would be obliterated.

   What then, kept Jesus on the cross? You know the answer, don’t you? But feel the weight of it. Love.

   Every blow He didn’t reciprocate was love. Every moment He stood naked and mocked was love. Every step toward
Golgotha was love. Every gasping breath was love. Every nanosecond from the kiss in the garden to the cessation
of His heartbeat…Love.    Amen

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 – “Jesus’ Love Forgives” from Asheritah Ciuciu

   Good Tuesday morning from Mount Pleasant.

   As He hung dying on the cross, Jesus forgave His executioners.

   But when we look at the prevailing cultural norms of His day, we begin to understand just how unexpected His
prayer of forgiveness would have been for first century listeners.

   Throughout Israel’s history, family members were entreated to avenge an innocent person’s death. God Himself
instructed the Israelites to show no pity toward murderers. A life for a life. That seemed just.

   In those cases where revenge was beyond human means, faithful worshippers pleaded with God to exact judgment
and vindication when they couldn’t.

   If an innocent Jewish man were hanging from a Roman cross, you could be sure that he would be calling down
God’s wrath on his executioners. But not Jesus.

   After being crucified between two criminals, Jesus’ first recorded words in Luke are this prayer of forgiveness.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). Typically, a person being
executed was expected to confess his sins. But it wasn’t His own sins that Jesus confessed on the cross. After all,
He had none. Instead, He confessed His executioners’ sins and pleaded for their forgiveness.

   This was the way of love He had taught His disciples to walk, when He told them to bless those who curse them
and pray for those who mistreat them.

   Jesus shows that love forgives not because it hasn’t been wronged, but because it trusts in the One who can make
all things right. Jesus didn’t want his executioners condemned, He wanted them redeemed.  Amen.

 

Monday, April 11, 2022 – “The Resurrection of Christ Brings Forth Forgiveness” by Father Ron Rolheiser

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant.

   The resurrection of Jesus has many dimensions. At one level, it was a physical event. The dead body of Jesus was
raised, the cosmic universe at its deepest level suddenly had a new set of laws, and the very atoms of this universe,
as nature first arranged them, were rearranged. This aspect should never be understated.

   However, the resurrection was also a spiritual event and that too is important. In the resurrection of Jesus, we are
given not just the potential for a resurrected body and a resurrected cosmos, we are also given the possibility of for-
giveness, of being forgiven and of forgiving each other. That new possibility and its radical novelty should also never
be understated.

   From the beginning of time until Jesus’ resurrection, dead bodies stayed dead. And from Adam and Eve until that
same resurrection, wounded and dead hearts stayed wounded and dead. All that has now changed. There are new
possibilities.

   What is new in the resurrection is not just the unbelievable new possibility of physical resurrection. The resurrection
gives us to the equally unbelievable possibility of the newness of life that forgiving and being forgiven brings. In our
day to day lives that is how we are asked to appropriate the resurrection of Jesus, by forgiving and by letting ourselves
be forgiven.

   The chain of anger has been broken.

   I hope you are blessed by these words and I hope you have a blessed week!  Take care and God bless.  Amen