Fran Jones reflects on the Doxology for this week's online devotional. The Doxology is a short hymn expressing praise for the blessings provided by the Holy Trinity. A tradition in use for hundreds of years, singing the Doxology is a way for Christians to worship in unison while praising the awesome glory of God.
Symbols such as Easter eggs, Easter lilies, the Easter Bunny, and the Easter Lamb are familiar in our culture but many of us may be unaware of their origins. In this week's devotional Fran Jones examines the provenance and meaning of these Easter symbols, and also looks at some traditional Easter foods from different regions of the world.
This week our online ministry celebrates Easter, the central event on the Christian calendar. Pastor Bob delivers an Easter message identifying The Resurrection of Jesus as a new paradigm in history, as despair gives way to joy, as death is swallowed up in victory. Fran Jones concludes the devotional with a reflection from 2 Corinthians on the assurance of The Resurrection and what it signifies for those who follow and believe in Jesus.
Palm Sunday 2022
To celebrate Holy Week our online ministry focuses on Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the acclaim of a joyful crowd. The people who welcomed Jesus that day were living under the occupation of the Roman Empire. Like so many over the centuries since and up to our current time, it was a population crying out for salvation. The jubilation of the crowd on Palm Sunday signified a recognition of the Messiah's arrival in Jerusalem. When the Pharisees suggest that Jesus rebuke his disciples for encouraging what Rome would see as a political threat, Jesus says that then 'the very rocks would cry out.' From the highest heaven to the adoring crowd to inanimate rocks on the ground, the declaration is made on Palm Sunday that Jesus is our salvation.
Mary Anoints Jesus
As His ministry draws close to its conclusion, Jesus arrives in the town of Bethany a few days after the death of His friend Lazarus. In a miraculous act, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Mary and Martha - the sisters of Lazarus - organize a dinner to honor Jesus and celebrate the restored life of their brother. During the dinner Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with an expensive perfume. The disciple Judas complains irreverently about Mary's act, voicing a disingenuous financial objection that elicits a rebuke from Jesus. Judas can't appreciate Mary's expression of love and gratitude and he fails to perceive the meaning of her act of devotion.
Maisie and Molly
This week we are happy to welcome two guests for a special canine-themed episode of our online ministry. Saundra McKee delivers a fond remembrance of her dog Maisie. A rescued pet from overseas, Maisie was a well-traveled survivor whose love for the one who saved her can inspire us all to look with joy and love upon our Savior, Jesus Christ. Lynn Sibley concludes the devotional with a loving recollection from the life of her basset hound Molly. Lynn recounts a tale about Molly that illustrates a lesson on persistent faith that eventually finds reward.
Jesus Our Peace
In this week's online devotional, Pastor Bob looks at the world's current events through the lens of Christ's ministry. When approaching Jerusalem shortly before His trial, Jesus wept over the city in anticipation of the future destruction of the Temple, lamenting the failure of the people to recognize what would bring them peace. When confronted with the topical event of an atrocity in the Temple committed by the Romans, Jesus declared that the victims were not recipients of divine punishment and urged people not to avenge the violence of the Romans but rather to repent for their own sins. Fran Jones concludes the devotional with a reflection on living in unity.
This week our online ministry anticipates the arrival of spring. Pastor Bob reads some Old Testament passages that identify spring as a season of renewal and rebirth. In this time of increased conflict, Christians are called upon by our beliefs to repair and renew a damaged world. Skylar Houck concludes this devotional with a meditation on spring, not only as a time of growth in the natural world, but also as an ideal opportunity to focus on one's own mental and spiritual growth.