As we enter the traditional holiday season of yuletide celebration, we are reminded of our holidays of yesteryear. May we honor and bless these memories in our hearts forever and forge new and different memories of love, joy, and peace.
We are grateful for the abundant love and light you have given us in this season of giving. From the lighting of the candles of Hanukkah burning bright, the newborn babe in the Christmas manger bringing light to the world, to the candles of Kwanza producing identity, purpose, and direction. Let us, with one voice, proclaim love. The love of our Creator. The love inside each and every one of us – and may this love be given to others. Others who want to accept our free gift.
Bowing our heads in deep reverence or lifting our heads up high to the heavens, we humbly ask for more comfort and joy this holiday season.
May you pour your blessings on us all and grant us extra peace.
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17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this… 47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Luke 22:17-23 & 47-49
Thought: In this game-changer passage, Jesus takes the annual ritual of Passover and turns it upside down. It is here in this story; we learn that the kiss of betrayal leads to the declaration that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb of Passover. Passover is a celebration of the Angel of Death, passing over the Israelites, who had placed the blood from a sacrificial lamb upon their doorways to keep their families safe. It is about the plagues set upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
In Exodus 12:14, this is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. In Luke, Peter and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, prepare the Passover meal. Christians call this the Last Supper. It is here that Jesus blesses the elements of Passover and creates a new covenant, thus transitioning Passover to the Last Supper. Jesus proclaims He is the Lamb, His body – the bread and His blood – the wine. No longer will God’s chosen people have to sacrifice a lamb for the forgiveness of sins. Right here, Jesus is announcing his death to come, and He is the lamb sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Thanks be to God. Happy Passover!
In this blog post, I have taken the liberty of looking at random phrases in The Bible where the word “fall” is used. Go ahead and read each of them:
Now, re-read them. What do you see? How do you feel? At first, the word submission comes to my mind. Yet, maybe surrendering is the better word. In Julie Lopes’ blog, Dancing with God, she reflects on the meaning of submission and surrendering. She says that surrendering is an act of love where we respond to an invitation, whereas submission has a power and control element. So, with that, we will look at these phrases collectively from a surrendering viewpoint.
Falling is an act of surrender. Surrendering to God, oneself, and to others. In the first three verses, there is the commonality of anatomy – heads, side, feet. What do you see or feel?
For me, there is a sense of Jesus. Jesus dying on the cross, hanging his head, and being pierced in his side and through his feet. I see a total surrendering. Surrendering of physical body and spirit. Jesus takes his last breath, and in that, he is providing salvation to the world. Abba Father, Why have you forsaken me? Jesus surrendered as an invitation for us to surrender our wants, desires, and purpose to God.
The fourth and fifth verses are analogous to the wealthy man who must sell all of his possessions to “get eternal life.” In this case, the surrendering is his tangible assets. Jesus tells the man if he wants to be perfect, he would need to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor. Scripture says, “he went away sad,” leading to believe he chose his possessions over entering the Kingdom of God.
How often do we feel so secure, confident, and powerful that we would not want to give that up? Some of us work hard in our careers wishing to get to the next leadership position, and we don’t. Promotions are sometimes given to those who don’t work as hard. Or those who have less tenure? Or, perhaps to the person with the right pedigree, not the one who actually has the skills and experience. Falling from a secure position requires trust. And faith. Often, we fail to see what is ahead of us, or at least we fail in trusting God to direct our lives. Speaking from experience, God wants the details, and God wants alone time with you. We need to place our lives, position, power, and children in God’s hands. Then, we can enter into eternal life. Essentially, we need to “die” to self and “live” to faith.
We can’t get up unless we have fallen. The last verse is speaking to all of us. We will all have hills and valleys in life. In other words, trials and tribulations are part of it. And to overcome these obstacles, we must fall into them, and through them, we can come out the other side as more robust and more faithful people.
In this Fall season of thanksgiving, I invite you to “fall.” “Fall” into your hills and valleys, and lying in the depths of the ravine, cry out to God. Give God your everything. Only then you will be able to stand tall, brush yourself off, and spread God’s love to others.
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