Lent Reflection: It’s Saturday

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“But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” -Hebrews 2:6-9

Today is Saturday…the day between the days. It is often overlooked and seldom seen as important in the Easter season. It is the day prior to celebration and the day after mourning. It is the day when everything was over and yet a door before everything would begin anew. Have you ever wondered what the characters close to the cross did on Saturday?

  • Did Peter cry uncontrollably, replay the events in his mind, and wonder “what do I do now?”
  • Did the High Priests stand and “give God praise” for answered prayer about that upstart troublemaker from Galilee?
  • Did John and Mary heed Jesus’ instructions from the cross and comfort one another?
  • Did Joseph of Arimathea have to answer questions for his lending of a tomb to a known heretic?
  • Did Pilate breathe a sigh of relief or was he racked with guilt over his indecision?
  • Did disciples begin to work on their résumé’s and begin traveling back home?
  • Did Malchus, one of the temple guards who arrested Jesus, continue to feel his ear and wonder about Jesus?
  • Did Simon of Cyrene have to explain to his boys about Jesus? Did he have splinters from the cross in his shoulders?

I wonder about Saturday and what people felt because I think it is much like the situation in which we find ourselves. Hebrews says that all things are under the feet of Jesus and yet, we currently do not see the full picture…yet we see Jesus!! In many cases, we do not know how things will end, why things occur in the manner in which they do, and what the future holds. We struggle to understand the timing, will, and plan that God has for our lives…YET WE SEE JESUS.

Today is Saturday, the day between the days. What are your areas of uncertainty today? What are your doubts that need explanation? What lies on the horizon? In every case, we do not yet have the answer…BUT WE SEE JESUS…PRAISE BE TO
GOD!!

Mike Bill is a pastor at Sharptown Church and is president of the camp’s board of directors. Photo of Lake Agape by Emily Saunders.

Lent Reflection: It Is God Who Saves Us

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I am finishing preaching through the Book of Ruth at my church and I’ve been struck by how God works in the life of Ruth and Naomi when they are unaware of it. They encounter a series of trials and tragedies (famine and death being the main two), yet God works in the midst of these circumstances. The best example I can give in a devotional is in Ruth 2 when Ruth decides to go and gather grain in the field of a benevolent farmer. Of all the fields she goes to, Ruth ends up in the field of Boaz who would later marry Ruth- redeeming her and Naomi and preserving a family lineage that goes through David, Solomon, and ultimately Jesus.

As I read the text, what saved Ruth was not her decision to collect grain, but that God was at work paving the way for Ruth to encounter blessings and redemption.

The Psalmist writes:

“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength is cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” -Psalm 33:16-19 (NIV)

The Psalmist writes that kings, warriors, and even horses cannot save themselves and reminds us that the only one we should put our hope is His unfailing love.

This is a reminder to me, that regardless of my circumstances, regardless of my place in my life that salvation, redemption, and blessings come from God. There are certainly times when it is easy to give God praise, and there are times when it is difficult as well. But even in the difficult times, God is at work in my life. I must train my eyes and my heart to see how God is working trying circumstances and trust God that when one door closes that He will open up another. Ruth stepped out in faith in the midst of trials and tragedy and found redemption. I must continue to put my faith in God, to fear God, even in the difficult times and look to God for my salvation and redemption.

The Psalmist ends with this prayer of blessing:

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” -Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)

This Holy Week, whether you are walking in the highlands or in the deserts of life, I pray that the unfailing love of God would rest upon us.

Steve LaMotte is pastor of Hope United Methodist Church and Chaplain at Wesley College- both in Dover, Delaware. Steve was introduced to Delanco Camp by his wife, Andrea, who attended as a teenager. Steve has been an evangelist, Bible study leader, and worship leader at Delanco. He sometimes blogs at www.stevenlamotte.me and can be followed on twitter at @steve_lamotte. Image, via CreationSwap.

Lent Reflection: The Amazing Race

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“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” -Jeremiah 17:9 (New Living Translation)

I am often amused at the thought of being asked what “race” I am. Whether filling out an application for identification or employment, we are confronted with this invasive question. A few years ago, I started answering this inquiry with the reply, “human.” After all, do we need many more differences to set us any more apart?

During the Lenten season, we are confronted with the notion that we are part of a unique race called humanity – this embodiment that holds us captive to doing that which is easy, wanting that which appeals most readily, asking for things which we think will fill the hole in our souls.

But alas, we discover that Adam sinned and we are all prone to sin until we allow the Holy Spirit to radically change our lives. God paints the picture for us and teaches us that the heart is deceitfully wicked. Who can know how bad it is?

In this Holy Week, will you join me in asking God to do something for us? As Jesus Christ poured himself out for our race, will you look at your heart and get in the most amazing race in history? It will be the best thing you ever do. Let’s do this together. Let’s move from a race of selfishness to that of a race which reflects God more accurately: self-giving love.

Prayer
Holy Creator, help us to learn from your record about what you want from us. Help us to live as your people as we are transformed in this amazing human race. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

CJ Caufield is the camp caretaker and lives in the Matt Warchol Memorial House on the grounds of the camp. Image via CreationSwap.