Mary’s Love

Read John 19

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother,”Woman, behold, your son!”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. . – John 19:25-27 (RSV)

As parents, we see our children through their times as babies, toddlers, children, and teenagers.  We pray for our children and promise to protect them, to hold them, and to love them through everything.  When our children hurt, we hurt for them and want to take away any hurt and pain.  I know Mary prayed for Jesus and gave him the same assurances as we do as parents today. On Good Friday, Mary couldn’t do anything about the pain and suffering Jesus endured as He went through the trial, persecution, and suffering on the cross.  She could not hold him and keep him from that harm.  All she do on that day was to love him as he hung on the cross and as her heart broke for him, the son she brought into this world in a manger, raised through the toddler years, early childhood years, and teenage years.  She then witnessed him as he called His disciples and showed His ministry to the world.  She loved him – she was his mother.

There is a beautiful song, “Pieta”, from the cantata, “The Power of the Cross” by Mark Hayes.  This piece so clearly shows the agony Mary experienced as Jesus went through his suffering on that day.  The more I have listened to the piece, the more I have visualized Mary as she followed Jesus through the day and then to the cross.  She could do nothing but to follow him holding on to the only promise she could fulfill, to love Him.   I had the opportunity to sing this solo several years ago at Collierville United Methodist Church, and I must say that for me, this was a once in a lifetime solo with the most powerful words I have ever sung.  I share this today. (My apologies – I shared from the beginning of the solo, but couldn’t stop at the end…you can either stop or listen to the rest of the cantata)

“Pieta”

Prayer:   Our most gracious Father, how difficult it must have been for you to send your son, Jesus Christ, to earth knowing that he would be sacrificed for our sins in such a terrible and painful way.  But you loved the world so much that You sent him, that whoever believed in Him would have eternal life.  Thank you.  Amen

Prayer Focus:  MOTHERS LOVE

The True Meaning of Christmas

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Thought for the Day:  Remember the true meaning of Christmas

Over the past weeks, since Thanksgiving, actually, the busyness of the Christmas Season and end of school semester has kicked into full gear.  Children’s musical, school observations, grading, planning for Christmas parties, Christmas Cantata rehearsals, etc.  My mind has been put to the ultimate test. This weekend has been spent doing the chores around the house that have been put off for weeks and now, I sit and ponder.  I sit and ponder what it is all about.

Our children’s musical, “Christmas Spirit”, was presented one week ago with children remarkably telling us about the True Meaning of Christmas.  Experiencing the cast members learning their parts so perfectly and so quickly (to my amazement) was such an answer to prayer, and the choir learning the music to such beautiful songs touched my heart.  My heart was touched several times during the rehearsals, but one thing touched me more than any other.  It was when I saw with my eye one cast member “getting it”.  As the lines were rehearsed, we noticed that this child smiled at times when the character should have been very serious.  In watching, we realized that the reason for the smile was that she didn’t understand what the lines meant.  How does a young child understand the meaning of the birth of Christ and the meaning of the Crucifixion? As we shared with the child that Christ is the Son of God who was born in a manger and who died by being hung on a cross for us – for her, she began having a look in her eye of understanding.  She had heard the story of Jesus Christ before, but had never understood the true meaning.  During the presentation, she was able to portray her character perfectly and was able to tell the true meaning of Christmas.  So, what is the true meaning of Christmas.  “That God loves me…He sent His Son beloved, to die on Calvary.  And on Christmas morning, a new hope was born – and now I know the secret.  That’s what Christmas means to me.”

The Christmas musical was about a little girl who saw all the hustle and bustle of the season in the gifts given and the craziness that surrounds the time.  In her heart, she knew there must be more…but no one gave her a satisfactory answer.  It took a dream, or was it a dream, for her to get the answer and for her family to see the answer as well.  That was the same little girl who “got it” in rehearsal.  And she told the true meaning of Christmas to those in attendance.

During the coming weeks, as we go through the hustle and bustle, keep in the forefront of your mind the true meaning of Christmas.  The true meaning of Christmas is that God loves you…He sent his Son to die on Calvary…for you.  Hear that…for you, He died on the cross for you.

Prayer:  God, thank you for sending your Son to be born in a manger for us, and for sending Him to die on the cross for us.  This love you showed to each of us should not be overlooked by the hustle and bustle of the season.  Please forgive us when we let busyness and selfishness keep us from seeing You.  Be with us each day to help us hear over and over the true meaning of Christmas.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  The True Meaning of Christmas

One Voice Among Many

004messiah2Luke 2:11-14

For to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and Saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.” 

Thought for the Day:  Hear clearly the love of God in Your heart

The conductor woke early to listen and rehearse the music one more time prior to leaving to go to the church.  The orchestra instrumentalists arrived, took their seats, placed their music on the stands, and tuned together for the perfect sound.  The choir members arrived, took their seats, put their music in place, and warmed up their voices.  The conductor placed his music, made sure the choir and orchestra were in place, and began rehearsing the pieces.  The pastors came, took their seats, adjusted their microphones, and looked over their words one more time.  The tech people came, placed microphones, set the lighting program, and ran their sound checks.  The people came, found their seats, and waited in great anticipation.

The time came and the music for the Cantata of Handel’s Messiah began.  Those rehearsed voices and instruments brought the words to life in a brilliant way.  As I listened to the instruments, I was amazed how each had very different sounds and played different notes from one another, but the sounds came together to create the sound Handel composed so many years ago.  As we began singing and I sang the alto part of each piece, I sang each note and word as we had rehearsed.  But on this day, the day we presented Handel’s Messiah, I realized that my alto part was only a small portion of the total work and that the beauty came fully only when all the instruments and voices came together as one.  As I awake the morning after our Christmas Cantata where we presented the Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah, I ask myself the question, “Was the message of Jesus Birth and how He came to Earth as was prophesized long before clear?”  “Did the love of God come to the hearts of each person present?”  I ask the question, “Did God come into my heart?”  My answer is “Yes, God did come into my heart.”  The hustle and bustle of the Season was not thought of during that time so His Word was able to come through clearly and in a magnificent way.

Prayer:  God, thank you for your awesome love for us.  You sent Your precious Son to come live on earth as a human, and let us feel His love for us so many years ago.  Thank you for giving people the talents to write about You in such magnificent ways that we lose ourselves in You for a few minutes and know You are with us in that moment.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Handel’s Messiah