Christ is Risen! Now What?

Happy Easter! May you will have a glorious Easter day of worship and fellowship!

It has become a Christian Playbook tradition to revisit Wendy M. Wright’s book The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter and Pentecost. In that book, Wendy discusses the “Easter Octave” – the 8 days of Easter and after. She tells some stories, including her experience of “putting yourself in Mary Magdalene’s place” in the John 20:1-18 verses.

When you have 10 minutes – maybe even right now? – consider doing the following:

  • close your eyes and put yourself in the role of Mary Magdalene – you’ve experienced the crucifixion and are going to visit the tomb
  • read John 20:1-18 (listed below,) as though you are living what Mary Magdalene did – with Jesus saying your name
  • pray that you might carry that sense of post-Easter experience in the days ahead

In case you want a topical SONG, HERE is In The Garden, performed by Anne Murray or HERE by the Avett Brothers.

May the Spirit move through you vibrantly during this Easter Octave!


John 20: 1-18 [“PUTTING YOURSELF IN MARY’S PLACE” VERSION]

20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, I came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

20:2 So I ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.

20:4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

20:5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.

20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there,

20:7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

20:8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

20:9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

20:10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

20:11 But I stood weeping outside the tomb. While weeping, I bent over to look into the tomb;

20:12 and I saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

20:13 They said to me, “Woman, why are you weeping?” I responded, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

20:14 After saying this, I turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but did not know that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus said to me, “Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, I said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

20:16 Jesus said to me, “__________ {INSERT YOUR NAME HERE}!” I turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

20:17 Jesus said to me, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

20:18 I went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and told them that he had said these things to me.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Resurrection Sunday, April 21, 2019:


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Stations of the Cross…

Guideposts treats us to a summary of Stations of the Cross (link HERE.) It’s nice to have a quick summary of the Stations, with visuals as well.

If you have the time and inclination, consider going to a Stations of the Cross service in your area. People of all Christian traditions will likely find the experience satisfying.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Good Friday, April 19, 2019:


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Feet, Table, Water…

During this day, take time to silence your brain and read Claire McKeever-Burgett’s Maundy Thursday Prayer (LINK here.)

Are you racing to water or timid? Looking for a drink in a downpour? Ready to wade in the water?

On this day, filled with worship and ministry opportunities to wash, take, eat and serve, may we become cleansed and nourished to more fully share God’s love with others throughout our world.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019:


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A Holy Week Prayer…

Lent is nearing its end and soon we will say goodbye to LP’s prayer for another year. As a final 2019 posting related to the prayer, THIS LINK has the Holy Week version listed below.

For more than five weeks, guiding God, we have traveled the Lenten road. We are ready for it to end. We prefer celebration to reflection and self-examination. On the table, pulpit, and lectern, we prefer pure white, festive red, hopeful blue, or gentle green to Lent’s pensive purple. We know our sins are many, but why must we confess them so often? Remind us, gracious God, that you call us to confession not to burden us, but to free us. Help us to offer you every fear, failure, and sin, so that your forgiveness can calm and cleanse us and your steadfast love can draw us to new beginnings.

We thank you, God of wonders, for countless blessings. We thank you for those special people whose embrace, friendship, and accepting eyes ease our burdens and heighten our joys. We thank you for the songbirds who greet the dawn with exuberant melody. We thank you for the ability to laugh: to laugh at ourselves when we are mistaken; to laugh with our friends when we take ourselves too seriously; to laugh for the pure pleasure it brings. We thank you for eyes that see familiar friends and a new face in the crowd, savor a peaceful sunrise or sunset, and note a hand in need of our touch and open arms waiting to receive us.

Because we are so blessed, help us to respond faithfully to life and its goodness. Because people and relationships are so important, help us to look beyond ourselves and share our plenty with those in need. Help us to build a community known for the risks it takes to help others experience your loving presence. Because life can be so abundant, help us to be a community as joyous in our celebrations as we are committed to service in Jesus’ name. Because not everyone sees your blessings so readily, help us to comfort the bereaved, accompany the lonely, offer hope to the despairing, and reach for a better world for all.

