Sunday, April 3
Lent 5: Mary Anointing Jesus’ Feet (John 12:1-8)
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
Monday, April 4
“Finding Spiritual Insight” by Sonja Selbo
Negaunee MI, April 1998. It was a city of roofs. No doors. No windows. No porches. Just roofs – and big snow. The warming of spring gradually revealed more and more architectural features, and the city changed. As the snow receded, my perception changed of this place I then called home. Houses came into view. Sidewalks appeared. Streets grew wider. Robins returned, the state bird that lives a greater part of each year elsewhere.
This gradual change in perception is much like our Lenten journey. Our spiritual view can be obstructed by daily living. The things of Lent, worship music, scriptures, conversations, gradually strip away the clutter that keeps us from what we need most, a deeper relationship with God.
My most spiritual experience that Lenten season had nothing to do with the things I gave up. It had to do with what I could give up. In a ritual of mundane dusting, I was drawn into thinking about each item I touched. How much did I need it – really need it? In that profound trip through the world of household dirt, even things I treasure lost their value. I felt strangely free. I wish I could say that I entered a vast new spiritual realm. The cluttered burden returned about the time I started washing the floor. But it’s a vital moment – a gift of spiritual insight. Even with the awesome sacrifice of Jesus, and the more awesome mystery of resurrection, a momentary spiritual insight is a great gift – one more sign of new life.
Tuesday, April 5
“A Lost Friend” by Rachel Pritchett
In the middle of the night one summer long ago, my mother whisked me from my bed. We got dressed and walked silently through the darkness to a neighbor’s house. On the porch was a gathering of familiar friends and neighbors, all weeping. In the middle was my best friend, Doris, her brother Kenneth, and their mother Asta. They were secretly being whisked off to Norway, where they had come from, to escape Asta’s painful marriage.
No one explained any of this to me, but I joined in with the hugs, cried and said good-bye to Doris. Mom and I went home and I went back to bed.
I was 5. I had lost my cherished friend.
We had been inseparable. With our long blond ponytails and dressed alike in pink sweaters over white blouses, pleated plaid skirts and tennis shoes, we were the ambassadors of our north Seattle neighborhood. We were very shy, but together we regularly knocked on every door, and got friendly greetings, treats and duties like walking the dog to make us feel useful. We stole raspberries and made daily pilgrimages to Mrs. Lynn’s store for candy. We played hopscotch on the sidewalk and swung on Doris’s front porch rails to watch the 16 Meridian bus slice through our little lives on Woodlawn Avenue North.
At Doris’s, we sat at the kitchen table in dripping bathing suits hoping for a piece of lefsa that Asta was making. We emptied her cupboards to play house. When I was home, I talked to Doris on the phone until my father finally picked up the extension and intoned, “That’s enough; hang up!”
After that night on the porch, Doris and I became pen pals.
I worked on my alphabet and handwriting, and learned to construct sentences that I could use to describe my life to Doris. I read my letters to my class. She did the same. I learned that it snowed all the time in Norway and she and Kenneth got to ski to school. I got to use special striped, blue air-mail envelopes with unusual stamps. I sent “across-the-miles” cards at Christmas, and in turn received glittery “God Jul” cards from Doris. We vowed to stay friends forever.
Our letters continued as our lives unfolded. Doris had to marry early in a hurry. There was just enough time for Asta to stitch up a wedding dress so Doris could wed a beer-drinking motorcyclist Asta didn’t like in the least. But he grew into being the best husband and provider ever. There were four wonderful children and now grandchildren.
Doris came back to Seattle several times and we edged in visits. Over the years, we were there for each other through our letters, especially for life’s big events like marriages, children, sicknesses, triumphs, and passings. There was always this voice of support for me that rang out from Kristiansand, Norway. Sixty years later, incredibly, she is still my best friend.
I recently received a glittery God Jul card from Doris. That beer-drinking motorcyclist that Asta couldn’t stand now is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s Disease. He is only 66.
Not to worry. I wrote a letter to Doris full of sage advice I hope I’ve gained from caring for my own mother. I suppose in the not-to-distant future I’ll show up at Doris’s door with a helping hand.
It turns out that on that porch 60 years ago, I never lost my friend.
This reflects the relationship you and I have with God. In difficult times when we feel alone, God does not abandon us. He is always, always there. Sometimes you have to look back over the years to see His arm, and in this case, it turns out He was holding me tight all the time. God found me.
Wednesday, April 6
Cross/Resurrection (John 19:16b-18; 20:19-23)
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Thursday, April 7
“Lost and Found” by Gail Christensen
In the dark of a November Sunday, I lost one hearing aid when removing my mask somewhere between Commodore’s cafeteria and the high school entrance. It was difficult to see such a small but important item in the dark. At daylight I went back to the area retracing my steps. I did not find this very tiny item.
Because of the pandemic it was difficult to get an appointment for a hearing check which was needed before ordering new hearing aids. [My old one was obsolete.] After that it was another wait for the new ones to arrive and be fitted.
At last four months later, I ‘found’ new hearing aids which enrich my life as I am able to hear once more.
Thanks be to God! Rejoice!
Friday, April 8
“When It Seems the Day Will End” Text by Justin Rimbo, b. 1980
When it seems the day will end, and all light gives way to fear, we will speak your name again to remind us your are here. New life rising, ashes falling, joy and weeping, in your calling.
When it seems the day will end, sinking low under our skin, we are dead and board again, and our hearts will be your home. New life rising, ashes falling, joy and weeping, in your calling.
When it seems the day will end, and a coldness fills our bones, we will walk the way you’ve been, and our hearts will be your home. New life rising, ashes falling, joy and weeping, in your calling.
Saturday, April 9
Sorrow Will Turn to Joy (John 16:20-22)
Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.