Thoughts and reflections from Liberty’s Pastors

July 20, 2017

FROM THE DESK OF DAWN PARR

Dear Friends:

Sports stories often have a lot in common with life as a Christian. Many of the struggles, goals and principles of living life as an athlete are pretty comparable to being a believer. Paul saw the connection between Christian life and sports. In his letters, he used the major sport of his day—racing—as an analogy to explain faith.

Next week, 300 children will gather in Liberty’s Sanctuary each morning for ‘God’s Dream Team’. They will learn five of these principles from the Book of Acts: Leadership, Teamwork, Drive, Discipline, and the Pursuit of Excellence.

  1. Leadership – While many athletes possess this quality, leadership that exemplifies Christ is unique. Jesus gave us the Great Commission in telling us to go and make disciples of all nations. He encourages others to follow His example.  The Apostle Paul understood this: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
  2. Teamwork is essential in any sport, and using teamwork to bring others to know Christ is the ultimate goal as a Christian.  Paul wrote, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ … But God has combined the members of the body … so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12: 20-26, NIV) All Christians should focus as a team so that teamwork will bring many to know Him.
  3. Drive – Athletes must be extremely focused in order to achieve their goal. Their behavior is inspiring. Imagine this same drive as a Christian to do His will so that others will seek Him.  Remembering Paul’s words, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us”. Truly, if God is on our side, who can be against us? Nobody. With Christ, we can truly be driven to do His work and His will so that others will seek Him.
  4. Discipline – Athletes face hardships physically, mentally, and emotionally—as do Christians. Being a Christian does not exempt anyone from hard times. It’s never easy to understand why bad things happen, but we have to continue living with faith that our hard times will be redeemed. In fact, the Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. … Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. (James 1:2-4 and 12, NIV)
  5. Pursuit of Excellence – Anyone who has ever wanted to become good at anything knows that practice is key. We, as disciples of Christ, also follow a way that’s hard. It, too, requires daily practice. We must act on our faith every day. That means praying, getting together for encouragement, and being a part of teaching and worship. It means practicing love, mercy, patience, and forgiveness—to be better spiritual athletes and pursue the excellence He seeks in us.

Athletes practice daily to make their bodies stronger and skills sharper. Believers practice daily to make their faith stronger and their relationship with Christ sharper. Paul writes, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9, NIV). Live it out, Paul says. Faith is not just about cramming a bunch of religious facts in our heads. It’s an action. We need to practice it and work on it every day so we can be more like Christ. When we become more Christ-like, we are winners!

Please pray that our children will understand more fully the Gospel Message during ‘God’s Dream Team!’  Amen

Blessings,
Dawn

July 13, 2017

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR KYLE

Dear Friends:

Over the summer, I have been facilitating two Liberty Bible study groups as they have been using the book When Helping Hurts to understand issues surrounding poverty. The members of these groups have tried to wrap their heads around the depth of the problem of poverty, to understand some of the root causes of poverty, and most importantly, they are trying to understand what a faithful Christian response to poverty truly looks like.

To be honest, as we have begun to look more deeply at these issues, the depth and complexity of the problem of poverty can seem overwhelming: 40% of the world’s population—more than three billion people—live on less than $2 per day. The sheer magnitude of the issues at play are simply staggering. What can I possibly do to even put a dent in such a problem? And yet, I remain convicted that the faithful Christian response is to do something, that the faithful Christian hope is the fervent expectation that one day all that is wrong in the world will be set right.

We concluded one of our most recent sessions by looking at Colossians 1. In this chapter, Paul is talking about Jesus, about who he is and what he has done. And yet again, the sheer magnitude is simply staggering. Paul sums up the chapter by writing,

“For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and though him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Col. 1:20)

I am quite convinced that when Paul wrote the word, “everything”, he meant it. That the good news of Jesus is good for more than just me and mine, but is good news for everything everywhere. That no matter how broken the world may be, we have a God who not only can fix it, but is pleased to do so. And it’s hard to despair with such good news.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Kyle

July 6, 2017

Dear Friends:

Bittersweet. I’ve always been fascinated by words like bittersweet – those oxymorons which appear to be in contradiction, but capture the real state of things quite well (think jumbo shrimp, deafening silence, virtual reality).

Back to bittersweet. It is a bittersweet season at Liberty as we prepare over the next few weeks to say goodbye to our beloved pastor Todd Tracy, his wife Heather, and their girls Addy and Isabelle. Todd has served here with excellence for the past five years, dramatically growing our ministry to youth, and leading us in worship, preaching God’s word, baptizing babies, visiting those in need, offering words of comfort, and teaching all of us what it means to live day by day as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Goodbyes can be a bit bitter, but as Todd moves on to a wonderful call at Second Presbyterian Newark, it is also a great joy to see him follow God’s leading into a whole new chapter of ministry. It is time to share the blessing Todd has been to us with others!

