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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Holy Week's Silent Day

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).

On Christmas Eve we love to sing "Silent Night."  What many don't realize is that Holy Week gives us a Silent Day.  And that day is Wednesday.

The Gospel has plenty to say about the first Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.  It even mentions Holy Saturday, the Sabbath, on which our Lord rested in the tomb.  But about Wednesday the Gospel says nothing - not a word.  This is surely intentional on the part of the Holy Spirit, and full of meaning.

The fourth day, the middle day, of Holy Week is a day of silence.  The lesson?  The words and works of Jesus are essential, and so is a period of silence in which to reflect upon them deeply.  But often this silence and stillness is missing from our lives.

Richard Wurmbrand wrote: "We are victims of a plot against silence, without which no spiritual life is possible.  We are subjected daily to the noise of cars, trains, planes, radio, TV, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, fans, etc.  I have known Christians who have spent years in solitary confinement in complete silence.  When they once again heard humans speak, they wondered that so much of their speech lacked content.  If you wish to reach God, create some silence around you.  Switch off the many intruders on silence.  Enter your closet, or teach your loved ones to be quiet at certain hours."

Turns out that Holy Week comes complete with a day for being quiet - for being still, and knowing that Jesus is God in the flesh, and blood, for our salvation.

Wednesday, Holy Week's silent day.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Flowers of Our Faith

I wrote this devotion many years ago.

"The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come" (Song 2:12).

Late on a Sunday afternoon I arrived at the nursing home to visit Eileen.  I am documenting what happened on that visit because it's going to be hard to beat.

First I stopped to say hello to Carol, the receptionist at the front desk.  She was putting the finishing touches on greeting cards she makes for her own use or sells for just two dollars each.  They're worth much more.  On the front of each one are bright, beautiful flowers.  She paints each and every one - no copies.  I marveled at the work and her talent.  I looked at all of them and then asked if I could borrow two of them to show Eileen.  I picked out the carnations and the roses.

Eileen was sitting on the edge of her bed as if waiting for me.  She enjoyed very much looking at the cards and hearing how Carol had painted them.  I suddenly realized that God had arranged something very special.

"Eileen," I said, "these flowers can teach us our faith!  Do you want to know how?"  She did of course.  "Let's start with the carnations.  They can remind us of the Incarnation, when God's Son was conceived by the Holy Spirit and became man for us."  We talked about that a bit more.  Then we looked at the roses again.  "Of what do they remind us?" I asked.  She correctly remembered that a rose is part of Luther's seal.  "That's right," I said, "but there's something even more!  Let's go find it together!"  So we began saying the Apostles' Creed slowly but surely until we came to the words: "The third day He rose again from the dead."

"There's the rose!" I exclaimed.

"There it is!" she said as excitedly as I.

We finished saying the creed.  We sang a hymn together and then, holding hands, prayed the Lord's Prayer.  Lastly I showed her a small crucifix and instructed her never to forget it.

"I'm going to go tell Carol what we did with her beautiful cards - and you helped me, Eileen!  It's because of my time with you that I have a new devotion to share with others!"

Four dollars later I left the nursing home with those two cards and a bright, beautiful way to teach others our holy Christian faith.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

11

Jesus, by grace You were lifted up, on the cross, so that we sinners could look at You and not perish but have eternal life. Amen.

Numbers 21:4-9, Ephesians 2:1-10, and John 3:14-21

Monday, March 8, 2021

10

Jesus, You kept for us the commandments and paid, with Your blood, for our many sins against them. Amen.

Exodus 20

Monday, March 1, 2021

9

Jesus, teach us how to pray, giving us the words to say - words our Father loves to hear from His children true and dear. Amen.

Luke 11:1-2