On Preparing for Easter

Holy Week is upon us, perhaps bringing the thought of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, or Easter to your mind. I wonder, though, if any of us think of Maundy Thursday, that just before Good Friday? Maundy Thursday recalls the Passover that Jesus shared with his disciples, which we often refer to as The Last Supper (recorded in John 13). The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for “command,” referencing the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Supper,

“Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Simon Peter asks Jesus where He is going.

“Where I am going you cannot follow me now,
but you will follow afterward.”

Just before this, Jesus has washed his disciples’ feet, which would customarily have been done by a servant. He has also led them in the inaugural observance of communion.

“This is My body, broken for you.
This is My blood, shed for you.”

Can you imagine the disciples’ confusion?

Keep reading at Sparrow Conference.

ascension of the Lord.

On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.

Ascension of the Lord
(also called “Feast of the Ascension”)

What’s this holy day all about?
Ascension of the Lord is the observance of the fortieth day after the Resurrection (celebrated on Easter), when Jesus ascended into Heaven. The ascension is recorded in Acts 1:1-11.

What’s the history of this observance?
“Though the New Testament writers don’t devote a lot of words to explaining the details and significance of Jesus’ ascent, the Ascension would become an essential part of Christian doctrine. Both the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds include a statement about the Ascension. The church was celebrating the Feast of the Ascension as early as the fifth century, if not earlier” (citation).

What’s it to me?
The Ascension represents a great deal to the Christian, teaching us more about the person and power of Jesus. Jesus does not merely vanish, as He had done before (road to Emmaus), He rises and disappears into the cloud. Tim Keller writes that this may have been to conjure up images of a coronation ceremony. Jesus maintains His humanity as He passes through the time-space continuum and joins the Father.

So…what’s it to me? Let’s be honest. These are the accounts in Scripture that make me think, this. faith. is. nuts. We actually believe this! We actually believe that our God made man dwelt among us, lived a perfect life, died that we may live, was resurrected from the dead, then ascended into heaven. There’s a part of me that almost starts laughing at these crazy realities. I near giggle at the wild, the rampant God-ness of it all. The Ascension calls me to press in to the deep, supernatural, He is a little like us but we are nothing like Him truths of Christianity. And it compels me to long for His return.

A bit more concretely, Jeff Robinson writes that Tim Keller observes:

  1. The ascended Christ is available for loving communication and fellowship. He is supremely personal.
  2. The ascended Christ is supremely powerful. As the ascended king, he is sovereign over every part of the created order.
  3. The ascended Christ guarantees that you can know you are forgiven, accepted, and delighted in by God the Father. He is our advocate who intercedes constantly for us.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
The Ascension of the Lord commemorates the day when Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after the resurrection.

So, how could we observe it?

Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.

Read the Lectionary texts.

Pray the Collect for the Annunciation: Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. 

or

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Take some time to watch the clouds, to consider what it would have been like to watch Jesus pass through them, His promises still ringing in your ears.

Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of the Easter season through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the remainder of the season of Easter/Eastertide.

For kids: Ann Voskamp has assembled a great list of ideas, which includes cloud watching, releasing balloons, and making a rainbow cake to represent the rainbows encircling Jesus on the throne.


I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on the Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

What are your ideas for observing The Ascension?

Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?

Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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the annunciation of the lord.

On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.

Annunciation of the Lord
(also called “Feast of the Annunciation” or “Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”)

What’s this holy day all about?
Annunciation (definition: announcing) of the Lord marks the day when the angel Gabriel came to visit Mary, declaring to her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. The Annunciation is typically observed on March 25th (exactly 9 months before Christmas), but is never celebrated during Holy Week, so this year it is observed on April 4th. It is recorded in Luke 1:26-38. The Annunciation occurs during the season of Eastertide.

What’s the history of this observance?
“The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to at least the 6th century, and is mentioned between AD 530 and 533 in a sermon by Abraham of Ephesus. In the West, the first authentic reference is in the Gelasian Sacramentary in the 7th century. The tenth Synod of Toledo (AD 656), and Trullan Synod (AD 692) speak of the Annunciation feast as universally celebrated in the Catholic Church. In the Acts of the latter council, the feast is exempted from the Lenten fast.” (citation)

What’s it to me?
The Annunciation represents a great deal to the Christian, both in the facts of what actually happened on that miraculous day, and how the story informs our lives even still. Through Gabriel, God declared that, in fulfillment of prophecy, His Son would enter the world, establishing “a kingdom that will never end.” We are reminded of the radical, saving, loving, unstoppable plan of God to redeem humanity back to Himself. Mary’s humility and submission in her response speaks volumes about her deep faith, her strength and her certainty of God’s goodness. She asks how she will become pregnant, and what she is told sounds impossible, yet she believes, though her subsequent pregnancy will likely cause scorn and marginalization by her fiance, Joseph, family and community. She trusts that that which the messenger of God has declared not only will come to pass, but is the best thing that could happen, and she willingly accepts his mission, beckoning us to do the same.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
The Annunciation of the Lord commemorates the day when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her she would become pregnant, give birth, have a Son and name Him Jesus, whose kingdom would have no end.

