Led Reflection – Easter Saturday Vigil

Culturally I feel like I am ill equipped for grief. Grief and death are events to be wrapped by professionals and delivered in a short period of time before everyone is encouraged to get on with it.

I look at some of the beautiful cultures around me and how they enter into grief and death, how they sit in ashes (metaphorically) and how their community of loved ones enters with them.

This Easter I am trying to hold space for the grief of Saturday better. To not avoid the grief but to be present to it and in doing so to be more human.

These strange times we find ourselves in confront us with many emotions that have been able to be ignored in our usual busyness.

Below is a reflection to participate in – holding space for grief and for Jesus on this Easter Saturday.

Led Reflection – Good Friday

I am always undone by Good Friday.  Every year there seems to be something new to engage with and explore.

I pray this reflection will help you to come to the cross again with a new sense of holy awe and wonder.

May we never rush past what Jesus did for us and for the cosmos.

Led Reflections – Maundy Thursday

In their final evening together Jesus knelt before his friends and washed their feet. Though he was about to go to the cross he still loved and served his friends. May we too have strength to love those near to us in these difficult days.

A quiet meditation for Maundy Thursday.

Lead Prayers – Mary Anoints Jesus

This Holy Week I’ve recorded some reflections for people to participate with. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m going to post one here each day for the next 4 days.

Each one features prayer, scripture and poetry or story and are accompanied by images by dear artist friends. They are about 20minutes long.

They are designed to be done in silence and reflection and could be integrated into your prayer practice. If you are new to reflective practice I encourage you to find a quiet space free from distractions and see it as a new way of praying. The music quality in this one is not great so maybe have a song cued that you can listen to during that part.

They are not without (many) imperfections. However, I hope that they might help in leaning into the days of this most Holy Week in these strangest of times.

Good Friday

Today we celebrated Good Friday at church. This is one of the reflections I wrote for that service. The painting was done by a team of beautiful and clever people I get to journey with.

Thinking of you today – may you find life and hope in grief and despair.

easter crosses

While the drama of the crucifixion plays out in an intensely physical and earthly place we must lift our gaze to contemplate the great spiritual drama in play.

The lashings, jeerings and mocking are the least of what Jesus is enduring. At this time sin, sickness, defeat, despair, depression, oppression and brokenness is being transferred to Jesus, the final atoning sacrifice.

In the Old Testament we see sin atoned for by the priest laying his hands on the person and the animal brought for sacrifice – the sin passes from the sinner to the animal, often a lamb. On the cross we see Jesus, our great high priest, the mediator of a new covenant, take up all sin.

What once had to be done again and again to make atonement for sin is achieved once for all, on a wooden cross on a hill shaped like a skull.

None of the bystanders could begin to perceive the exchange at this moment – the chief priests as they justified their win, the disciples as they feared and agonised, the women as they openly grieved the one they loved.

How often do we walk past the cross without stopping to meditate on the truly cosmic moment when the Trinity was torn in two, where the final victory was achieved, where the words ‘It is Finished’ truly meant it is finished.

And then the curtain tore.

A huge and heavy embroidered curtain, reported to be up to 4 inches thick was torn from top to bottom – from God to man – the supreme gift, a way into the holy of holies.

What was once a dividing place between the holy and the unholy instantly accessible to all.

God’s holy presence no less holy, no less awe-some, no less powerful but because of Jesus we are now made holy and worthy to enter.

His blood the sacrifice we could not make. His broken body taking away our brokenness, our shame exchange for his garment of righteousness.

Jesus has defeated death itself – not for his disciples, not for Jews, not for good men but for all – for strangers, for the lost, for the sick, for gentiles and women, for children and for all of creation – right out to the edges of the cosmos.

This act of Jesus, conceived by God as the ultimate rescue mission, initiated in heaven, is for all of the created order.

In this divine exchange the whole of creation’s brokenness is taken up into Jesus and finds in him the answer and the cure.

May you know the Presence of God today and may your heart leap at the welcome into the Holy place.

Family Eastering – Nothing

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 11: Nothing – the victory complete

nothing

Verse: Luke 26 v 6-7

Jesus isn’t here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, ‘The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.’ 

Activity:

Make medals together – who gets the medal? The winner. Break open a hollow egg together or open the oven and eat one of the meringue cookies – it is empty inside. Why?

Reflection:

Imagine how surprised the disciples and Jesus’ friends were to discover the tomb/cave was empty! That wasn’t what they were expecting at all. No one has the power to keep Jesus shut up in a tomb – not death, not soldiers, not people who hate Jesus, no-one at all. Jesus is the winner. He deserves not just a medal but all of our praise and wonder. Now Jesus shares his victory with us. He fought with death and he won so now when our bodies die it isn’t the end of the story – when Jesus returns our lives and bodies will be remade and live with him in joy and peace and love forever! Jesus is risen!

Prayer:

Wow God! What a great plan you carried out in Jesus. How surprising and mind-blowing it must have been for your friends and how exciting it is for us to know you are the winner. How we love you God. You are truly awesome and wonderful.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families.

Thank you for doing this journey with me. I hope that any of the reflections you have managed to do have brought life, deeper understanding and meaningfulness to your Easter journey.

All the joy and best of good news.

Miriam x

Family Eastering – Stone

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 11: Stone – nothing can stop Him

stone

Verse: John 20 v 1

On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

Activity:

Look for really heavy things around the house – couch, table, tree… try to move these. Use different strategies. Now use the largest family member to guard these whilst the smallest family member tries to get to them and move them.

Reflection:

There were people worried that Jesus’ disciples would try to steal his dead body so they placed not just an enormous rock that would be impossible to move, but they also placed 2 very big scary guards outside the tomb/cave entrance as well. But! When Jesus rose from the dead there was nothing that could stop him – not a huge rock, not 2 big scary guards. It is just the same for us – sometimes we can think that God is far away or what we have done is too terrible to be forgiven or to tell someone. But nothing can get in the way of God’s love for us – no terrible sin, no scary thoughts, no faraway place. Jesus defeated death – there is nothing too big for him to deal with.

Today you could also do the Easter Meringues recipe in preparation for tomorrow. If you would like to do something extra. (You will need a hollow chocolate egg or blown usual egg for tomorrow).

Prayer:

Thank you for your power Jesus, power that raised you from the dead, power that defeated death, power that sets me free from sin. Help me to believe and call on you when I need your help.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families. x

Family Eastering – Spices

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 10: Spices – an act of love

spices

Verse: John 19 v 40

Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Activity:

Try wrapping one another in strips of cloth (or a roll of toilet paper). Smell different spices, essential oils, hand lotions etc.

Reflection:

In Jesus time a dead body was anointed with spices and wrapped in strips of fabric before being buried. Two men asked to be able to take his body to do this before he was buried. This was a great act of love by these men who both loved Jesus even though while he was living they were scared to admit that. They gave him proper preparation using their own resources, because of their love for him.

Prayer:

Jesus thank you that you accept our love for you, even when we sometimes get worried and scared. Thank you that these two men loved you very much. Help me to love you too.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families. x