Afterward, we read of his
promised hope, Christ rising, and we share communion.
A “station” is a place of transition –
crossing over from the average, to the extraordinary; a place of transition from the mundane, to the Holy; meeting with God.
For weeks in advance of Resurrection Sunday, in our
Churches, we have been exploring “Holiness,” giving attention to Holy thresholds, intentionally setting apart
“time” to be with God. Slowing our hurried lives, to encounter God – just to be with Him.
Now I know that Christmas and Easter (the resurrection)
get the most press as being the high points of the Christian calendar, but for me, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday (remembering
our Lord’s suffering and death for us), hold the highest sentiment, and love.
So, combining Holy Thursday and Good Friday into one remembrance can be a very emotional thing. They contain a reflection of our church values; employing many of the things that we hold dear.
First, with our western mindset of consumerism, personal
comfort, and living a “have-it-all” lifestyle, we value intentionally stopping life and selfishness to set apart
time to think about just what it cost God to set things right. We gathered together
to share our meal first (the fellowship, or laughter), working toward leaving our meeting hopeful, yet contemplative and somber
as we intentionally carry the thoughts of Jesus’ pain and cost of loving us undeservedly.
The service is Holy; containing our Ordinances, but
probably most importantly, the command to Love each other; being with the marginalized, the hurt, the economically disadvantaged
– the poor. After all, we are all poor – or at least called to it.
“Be of the same mind one toward another. Don’t set your mind on high things, but associate with
the humble. Don’t be wise in your own conceits.” (Ro. 12:16)
We live certainly, in Laodicea, today in the US. With all of our advantages economically to do good, we neglect the poor. Spending
time and dollars on our own comforts both personally, and within the church walls. Simply
associating with (becoming true friends with), and taking care of the poor would make us rich in God’s eyes.
It was personally humbling for me to remember Jesus’
sacrifice for All of us in the room; those who have jobs; middle class; those who
had no home – who were taken in, and befriended; friends who’s ministry has just begun, being released from jail
Monday, Wednesday, helping to give hope to another who was about to give up, and crying with us as we sung “Child of
God;” those who can never hold a “normal job,” and folks who find, and are grateful for God’s provision
in a dumpster. Within the context of this simple service, we have everything
in common, observing the Stations of the Cross, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, loving each other, and
blessing the least of these, in Jesus’ family.
I don’t mean to come off as scolding the church,
but we certainly have lost our moorings when church is relegated to “how” we do church, rather than showing our
religion by what we do. (Jas. 2:18)
I was taught in seminary (and have heard many times)
that when God mentions something more than once, he is trying drawing our attention to something very important to him. There are more than 3000 references in the Bible about taking care of the poor and
downtrodden. I am certain that our Lord is pleased with us (the church) when
we elevate “the least of these.”
Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto a mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples
came to him. He opened his mouth and taught them, saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. "Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted. "Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth. "Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. "Blessed are
the pure in heart, for they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. "Blessed are
those who have been persecuted for righteousness` sake, for theirs is the Kingdom
of Heaven. "Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you,
and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. "Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in
heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has
lost its flavor, what will it be salted with? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of
men. (Matt. 5:1-13)
** Certain portions above were obtained
from, and used by permission of the Christian Resource Institute.