So, how could we observe it?

Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.

Read the Lectionary texts and pray the Collect for the Annunciation.

Pray the Collect for the Annunciation: Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The unborn Jesus is not often discussed in Evangelicalism. This article presents some interesting reasons why, and observes how the unborn Jesus influences (or should influence) the pro-life position. Celebrate life by supporting a local pregnancy outreach center financially or by asking how you can volunteer.

Consider what it is to be filled with the Spirit as Mary was filled with Jesus. Ponder the Fruit of the Spirit, asking God to make them manifest in your life by the Spirit who lives in you.

Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of the Easter season through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the remainder of the season of Easter/Eastertide.

Add touches of white to your home through decor, flowers or candles.

For kids: In Sweden, this holiday is celebrated with WAFFLES! How fun is that? Make waffles (for any meal) and talk to your kids about how Mary said yes to God even in fear, even before she had all the answers. Celebrate her bravery! Find all kinds of coloring sheets and activities here.


I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on the Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

What are your ideas for observing The Annunciation?

Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?

Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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easter sunday/resurrection day + eastertide.

On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.

Easter Sunday/Resurrection Day + Eastertide

What’s this holy day + season all about?
Rejoice! He is Risen! Easter Sunday is the day we remember Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” visiting the tomb to honor the body of Jesus and finding no body there, but an angel instead. An angel who said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” They remembered and believed, and rushed away to tell the apostles.

“The season of Easter, also called Eastertide, is the seven weeks after Easter, sometimes called “The Great 50 Days” ending in the day of Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.” (citation)

What Holy Days are a part of the Season of Eastertide?
Easter Sunday – March 27
Annunciation of the Lord – April 4
Ascension of the Lord – May 5
Pentecost – May 15

What’s the history of this observance?
“There is evidence that Christians originally celebrated the resurrection of Christ every Sunday, with observances such as Scripture readings, psalms, the Eucharist, and a prohibition against kneeling in prayer. At some point in the first two centuries, however, it became customary to celebrate the resurrection specially on one day each year. Many of the religious observances of this celebration were taken from the Jewish Passover.” (citation)

What’s it to me?
I wrote “this day is everything to us” in response to this question on the Good Friday post. If Friday is everything, Sunday is the fullness of everything. Not only has our sin been paid for, it has been triumphed over. Death is swallowed up in the victory of Christ’s resurrection. We have confidence now that our pain truly is temporary, that though the dark night lingers long, it does not loom forever. The strongest forces of this world have no true power over us, because we are in Jesus Christ, and He has over come them. He is risen, indeed.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
Easter/Resurrection Sunday commemorates the day when Jesus’ tomb was found empty. When, as my three-year-old says, we remember that “HE’S ALIVE AGAIN!”

So, how could we observe it?

Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.

Read the Lectionary texts and liturgy, and pray the Collects for Easter Sunday.

Celebrate the fulfillment of prophecy in the resurrection of Christ in the last day of our Holy week Devotional. Click to have Deep & Lowly: taking refuge in the Suffering Servant emailed to you, and keep it as a resource for future Holy Weeks..

Read Jerusalem Greer’s Holy Week ideas from last year (family friendly).

Celebrate! Gather with friends, family, roommates or members of your church to feast together and rejoice in the truth of the Risen Savior. Share stories from your life of His victory over your pain or sin. Give thanks that the Resurrection gives us hope that He has come and He is coming again.

Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of Easter through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the remainder of the season of Lent.

Add touches of gold + white to your home through decor, flowers or candles. “White and gold are used for Easter, symbolizing the joy of resurrection and the brightness of the day where death is overcome and through which we are invited into new life.” (citation)

For kids: Make Empty Tomb Rolls. Where is Jesus? Magic Watercolor Art. Read the resurrection account from the Jesus Storybook Bible or other children’s bible. Act out the resurrection account together.

Create a playlist from songs we’ve been gathering on the Facebook page, where we asked what people were they have been listening to in order to orient their hearts during Holy Week.

Suggestions:
Death Was Arrested by Gwinnett Worship
Oh the Blood by Kari Jobe
Power of the Cross by Natalie Grant
High Noon by Andrew Peterson
Christ is Risen by Matt Maher
This I Believe, Our Father & Calvary by Hillsong Worship
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
There is a Fountain Filled with Blood
Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
Hallelujah! What a Savior


I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on the Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

What are your ideas for observing Holy Week + Easter Sunday/Eastertide?

Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?

Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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