Granbury First UMC Blog Posts

Lent Devotionals: Friday, April 14

The Light in the Darkness

 
 
Billy’s parents would put him to bed every night by kissing him on the forehead and telling him that they loved him. What Billy’s parents didn’t know is that Billy was afraid of the dark. When he would lay down and close his eyes his little heart would start racing and thoughts of monsters in his room would run through his head.
One night, when Billy’s mother was kissing his head, Billy said, “Mommy, I’m afraid monsters come in my room when you turn my light out.” His mother said; “Billy, what makes you think monsters come in your room?” Billy said, “They’re smart. They know that I can’t see them when it’s dark so they sneak in so they can get me.”
Darkness is, by definition, the absence of light. In darkness our vision is limited, if not non-existent. Without vision, we are unable to see what surrounds us, and that can be frightening. Just as Billy was afraid of the dark, I imagine Jesus’ disciples experienced an overwhelming sense of panic, perhaps terror, the moment he died on the cross:
It was now about
noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time. (Luke 23:44-46, CEB)
For the next three days, the world would be without the light of Christ.
This Sunday is Easter Sunday. Churches all over the world will experience their highest worship attendance of the year. People will come to church wanting to feel good about the resurrected Jesus. But, in order to fully appreciate Easter, we have to go through Holy Week. We can’t dismiss Maundy Thursday. We can’t divorce ourselves of Good Friday.
The light cannot be fully understood without the darkness. The goodness of God cannot be fully appreciated without an awareness of evil.
As you journey through the myriad of emotions Holy Week brings; the companionship of Christ as you take Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday and the overwhelming sadness and of Christ’s suffering on Good Friday, don’t forget to live into the fullness of the joy Easter Sunday
brings.

Christ is the light that overwhelms the darkness. Because of this, we no longer need to be afraid of the dark. We can live into a new and restored relationship with our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Sustainer. Amen?

May God’s grace and peace give you strength,
Pastor Scott

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of the darkness into his amazing light.” (1 Peter 2:9, CEB)

Rev. Scott Goodfellow
Senior Pastor

 


Lent Devotionals: Thursday, April 13

Maundy Thursday…Serve In a Way That Makes You Uncomfortable

 
 

We have finally come to the end of our Journey through the wilderness, and arrived here in the middle of Holy Week. Today is Maundy Thursday. Some Traditions call it Passion Thursday, Holy Thursday, or Paschal Thursday. For many countries around the world, it is even set aside as a public holiday. Most scholars agree that the English word maundy in that name for the day is derived from the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.
This past summer, we took our Lifesong students on our annual summer trip. It was quite an eventful drive to San Francisco, especially after losing the rear A/C on the bus in southern California. While in downtown SF, we served with an organization called “City Team.” This is a great ministry to the marginalized and needy that live on the streets in that area. The most impactful part of our day was that afternoon when many of us had the opportunity to serve in the foot care station.
At the foot care station, any and all of those that had come to enjoy the meal that we were also helping to serve could sign up for foot care. This included a volunteer washing their feet, visiting with them, and finally giving them a brand new pair of fresh, soft, white cotton socks. Personally, I was not looking forward to this event at all… let’s just say that I have a bit of an aversion to feet. But, I did it and I’m glad I did. Not only that, it was indescribably beautiful to watch our students serve in such a way as they too washed feet.
There was something really transcendent about that day, especially as I ponder on it on this day that commemorates the day Jesus washed his disciples feet. Let’s face it, for all intents and purposes, society and the systems in place all say that Jesus is superior to the Disciples and that they should in fact be serving him. Yet again, as he tends to do, Jesus very gently says, “ I know what you’ve been told and what you think…but I want to show you a different way.” Jesus gives us a perfect example of servant leadership. It would have been far easier for Jesus to delegate tasks and remain in his elevated status, but that’s not who he is.
Maundy Thursday is a day of servanthood, and love for one another. This Holy Thursday reminds us that what society tells us is the norm is not always how Jesus would have us interact with those we encounter. Society’s way is always easier, but the life of a servant is not always. It can be smelly, unpleasant, uncomfortable, and even at times ugly. Jesus’ example tells us that a little humility goes a long way. When society is screaming for us to take, Jesus calls us to give. Have you been taken out of your comfort zone lately? Find ways to spread the love of Christ that make you uncomfortable….you’ll be glad you did!

Rev. Corey Moses
Associate Pastor