April 1 (Easter Sunday)

Acts 10:34-43
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Mark 16:1-8
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:8b)

So, now you have to decide.

Did you notice how the women at the tomb brought their practical questions right along with them? “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” They were thinking clearly.

Then they were alarmed. They were blown away! And some calm young angel told them Jesus was not dead but raised. “But go, tell his disciples…” Riiiiight.

These are practical women, thinking ahead about heavy barriers, unafraid to anoint lifeless flesh for honorable burial. They know that dead is dead. They saw Jesus’ death with their own eyes.

They left. Terror and amazement seized them. And they said nothing.

Still, here we are, you and I, reading Mark’s story and celebrating Easter… The church exists. So, somewhere along the way, somebody decided to say something to somebody.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome walked forward to meet their grief and discovered instead mind-boggling joy. In the face of this inexplicable gift, too precious to believe, these practical women had the humility and fortitude to decide that they had more to learn, more to share.

God is amazing.

So, now you have to decide: are you gonna say anything? Are you gonna be in on the joke, the wonderful, inclusive, humbling, powerful joke? Death is not the end. Are you gonna risk accepting that this illogical, impossible story is true? Can you laugh with God at the craziness of the resurrection?

Halleluiah; Christ is risen! April Fools!

Come, Holy One. Fill my belly with the laughter of joyful amazement that rises out of my having misunderstood, having been so stuck in narrow understanding when you are doing so much more when you are so much more. Come alive in me again today, that the parts of me that are dead may be enlivened and sent forth. Amen.
-Helen McPeak

March 31 (Holy Saturday)

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24
1 Peter 4:1-8
John 19:38-42
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

On Holy Saturday in 2009, I was released from the hospital after six days with HELLP Syndrome, a nasty variant of preeclampsia that almost killed both Daniel and me. (Thankfully, they were able to transfer me to a hospital where the best high-risk doctor in the Mountain West performed an emergency C-section at 29.5 weeks to save us both.) I spent the next week dealing with horrible PTSD and post-partum depression as I struggled to come to terms with everything that had happened. Adding insult to injury, 30 minutes after we arrived home from Great Falls, someone called to scold me for not being down at the hospital with my baby. That phone call destroyed the hard-won progress the NICU nurses had made in helping me come to terms with Daniel’s impending long stay in the NICU. It was devastating.

I feel a kinship with the disciples as they were in hiding. They had seen their rabbi and leader arrested and crucified. Crucifixion was used by Rome as an example of why not to challenge their authority — Jesus’ disciples were likely terrified of facing a similar fate. Seeing Jesus crucified must have ended their hopes and dreams of Jesus being the one to come into Jerusalem triumphantly to overthrow the oppressive Romans. They could not even do the full burial rites because the Sabbath was starting, and Jesus needed to be buried before sundown. How devastating it must have been for them!

Jesus, in these times when we lack hope, remind us that things did not have the ending people anticipated; but instead, You triumphed and defeated death once and for all. Our hopes may be dashed, but You have better plans for us. Amen.
-Jen McCabe

March 30 (Good Friday)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
Psalm 22

March 1, 2011, will likely be known as the worst day of my life. Two days earlier, my son Daniel woke up with a fever and respiratory distress, and within 36 hours, he was on a ventilator at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. That night, I was coming back into the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) after dinner when I heard, “CODE BLUE! TOWER 7!” blaring over the loudspeakers. I was plastered against the wall as doctors, nurses, and a crash cart raced into the unit.

I followed them down the corridor and found them in Daniel’s room. I remember the feeling of one of the hospital chaplains holding me tightly as I watched them attempt to revive him. The attending physician then told me quite tersely that she would be recommending he be put on ECMO (the heart-lung bypass machine) because it was a 50/50 chance of her being able to revive him again if he had another cardiac event.

I remember various things from the next four hours: being unable to stop vomiting from the sheer intensity of emotion, calling my former husband Jon and my twin brother Sean to come be with me at the hospital, signing the paperwork giving them permission to put Daniel on ECMO, intermittently sobbing and then wailing after my tear ducts dried out, and eventually the new attending physician coming to tell me that Daniel improved on his own and there would be no need for ECMO. One week later, he was off the ventilator. Three weeks after that horrible night, we walked out of the hospital with our son very much alive.

A few months ago, I was reflecting on that night and was smacked upside the head by the Holy Spirit. God’s Son died that day on the Cross. GOD WATCHED JESUS DIE. That realization gave me so much healing as I realized that God was there with me in that waiting room that night, understanding everything I was feeling.