So maybe I will start inventing more oxymorons to convey how we are feeling: sadly joyful, falteringly faithful, fearfully confident…But as I sit here in the Berkshires dreaming up new descriptions of this moment in time, I’d like to invite you to do two things.

First, please email Todd and share a moment where his ministry has blessed you and yours. One of my favorite moments with the whole Tracy family was when Todd led John and I in renewing our wedding vows in the Chapel, and Addy & Isabelle (under Heather’s supervision!) were beautiful flower girls. Maybe it was a thought from a sermon that has stuck with you, or sharing in the impact of a mission project or trip, a hospital visit, or just his patient humor during a Children’s Moment, but please share your gratitude with him.

Second, I invite you to contribute to a farewell gift for Todd. Simply send in a check to the Church Office (attn. Finance Administrator, memo Tracy Gift). This will be presented to the Tracys on August 6, when we will hold a reception for Todd following 10:00 a.m. worship.

Back to my oxymorons.  I am both sadly joyful as someone who has had the privilege of serving alongside Todd for the past five years, and fearfully confident. Fearfully confident because as fear-inducing as change can be, the Youth Elders (Brenda Lucas, Marty Johnson) and I are putting a great interim plan in place even as I write this. Above all, I’m confident because I know that the God who has led Liberty so faithfully for the past 207 years will continue to lead us and guide us into new and fruitful chapters.

With Teary Gladness,
Becky

June 29, 2017

FROM THE DESK OF STEVE BANKS

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”Matthew 11:28-30

Dear Friends:

This past Sunday was a remarkable day at Liberty! God blessed us with a perfectly cool and refreshing summer day along with clear skies and sunshine. In the evening, Lone Raven presented an amazing concert under the oaks with many people in attendance who took advantage of the wonderful weather. In all the years I’ve been the Music Director at Liberty, I can’t remember a more relaxed concert event where everyone, including myself and the musicians, felt totally stress-free! Throughout the entire day I was reminded of God’s instruction for us to rest on the Sabbath. In fact, God was the first to set an example for all of us. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” (Exodus 20:11)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states: “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” In other words, we need to take care of our bodies, our health, and most of all our spiritual well-being.

Summer is a time when we all look forward to vacations and rest. The bible has many examples of why rest and renewal is so important for our lives. In Mark 6:31 Jesus commanded the disciples to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” The bible even addresses our travels. “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) This week my wife and I spent quality time with our granddaughter, Hannah. It’s been a tradition for many years for us to have a ‘special day’ with our grandkids. Nothing can replace this experience we are fortunate to have each year. Hopefully, you can also spend those extra moments with family and friends while you have the chance. Most importantly, use this time to renew your walk with God and all the blessings you might have been missing!

I want to leave you with a quote from pastor and author Charles Spurgeon. Rest time is not wasted time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”

Blessings!
Steve

June 22, 2017

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR KYLE

Dear Friends:

This coming Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays at Liberty—the Sunday when we hear stories from the youth who were part of the youth mission team. This Sunday never ceases to amaze me. Students from the Liberty community come back to worship under the oaks with us, wide-eyed and amazed at the ways God has been at work around them and through them on their trip. They come back with stories of a world that is so different from ours, and yet is still remarkably close to home. They have stories of people who are both familiar and foreign. They come back with new skills and new confidence—and a renewed sense that God is at work and on the move.

This Sunday, I encourage you to come to worship with your ears open and your hearts ready to hear our youth tell stories and remind us of the riches of God’s love and grace.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Kyle

June 15, 2017

Dear Friends:

In the first letter of John we read: “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18). In other words, love is a verb; without action, it is only a word.  This past weekend we witnessed love in action all over this campus – and all over our community.  Our Be the Church weekend was a huge success!  Many thanks to the 195 (we almost cracked 200!) of you who participated, as well as our Church School and everyone who so generously brought in supplies.  I am (as the Brits would say) gob-smacked by God’s grace, and by your willingness to be His hands and feet to those in need.
From the bottoms of Columbus to our men and women overseas,

  • from gratitude baskets to our fire & police stations to worship led in homes and retirement communities,
  • from picking up litter to remind a community of its beauty to painting flower pots and planting gardens,
  • from handmade cards of love for the homeless to baked goods for our homebound,

you all reached out and made a difference in a million ways.