We pray for all whose needs and concerns touch our hearts. We pray for those in need whom we cannot or do not see. We pray for new members and those preparing to receive baptism. We pray for all making difficult decisions. We pray for those enduring illness of body, mind, or spirit, and those who struggle to hope. We pray that during this Holy Week we will complete our Lenten journey by seeing our brokenness borne by and entombed with Jesus, which will prepare us to hear anew the almost unimaginable proclamation that the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, and life and love prevail. These and all our prayers we offer with confidence, for we bring them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I especially appreciate the birds and “exuberant melody” reference. Are there certain words or aspects that have especially resonated with you this season? If so, please comment below so that we might share those together.

May this prayer and the experiences of this week continue to lift you to a closer walk with our Lord, and a wonderful life with God.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Resurrection Sunday, April 21, 2019:


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Skillfully moving from palms to lilies…

On this Palm Sunday, consider taking a few minutes to read this prayer by Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk (link HERE).

May we face difficult tasks gallantly, be the good friend, cause minimal pain, “stay awake” and avoid skipping right from palms to lilies!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019:


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Colour My World (or my Bible?)

Several years back, my friend Toni P. was mentioning an area of new interest. I asked if she would do a ‘guest post’ for the Christian Playbook and she said YES!

We’re re-posting it again since we have several new CP “subscribers” [plus it’s a nice reminder… (many thanks, Toni!) ]

My crafting journey has recently led me to a small movement called “Bible journaling.” Though I have no doubt that people have been journaling about the Bible for ages, this reference is to a specific method of lettering and coloring in the margins. In fact, there are editions of the Bible specifically designed for this.

If this sounds appealing or interesting, just do an online search or check Pinterest. What I have found works for me is to combine this with my morning devotion, usually beginning with “The Upper Room.” After I read the passage and the story, I focus on a portion that speaks to me on that day. Then I letter and color in the margin. If a verse is particularly inspirational, I commit it to memory and silently recite it through the day. Sometimes, I use this same process with verses found in other ways – through reading, Bible study or beloved by those close to me.

I would like to mention the blogger and online teacher, Sandy Allnock, who first brought this to my attention. I am personally using and loving the “Inspire” Bible, which happens to be NLT. This translation was new to me, but another part of my study has been to compare it to my more familiar NRSV.  

Maybe this Easter season will offer opportunities for such efforts? For those wanting quick links on Bible journaling, you might consider …

Enjoy the bright colors of the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. Many thanks, Toni, for the tip and a new way to consider reading devotionals and thinking about Biblical passages!


Lectionary Texts for Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019:


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A Focus on Praying/Reflection…

The fourth paragraph of LP’s prayer*** focuses on praying and reflection…

Lenten Prayer* – Rev. Dr. L.P. Jones

Guiding God, we are traveling the Lenten road. We are ready for it to end. We prefer celebration to reflection and self-examination. On the table, pulpit, and lectern, we prefer pure white, festive red, hopeful blue, or gentle green to Lent’s pensive purple. We know our sins are many, but why must we confess them so often? Remind us, gracious God, that you call us to confession not to burden us, but to free us. Help us to offer you every fear, failure, and sin, so that your forgiveness can calm and cleanse us and your steadfast love can draw us to new beginnings.

We thank you, God of wonders, for countless blessings. We thank you for those special people whose embrace, friendship, and accepting eyes ease our burdens and heighten our joys. We thank you for the songbirds who greet the dawn with exuberant melody. We thank you for the ability to laugh: to laugh at ourselves when we are mistaken; to laugh with our friends when we take ourselves too seriously; to laugh for the pure pleasure it brings. We thank you for eyes that see familiar friends and a new face in the crowd, savor a peaceful sunrise or sunset, and note a hand in need of our touch and open arms waiting to receive us.

Because we are so blessed, help us to respond faithfully to life and its goodness. Because people and relationships are so important, help us to look beyond ourselves and share our plenty with those in need. Help us to build a community known for the risks it takes to help others experience your loving presence. Because life can be so abundant, help us to be a community as joyous in our celebrations as we are committed to service in Jesus’ name. Because not everyone sees your blessings so readily, help us to comfort the bereaved, accompany the lonely, offer hope to the despairing, and reach for a better world for all.