God, thank you for choosing to let your Son die to bring healing to this world. Thank you for going through the pain of watching your Son die so that we might not be alone in our darkest hours as parents. Amen.
-Jen McCabe

March 29 (Maundy Thursday)

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Psalm 116:1, 10-17

Can you imagine being at the first Passover event described in Exodus? Eating some roasted lamb and matzoh, which is kind of a hard cracker, having your sandals on, and being ready to flee for your life at a moment’s notice? Can you imagine sitting up at night listening to the Angel of Death going over and passing by your house because you remembered to put the lamb’s blood on the lintel?

Or…. can you imagine being at the Last Supper with Jesus and having this teacher you have been following around for three years do something as menial as washing your feet? I mean, this amazing rabbi stripped down and did a job reserved for the lowest of servants. Why would he do such a thing? And why would he want us to do the same? He wants us to touch each other’s stinky feet and wash them? Why would we want to do that? Jesus, we do not understand.

As with many things in this world, the only way to understand is to live our experiences, seeking God’s insight and pray.

Not until after Christ was risen did we have the wisdom given to us by Paul in the reading from 1 Corinthians. And we will not understand many things that happen in our lives until after we see the ways God chooses to work in them over time. We do not see the wisdom of being servants, for example, until we learn that by serving, we cultivate relationships with others and these relationships help us to grow.

Lord Jesus, as we wash each other’s feet tonight and receive your Body and Blood, draw us closer to you and help us to start to understand this sacrifice you made for us on the hard wood of the Cross. Amen.
-Jen McCabe

March 28

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32
Psalm 70

Have you ever accused anyone of being a Judas…or been accused of being one yourself? It’s an accusation that anyone of any faith — or no faith at all — can relate to. You believe in someone…you dedicate yourself to that person…your faith at some point wavers…an opportunity arises to benefit from severing your bonds…and you choose the pay-off over the person. It’s the classic definition of betrayal.

All of which gives me a great deal of sympathy for Judas. To begin with, he was set up. Jesus knew what his end would be, and Scripture required that someone sell him out. In the same way, some of our betrayals may be driven by larger forces than ourselves. There are all kinds of “environmental impacts” on our loyalties. How often does the death of a child, for example, culminate in the ending of a marriage? And isn’t divorce a form of betrayal?

The word “betray” is so repugnant to us, thanks to a wavering disciple and 30 pieces of silver, that we tend to overlook a second meaning of the word: “to unintentionally reveal; be evidence of”. In the spirit of this meaning, let us pray:

Lord, let our lives betray your presence, through Jesus Christ — for whom betrayal was the fulfillment of the prophecies. Give us the strength and the perseverance to rise above falsehood, and to hold to the symbol of the cross as the ultimate triumph. Amen.
-Michael Boss

March 27

Isaiah 49:1-7
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
John 12:20-36
Psalm 71:1-14

The prophet Isaiah lived and wrote during the stormy period when many of the people of Judah were in exile in Babylon, crushed and without hope. We too live in a stormy period – we seem to have abandoned our Christian roots to love one another and segments of our society seem bent on, rather than loving one other, creating ways to define “other”, to vilify and exclude them, scapegoating the other in order to solidify social boundaries. As a nation we no longer welcome those escaping wars, persecution, starvation, fleeing to America seeking life, freedom and opportunity.

To me, when God beckoned Isaiah to bring back his people, he did not mean for Isaiah to simply bring the scattered people back to Israel. God implored Isaiah to bring the people back to God. “I have a greater task for you my servant… I will also make you a light to the nations – so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

We all have the light of God within us. Imagine how different our world would be if we shared that light, that love, and compassion with our fellow humans, no matter the color of their skin, their country of origin, their gender or sexual orientation. If we truly recognized others as equals in need of care and comfort. If we let the light within us shine so others may see the love God extends to us all as his children. If we all, regardless of our own trials and tribulations, seek opportunities to serve one another, to open the doors of happiness by taking care of the many others with whom we share the world?

Let the light of God’s love within us all be a beacon to those seeking. Amen.
-Carol Boss

March 26

Isaiah 42:1-9
Hebrews 9:11-15
John 12:1-11
Psalm 36:5-11

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped it with her hair…Jesus said, “…She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.”

Jesus was heading to Jerusalem where he knew he would be put to death. During the end of his ministry, he tried to prepare his followers for this. He gave them instructions on what to do after he was gone. He chose a leader for the apostles. He assured them he would prepare a place for them. He even made arrangements for the care of his mother as he hung from the Cross.