I wish I had the time to share so many stories with you – how our first responders were “shocked and delighted” by our remembrance of them, how our litter league interacted with local residents, how love was shared in such concrete ways at Common Ground Free Store and St. Johns, how furniture was restored, food and flowers joyously shared with those who felt a bit isolated, prayer shawls knit, our brave soldiers remembered.  Since I don’t have the time to share all these stories with you at length, please look at the pictures here and on our website with the hope that a picture really is worth a million words!

Huge thanks to all our leaders, especially the amazing Penny Hampshire, and to ALL our volunteers!  You fill this heart.

As my friend Tracey says, “May God’s blessings overflow to you this week”,
Becky

June 8, 2017

Dear Friends:

What a joy to celebrate so many high school and college graduates in our Liberty family!  It is a season of celebration.   As experienced college graduation attenders, I liken graduations to a trip to Disney World – ten minutes of excitement followed by two hours of lines!  John spends most of graduation weekend finding parking – I spend it herding family from one event to the next and making sure everyone has water.  But then there is that lump-in-the-throat moment when they reach that part in the ceremony when they call your child’s name.  As they walk forward to receive their diploma, you don’t really see an 18- or 22-year-old crossing the stage – you see your child at age six reaching out their hand to you; you see that little girl or boy seemingly in dress-ups of a formal cap and gown.  Kleenex is handed from one parent to the next, and you wonder how all those years flew by so quickly.

There is so much still that I want to say to my own children in their 20’s…and to each of our new graduates as they move onto new chapters.

  • I want them to know that while this feels like an ending and they will miss these days so much, God has new experiences and friendships waiting just around the corner.
  • I want them to know that they are not alone in this adventure of entering the adult world. Jesus walks beside each of them every step of the way.
  • I want them to know that there will be good times and bad times ahead, successes and total flops. And that the flops are easiest to learn from.
  • I want each of them to know to wear sunscreen  – always.
  • I want our grads to know that it helps to get advice from people who have walked this path before, even if they happen to be related to you.
  • I want them to know that wherever they go, they are still a beloved part of the Liberty family.

And finally: I want each of them to carry with them these words of our Lord

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

With congratulations and blessings to all of our Liberty graduates,
Becky

June 1, 2017

Dear Friends:

This Sunday, the Christian church celebrates Pentecost – the gift of the Spirit. The coming of the Spirit 2,000 years ago transformed the Christian community from a fearful band of believers huddled in an upper room to those who went out into the world, boldly proclaiming Christ’s name (see Acts chapter 2).

Locked doors were opened.

Fear was replaced by courage.

Those who were afraid began to speak out.

Barriers came crashing down as everyone heard the message in their own native tongue.

Over 3,000 came to believe in Jesus as Lord.

On that first Pentecost, a desperate, frightened bunch became a church. They empowered each other to do things and be things they could never have managed on their own. Who were these people? Who are these people?

They are the people on whom God has breathed. They are us.

Pentecost Blessings,
Becky

May 25, 2017

Dear Friends:

Brutal. Awful. Unspeakable.  The tragedy in Manchester has broken our hearts. Seeing photos of the far too young victims, seeing 13-year-old girls with shrapnel in their arms and legs, seeing the faces of the families as they raced out of the concert in chaos and fear – it’s more than the heart can bear. As I have written to friends in the U.K., my heart has been heavy with sadness and solidarity.

The reality is, there are times in our lives when lament is the only possible response. Far too often, the Christian faith is portrayed as a series of “ups” and smiley face emojis. But Scripture is full of lament and grief – from the prophets to the Psalms to the Book of LamentationsI am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears, cries David (Psalm 6).  “My tears have been my food day and night.” (Psalm 42).  Bitter weeping, young girls and boys grieving, lives shaken beyond understanding – these images are all too relevant not only in ancient Jerusalem, but in Manchester and our inner cities and Syria and Afghanistan and… and… and.

And so, we cry out in lament and we weep with those who weep and we wonder how and why and when it will all end.  And the main difference between us and others is that as believers we hold onto hope even as we lament. We hold onto the hope only God can give.  I turned to Psalm 85 when this tragedy happened – and I am still holding onto these hope-filled promises:

I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants….
Love and faithfulness (will) meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.

What the Lord has promised will be fulfilled. Someday love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.  In the meantime, we hope and pray and work for peace – day by day by day.

In His sure grip,
Becky

May 18, 2017

Dear Friends:

Do you have a favorite word?  We used to have a “word of the week” around the dinner table at my home growing up – a tradition John found quite odd when he first met my family. (His week, the word was “estuary” – you can ask him about that later!)

If I had a word of the week these days, it would be compassion. Compassion means “to suffer with” and it suggests showing mercy; a deep tenderness of heart.  I’ve always loved this word because it captures how we are to live our lives as believers – to love mercy and show others, especially the hurting and broken, special care.

But this past week a verse popped out to me on this idea from Isaiah:

“The Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.” (Is.30:18)

I’ve always known that God loves me; whether I deserve it or not.  But something about the promise of this verse – that the Lord longs to be full of grace towards you and me – that He actively reaches out and rises up to show us His compassion – that stopped me in my tracks.  I think I tend to think of the Lord’s great love as a passive reality – oh, yeah, He loves me – but to know that He longs to cover us with His mercy and grace?  That fills me with unspeakable joy.May you know God’s tender mercies and great compassion in a new and special way these May days.

All Blessings,
Becky

May 11, 2017

Dear Friends:

A few thoughts on Mother’s Day…

  • I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them. ~Phyllis Diller
  • “Kids, I like to think that I’m a patient, tolerant woman and that there was no line that you could cross that would make me stop loving you. But last night you didn’t just cross that line, you threw up on it!” ~Marge Simpson
  • A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car for ever after. ~Peter De Vries
  • A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. For some of us it is a bittersweet holiday, since our moms are now in God’s sure arms. For others, the day will include a fun family gathering – or maybe even start with breakfast in bed – as in a rather sticky breakfast will literally end up in your bed! Whatever the circumstances, I hope we can take some time to reflect on two things:

  1. What lessons did I learn from my mom growing up?
  2. What lessons do I want to pass on – to children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews, neighbors, friends…?

I love the passage from 2 Timothy, where Paul tells the young Timothy: I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded now live in you. (2 Timothy 1:5). The bottom line is that the Christian faith is always more caught than taught, so how we pass down our faith, how we model it for the next generation, is vital on Mother’s Day and every day.

May Blessings,
Becky

May 4, 2017

Dear Friends:
Augustine used to say that human beings are what he called capax Dei. That is, you were made with a capacity for God. I was so intrigued by this concept that I looked up the word capacity – it means the ability to receive or contain, as in this hotel has a large capacity for guests. So Augustine is saying that we each have a large capacity to have God in our lives; for His presence through the Spirit to fill us and lead us and guide us.
Of course, that leads to the question: How big is your capax Dei, your capacity for God?  I would say mine needs to do some growing.  The good news is that there are some things that will help me grow in my capacity!  Reciting John 16:33 to myself when I can’t sleep because I am so tied up in knots over something is a good place to start. Praying more for others (and less for myself!). Giving – a meal or a tithe. Taking time to talk with someone who is hurting – that enlarges the heart. Watching something grow in my garden rather than watching another snarky TV show always works. So many things help me to grow in my capax Dei – when I just remember to do them.So please join me as we seek this May to grow a little – or a lot!

Blessings
Becky

April 27, 2017

Dear Friends:

Just when we thought the story is over, God has something to say. In the weeks after Easter, long after the lilies are gone and the strains of Jesus Christ has Risen Today have faded into the air, Jesus is still at work. In fact, the resurrection was only the beginning of transforming the world around us – and through us.

In Matthew 28:16-20, just before Jesus ascends into heaven, he gathers the disciples (both the doubting and the faithful!) and sends them out into the world, saying: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

This passage always reminds me of those relay races we had in Elementary school, where the fastest runner took off first and carried the baton to the next person, who carried it to the next, and on and onAnd while I never had the lead position, I remember feeling responsible in the middle of that race to get that baton to the next runner.  It never occurred to me to sit down in the middle of the race.  I knew the goal was to pass it on.

So here are some questions for us in this post-Easter time:

  • Where is Christ’s transforming presence needed this day?
  • Where have you seen Jesus at work this week?
  • Where has He met you?  And who have you shared this with?

As we go out into the world to make disciples, we are not alone. Never have been. Never will be. Instead as we go out, we hold onto the power and promise of Jesus’ final words in Matthew: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Blessings,
Becky

April 20, 2017

Dear Friends:

What a glorious Easter Sunday! It was a joy to celebrate with you, and huge thanks to everyone who helped with worship in ways large and small, from decorating to greeting to singing to welcoming that visiting family on the next bench! Over 1650 people decided to worship with us on Easter – what an incredible blessing!

This coming Sunday, April 23, has a name of its own – or perhaps I should say nickname! The Sunday after Easter is known by pastors as Canon Sunday. Now the word canon has a long religious history and can refer to everything from a code of laws established by a church council to the chapter of priests serving in a cathedral. But that’s not the everyday meaning of Canon Sunday. When pastors say that this is Canon Sunday, they joke that you could shoot off a canon in worship that Sunday and not hit a soul!

But this particular Sunday is going to be anything but empty here at Liberty! We will celebrate the confirmation of 23 youth into the faith and into the life of our church, and get to hear about two personal faith projects created by our youth, with more on display during coffee hour. As I pray for this service, I keep coming back to the words of the Psalmist:

What we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
~Psalm 78:3-5
This Sunday, there may not be a canon going off inside, but there will be fireworks inside as we pass the torch of faith from generation to generation.
Blessings,
Becky

April 13, 2017

Dear Friends:

Tonight we gather in a candlelit Sanctuary to celebrate the Last Supper, and to hear Jesus’ last words from the cross. This is a very moving service as we contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

On Sunday, we gather in a joyous, alleluia-filled celebration of the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus!

As we walk through Holy Week, one of the things that I need to remember is that this is not just about “me and the Lord”. If Jesus really died for our sins and conquered death itself, if Jesus sends his living spirit to work in us and through us, then this is not just good news individually. This is good news – life-changing news – for our whole world. By the resurrection of Jesus, we have infinite power to share infinite hope.

N.T. Wright has written:

The message of the resurrection is that this world matters! That the injustices and pains of this present world must now be addressed with the news that healing, justice, and love have won. If Easter means Jesus Christ is only raised in a spiritual sense—[then] it is only about me, and finding a new dimension in my personal spiritual life. But if Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, Christianity becomes good news for the whole world—news which warms our hearts precisely because it isn’t just about warming hearts. Easter means that in a world where injustice, violence and degradation are endemic, God is not prepared to tolerate such things—and that we will work and plan, with all the energy of God, to implement victory of Jesus over them all.

In the sure life-changing, world-changing Hope of Christ,
Becky

April 6, 2017

Dear Friends:

This Sunday is Palm Sunday – the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem!  This begins Holy Week, Jesus’ last week on earth. Nearly one third of all four Gospels focus on this final week of Jesus’ ministry. The action moves quickly through the Gospels, racing through Jesus’ early life, and then the action shifts into slow gear, walking us carefully through these last days of Jesus, and the events leading up to the cross.  The Gospels give us a chance to read and absorb the meaning of this week.  So I offer some passages below to help us journey with Jesus through his final days.

Holy Week:
1. Palm Sunday: The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem through the “Golden Gate”—the gate of the Messiah, as a great crowd proclaims: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” (Zephaniah 9:9, Matthew 21: 1-11)

2. Monday: Jesus cleanses the Temple, clearing out the money changers, declaring: “My Father’s House is to be a house of prayer for all people—but you have made it a den of thieves!” With this, the die is cast. Both the Priests (Sadducees) and the Pharisees (Teachers of the law) determine to kill Jesus. (Matthew 21:12-17)

3. & 4. Tuesday & Wednesday: The last days of public teaching as Jesus speaks in parables of Himself as God’s Son, by whom all will be saved. (Isaiah 53: 1-12, Read any of Matthew 21:28-25:45)

5. Maundy Thursday: After washing the feet of the disciples, Jesus celebrates the Feast of the Passover, instituting the sacrament of communion.  After the supper, Jesus and his disciples went to Gethsemane to pray, where he was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Temple guard and taken to an illegal night session of the Jewish courts. (Zechariah 11:12, Matthew 26:14-67)

6. Good Friday: The denial by Peter, Jesus’ trial before Pilate and Herod. The crown of thorns. Then the crucifixion between two thieves. At 3:00 p.m. Jesus dies as the “Lamb of God.” There is an earthquake, the centurion confesses his faith and the veil in the temple is torn from top to bottom just as Jesus proclaims that salvation is accomplished: “It is finished!” After His death, Nicodemus and Joseph bury Jesus in a new tomb in a garden.  (Amos 8:9, Psalm 22: 1, 16-18, Psalm 69:21, Psalm 31:5, Mark 10:34, Matthew 27: 1 – 27:61)

7. Saturday: The Jewish leaders break the Sabbath to insure that the tomb is sealed and no one can break in to steal the body.  A Roman guard is posted. (Matthew 27:62-66, Philippians 2; 5-11, Isaiah 52: 13-15)

8. Easter Sunday: Shortly before dawn on the third day, the stone of the tomb is rolled away (by angels) as Jesus triumphs over sin and death. The angels tell the women at the tomb: “He is risen!” Jesus appears to Peter alone, to the two on the Road to Emmaus, and to His disciples in the Upper Room. (Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 26:19, Matthew 28:1-15)

Friends, I invite you to read along with me this holy week. And know that we are walking on holy ground.

In the sure Hope of Christ,
Becky