We pray for all whose needs and concerns touch our hearts. We pray for those in need whom we cannot or do not see. We pray for new members and those preparing to receive baptism. We pray for all making difficult decisions. We pray for those enduring illness of body, mind, or spirit, and those who struggle to hope. We pray that we will complete our Lenten journey by seeing our brokenness borne by and entombed with Jesus, which will prepare us to hear anew the almost unimaginable proclamation that the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, and life and love prevail. These and all our prayers we offer with confidence, for we bring them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

  • Reflect on the fourth paragraph.
    • Which sentence catches your attention the most? Can you make that a memory phrase for the remainder of Lent?
    • Who among your family could use prayers of support this day?
    • Some report that they pray when hearing ambulance sirens. Maybe that’s worth a try today?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


*** In the early 2010s, Rev. Dr. LP Jones prepared and shared the prayer below with the MWPC community as part of his weekly newsletter column. He granted us permission for use of this with the Christian Playbook community.* It is also available to listen to HERE

* ever-so-slight alterations made so the original Holy Week prayer applies throughout Lent


Lectionary Texts for Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019:


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Ready with the palms?

This upcoming Sunday, many of us will be waving palms, heralding the entry of our King.

Yet we read prophesy very different from an “entry of a King” from Roman times

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

~ Zechariah 9:9-10

In The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, Wendy M. Wright writes:

“But we do not get the leader we have anticipated. For instead of entering the holy city on a warhorse, this Jesus comes deliberately on an ass’s colt, thereby calling up our collective memory of the prophesy in Zechariah which paints for us a picture of a monarch who bans implements of war, whose rule is gentle and whose reign is peace.” p. 77

Imagine the shock and surprise. Maybe some embarrassment too?

Even in today’s age, as we share our king Jesus with others, may it be with a powerful stance of gentleness and peace!


Lectionary Texts for Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019:


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This is the day…

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  ~ Psalm 118:24 (English Standard Version)

Guideposts shares inspiring quotes for Spring HERE along with some wonderful pictures. It’s worth taking a few minutes to enjoy these…

May we all enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 7, 2019:


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A Focus on Responding…

The third paragraph of LP’s prayer*** focuses on responding…

Lenten Prayer* – Rev. Dr. L.P. Jones

Guiding God, we are traveling the Lenten road. We are ready for it to end. We prefer celebration to reflection and self-examination. On the table, pulpit, and lectern, we prefer pure white, festive red, hopeful blue, or gentle green to Lent’s pensive purple. We know our sins are many, but why must we confess them so often? Remind us, gracious God, that you call us to confession not to burden us, but to free us. Help us to offer you every fear, failure, and sin, so that your forgiveness can calm and cleanse us and your steadfast love can draw us to new beginnings.

We thank you, God of wonders, for countless blessings. We thank you for those special people whose embrace, friendship, and accepting eyes ease our burdens and heighten our joys. We thank you for the songbirds who greet the dawn with exuberant melody. We thank you for the ability to laugh: to laugh at ourselves when we are mistaken; to laugh with our friends when we take ourselves too seriously; to laugh for the pure pleasure it brings. We thank you for eyes that see familiar friends and a new face in the crowd, savor a peaceful sunrise or sunset, and note a hand in need of our touch and open arms waiting to receive us.

Because we are so blessed, help us to respond faithfully to life and its goodness. Because people and relationships are so important, help us to look beyond ourselves and share our plenty with those in need. Help us to build a community known for the risks it takes to help others experience your loving presence. Because life can be so abundant, help us to be a community as joyous in our celebrations as we are committed to service in Jesus’ name. Because not everyone sees your blessings so readily, help us to comfort the bereaved, accompany the lonely, offer hope to the despairing, and reach for a better world for all.

We pray for all whose needs and concerns touch our hearts. We pray for those in need whom we cannot or do not see. We pray for new members and those preparing to receive baptism. We pray for all making difficult decisions. We pray for those enduring illness of body, mind, or spirit, and those who struggle to hope. We pray that we will complete our Lenten journey by seeing our brokenness borne by and entombed with Jesus, which will prepare us to hear anew the almost unimaginable proclamation that the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, and life and love prevail. These and all our prayers we offer with confidence, for we bring them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

  • Consider making this prayer part of your regular, Lenten practices…
  • Reflect on the third paragraph.
    • what “sharing your plenty” opportunities do you see this season?
    • are there risks you can overcome with God’s help this season (and someone in your midst who can be part of the solution too?)
    • do you know someone who could use a call, note or other sharing of support and prayer? Maybe today you can act?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


*** In the early 2010s, Rev. Dr. LP Jones prepared and shared the prayer below with the MWPC community as part of his weekly newsletter column. He granted us permission for use of this with the Christian Playbook community.* It is also available to listen to HERE

* ever-so-slight alterations made so the original Holy Week prayer applies throughout Lent


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 7, 2019:


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