Sunday, March 21st, 2021
Hello friends —
Welcome to Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent and two weeks before Easter Sunday. During this particular season of Lent I am enjoying a devotional written by Henri J. M. Nouwen, “Show Me The Way.” In today’s reading I have learned something new and that excites me. Are you a person who is always looking for signs? I have to admit I do read my fortune cookies mostly for fun, and I’ve twisted the stem of an apple off saying ABC’s to see what letter starts the name of the person I like?, getting all green lights when driving, etc., these are fun things to do to distract from ordinary life. Just for fun, for me. Not judging here.
Fun interruptions in our everyday lives can provide respite for our mental health. Laughter is good for the soul.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)
✅⁉️ Signs 🛑 Signs ⁉️✅
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said, ‘we should like to see a sign from you.’ He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah remained in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”
— Matthew 12:38-40 —
From this one can see what the authentic sign is: not some sensational miracle or (a fun things that distraction from ordinary life) but the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The great sign, which can be understood only by those who are willing to follow Jesus, is the sign of Jonah, who also wanted to run away from reality but was summoned back by God to fulfill his arduous task to the end. To look suffering and death straight in the face and to go through them oneself in the hope of a new God-given life: that is the sign of Jesus and of every human being who wishes to lead a spiritual life in imitation of him. It is the sign of the cross: the sign of suffering and death, but also of the hope for total renewal.(1)
Nouwen writes this about life, “it is better to live the truth with eyes open than to live life in an illusion.”(2)
The reality of life is we will all have suffering and we all will face death. Sure, it’s possible to try and deny reality for a plethora of reasons but in the end, death can not be escaped. Facing life and its many challenges will be difficult but not impossible. “The core message of Jesus is that real joy and peace can never be reached while bypassing suffering and death, but only by going right through them.”(3)
When we choose to face life and it’s true reality, not through eyes of disparity but through the eyes of Jesus, we just might discover hidden miracles and promises where we lest expect them. These promises and miracles are stronger than death or the shadows of death. Jesus has already conquered death, and death will not have the final word. Jesus invites us to face the painful reality of our existence with the same trust he had in his Father, our Father, God!
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
— 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV) —
Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:
~ Music Day – Sunday 5
Spend the day singing and listening to religious music. After all, “when you sing you pray twice.” — Quote attributed to Augustine
You have the words of eternal life,
you are food and drink,
you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
You are the light that shines in the darkness,
the lamp on the lamp stand, the house on the hilltop.
You are the perfect Icon of God.
In and through you I can see the Heavenly Father,
and with you I can find my way to him.
Be my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer,
my Guide, my Consoler, my Comforter,
my Hope, my Joy, and my Peace.
To you I want to give all that I am.
Let me give you all —
all I have, think, do, and feel.
It is yours, O Lord.
Please accept it and make it fully your own.
~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.
Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing
(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 100, 102, paragraph 2, 1 respectively.
(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 101, paragraph 2.
(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 101, paragraph 3.
(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation
(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha
(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation