Maundy Thursday

Sam Mahlstadt —  April 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.

Jesus and Justice

Sam Mahlstadt —  April 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

Spending the day today on the campus of Drake University representing The Move Project.

Pretty fitting in this season of Lent, engaging in the depravity of man as evidenced in the continuation of slavery.

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This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.

I am meeting with people from my workplace over the lunch hour to read scripture from the Common Lectionary and discuss the implications of following Jesus in our culture. We met yesterday, and got to know each other a bit more, and had some lively discussion. Then, we read through scripture together, read a poem from the Desert Fathers, and shared the peace of Christ with each other.

This all happened in a little conference room in the heart of what many would call the center of the Empire. And we kept that in mind as we wrestled together with what it means to be followers of Jesus right here, right now. It feels like a small gathering of rebels. A true insurrection. :)

I don’t share this as a way to spotlight my holiness or anything like that. Far from it. I share it to encourage you. As I’ve blogged through Lent this year, my eyes have been opened to the depth and mystery of the season. I have, as I’ve shared, never observed Lent, and never paid much attention to the Church calendar before. While attempting to establish a rhythm to my spiritual practices, I’ve become (at least it feels like it) increasingly in tune with God. And this little burst of insurrection happening in a conference room has made my soul come alive. I’d like the same for you.

Grace and peace to you on this Holy Tuesday.

This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.

Our church just wrapped up a 5-month sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. Yesterday, Paul Stewart preached on the fruit of the spirit being a result of abiding in God. Not something we can work at, but something that results from abiding in God. As an exercise, he had us write down the 9 gifts Paul (the apostle, not my pastor) references in Galations. Then, we placed one of the following indicators, based on our self-assessment: S = superior, P = pretty darn good, and N = needs improvement.

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Generosity
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. Self control

It was a unique exercise, judging the qualities that result not from effort but from abiding in God. I instantly felt the tension of wanting to try really hard to improve my “scores” in both my eyes, and in the eyes of God. Of course, I’ll never get “good” at love, joy, peace, etc. unless I seek Christ above all things. Paul (pastor not apostle) presented the message in an equally convicting, comforting way. You can get the entire sermon here. It was an appropriate reflection for entering into Holy Week.

Speaking of which…today is Holy Monday. Join me today in reflecting on the processional to Jerusalem during this Holy Week.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “ It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him. The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.

What are you up to in your spare time? Or…
What has your attention right now?

Of course, I ask this during a reflective season in the Church calendar. Do you find yourself engaged in reflection?

Sorry, that was more like 2.5 questions. :)

This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.