Remembering During Holy Week…

     Easter is just around the corner. During this Holy Week, today, March 29th, is remembered as Maundy Thursday.

     Each person who decides to be intentional about his or her spiritual journey will undoubtedly experience memorable moments when the air between Heaven and earth feels thin. Praying among ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane—the very place where many points defining Jesus’ life purpose converged—was one of those times for me.

     On Thursday, Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples, and the sacrament of communion was established.

     Following their ‘Last Supper,’ they walked together to the Garden of Gethsemane.

     In the Garden Jesus agonized, praying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;

      the Garden Jesus gave us the ultimate example of submission when he said, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 23:39 NKJV)

     In the Garden Jesus’ weary disciples couldn’t stay awake to pray for their master teacher and friend whom they suspected was the long-awaited Messiah.

     In the Garden Judas planted a kiss of betrayal on Jesus’ cheek.

     In the Garden Roman soldiers arrested an innocent man.

     The hours between Thursday and Friday must have been dizzying for those who loved Jesus. Even though Jesus had tried to prepare his disciples for what was about to happen, I imagine the thought overwhelmed their comprehension.

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The Garden of Gethsemane

     Tomorrow, March 30th, many of us will attend Good Friday services during which we’ll consider the unimaginable suffering of Jesus on a Roman cross. His willing submission became the ultimate sacrifice for all the ways we frail humans miss the mark of God’s perfection.

     When I was in Barcelona recently, my group, along with a throng of folks from around the world, visited the most popular tourist site in Spain. The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is an amazing large Roman Catholic church that has been under construction for over 100 years. The photo below shows one side of the church, which depicts Christ’s crucifixion.

     While dying a torturous death, Jesus said, “It is finished.” His earthly journey as Emmanuel—God with us—had concluded, but the character and love of God that Jesus came to show were far from over.

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain

     Signs of ongoing construction visible in this photograph remind me Jesus’ agonizing death does not signify the end. His work of redemption on the cross continues to us living more than 2000 years later.

     As I conclude today’s post, I pray each of us will:

  • Consider Christ’s submission to God in the Garden on Maundy Thursday, exploring areas of our own willfulness the Spirit may be inviting us to submit to God’s higher will.
  • Give thanks for Christ’s willingness to endure the agony of the cross on Good Friday. If we are carrying a heavy burden right now, ask God to give us strength to keep moving forward with faith and determination. If our burden is light during this season, ask God to show us whose load we can help ease.
  • Together, rejoice in the miracle of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, giving thanks for the gift of life each new day brings.

Happy Easter!!

Sue Reeve

P. S. To all who told me they were praying for me, thank you. Each day I’m feeling a bit better, and I appreciate your faithfulness to pray!

Considering Ancient Paths

Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.

(Jeremiah 6:16 RSV)

     One of my first realizations as the group commenced our eleven-day educational pilgrimage in Toledo, Spain, on March 9, 2018, was the blend of modern and ancient in this beautiful country. Much of Spain speaks of antiquity, but modern conveniences are plentiful. (I even discovered a Starbucks in old Barcelona!)

Toledo, Spain, where ancient and modern blend beautifully.

      Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, was encouraged to look and to consider “ancient paths.” This is what I was privileged to do during my recent time in Spain. I observed sites where ancient men and women lived out their faith. I considered obstacles they encountered.

     I’ll be pondering for a long-time the ways in which their lives continue to influence believers five centuries later. I’m asking God to show me how their 16th Century “paths” apply to this 21st Century “freeway” gal.

     Answers are dawning slowly. I haven’t felt well since returning home, and after several days of believing my malaise was due to jet-lag and allergies, I now wonder if I may be dealing with a full-blown case of the flu. In the coming days, I’ll share additional thoughts about the men and women I encountered on “ancient paths” in Spain, but right now, I plan to practice the final line of Jeremiah 6:16 and “find rest…”

Blessings to all…

Sue Reeve

An “ancient pathway” in Toledo, which is still used by both pedestrians and autos today.

An Invitation to Make a Pilgrimage

We have received an invitation. We are invited to make a pilgrimage—into the heart and life of God.

…Dallas Willard

     Pilgrims journey to sacred places—often located far away—to experience God anew and afresh.

     This pilgrim’s weary body sunk into her familiar, comfortable bed at 12:45 a.m. last Monday. After more than 24 hours of grueling travel, it felt mighty good to be home again!

     My long-anticipated educational pilgrimage to Spain is now history. No doubt, it will take the remainder of my lifetime to sort through and process the recent eleven-day trek of discovery during which I was able to experience God in new, fresh ways.

     More thoughts (and pictures) about my time in Spain will follow, but today, I want to focus on wise words written by Dallas Willard, reminding us we don’t need to travel to faraway, geographic locations to make a pilgrimage.

     God is always inviting me—and you—to journey more deeply into the mystery of faith, into the very heart and life of the Divine.

     So, friend and fellow pilgrim, let’s keep journeying on!

Asking God to give us joy in our pilgrim journeys…

Sue Reeve