Many of us are nearing the end of our journeys here, and we often think of the preparations we need to be doing for that time. We check on our insurance policies and wills, distribute family treasures to our loved ones, try to mend broken relationships, and get “right” with our God. It is not a scary task to prepare, but a holy and comforting one. Just as Jesus prepared himself and his friends, it is up to us to do the same. With God’s help, it can be a joyful and blessed journey.

Loving God, just as your Son faced his death by preparing in many ways, help us to do the same as we approach the day of our journey to be with you. In His name we pray, Amen.
-Penny Worrell

March 25 (Palm Sunday)

John 12:12-16
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

¿Las lecturas me recuerdan algo que está sucediendo en este país o en el mundo en este momento?

En la actualidad nuestro país y otros países del Mundo quisiéramos que un día llegue Jesús. Como aquella vez que la multitud supo que iba a entrar a Jerusalén y empezaron a organizar a su manera la fiesta de la pascua, y sus seguidores, alabaron y con grito y alegría lo recibieron. Jesús lego humildemente montado en su burro, venía a dar su mensaje divino a su pueblo, a la multitud que lo esperaba.

Pero lo curioso es que sus discípulos no entendían lo que Jesús estaba haciendo, hasta después, ya estaba en las escrituras.

Hablando particularmente de Estados unidos de américa, cuando tenemos que ir las Protestas y marchas para DACA o inmigración, nos encontramos con personas que no entienden porque otras personas están protestando; muchas de las veces son porque nunca han estado en una situación similar. Y se pregunta por qué tanto alboroto en las calles; es como los propios discípulos de Jesús que no entendían lo qué el estaban haciendo entrando ante la multitud.

Pero a pesar de todo lo difícil que es la vida de cada una de las personas que vivimos en esta sociedad, el mensaje que Juan nos da para nosotros que vivimos en este planeta llamado tierra, tenemos que tener fe y esperanza, para que los demás crean en nosotros, tenemos ir en nuestro burrito o caminando, como lo hizo Jesús en Jerusalén.

Pero también tenemos que ir con a multitud ser humildes, pacientes, compasivos, entender a los demás sin cuestionar mucho, creer en la biblia nos enseña, creer a todos aquellos que nos rodean, por qué Jesús creyó en todas aquellas personas que esperaban al entrar a Jerusalén.

Creo en Dios todos poderosos y El cree en mí. Creo en Jesús, Creo en Jesús y en Dios mi Salvador. Amén

English Translation

Do the readings remind me of something that is happening in this country or in the world currently?

Today, our country and other countries in the world would like Jesus to arrive one day. As when the crowd knew that Jesus was going to enter Jerusalem and they began to organize the celebration — his followers praised him, receiving him with shouts of joy. Jesus, humbly riding on his donkey, came to give his divine message to his people, to the crowd who waited for him.

But the funny thing is that his disciples did not understand what Jesus was doing, until later. He was already in the scriptures.

Speaking particularly of the United States of America, when we have to go the protests and marches for DACA or immigration, we find some who do not understand why people are protesting. Many times, it is because they themselves have never been in a similar situation. And they wonder why all the fuss in the streets. It is like Jesus’ own disciples who did not understand what he was doing entering the multitude.

But despite all the difficulties of each one who lives in this society, the message that John gives for us who live on this planet Earth, we are to have faith and hope, so that others believe through us. We must go on our little burro as Jesus did in Jerusalem or walk.

But we also have to go with the crowd to be humble, patient, compassionate… to understand others without questioning much, believe what the Bible teaches us, believe all those around us because Jesus believed in all those people who waited his entering to Jerusalem.

I believe in God all-powerful and God believes in me. I believe in Jesus, I believe in Jesus and in God my Savior. Amen.
-Francisco Lopez, La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección

March 24

Ezekiel 37:21–28
John 11:45–53
Psalm 85:1–7

In our Gospel reading, the Chief priests and Pharisees did not know what to do about this man called Jesus. They asked each other, “What are we to do?”

So often life throws us a ‘curve ball’. What is the right thing to do? Should I, or shouldn’t I? A roster of pros and cons is created to aid in the decision, yet the answer is still unknown.

This is the best time to grasp and clutch for divine wisdom. St. Benedict teaches us to “listen with the ear of your heart.” In so doing, a major decision can be made with a feeling of peace, joy, and grace, all given to us by God.

Heavenly Father, When I struggle to make a decision, help me to be still, listen and know the peace that comes only from You. Amen.
-Sister Katherine