2017 windows on Holy Week #3

Garden of Gethsemane (photo: Kate McDonald)


Matthew 26:36-38 (NIV)
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Stay with me,
remain here with me,
watch and pray,
watch and pray

Matthew 26:39-44 (NIV)
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Prayer giving thanks for the oil
Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this oil to offer,
fruit of the olive tree and work of human hands,
serving the needs of countless people through the centuries,
giving light and health and healing;
may the light of your Son crushed in agony
under the olives of Gethsemane
likewise serve the everlasting comfort and light and joy
of your people everywhere.
Matthew 26:45-46 (NIV)
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 183

2017 windows on Holy Week #2

Jerusalem rooftops (photo: Kate McDonald)

Upper Room

Matthew 26:17-20, 26-30 (NIV)
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus celebrated communion only once, and within forty-eight hours he was dead.
We are dust
Yet we share in a dream
As we eat and drink
We are remembering
Who we are in Christ
Who we shall be
And all God did through Jesus
to set us free

words and music by Irene Bom (notation included)

2017 windows on Holy Week #1

Temple Mount (photo: Kate McDonald)

On the way to Jerusalem

John 12:12-19 (NIV)
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written:

‘Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.’

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!’
Jesus is passing this way
This way, this way
Jesus is passing this way
He’s passing this way today.

(Sierra Leone: Krio shout)

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 153

World Day of Prayer 2017 – Geneva

At the Presbytery meeting in March (in Rotterdam), Alice Tulloch of the Geneva congregation told me about the significant local Filipino involvement in the World Day of Prayer activities in Geneva this year.
Here is Alice’s report, including some photographs.

This year the Committee of the Philippines had prepared the liturgy and material for the World Day of Prayer with the theme “Am I being unfair to you?” based on Matthew 20:1-16.

On Thursday, 2nd March, a bible study on the text and theme mentioned above was led by Athena Peralta from the Philippines who is currently responsible for the work on economic and ecological justice at the World Council of Churches. Her research and advocacy focus on just trade and finance and their gender dimensions, among others. She helped us to see how God’s justice is not always how we would expect it. Through her experience of the situation in the Philippines, she explained how we should relate to this text from their perspective.

On Friday, 3th March, the World Day of Prayer celebration took place in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, arranged by the group from the English-speaking churches.

It was a truly ecumenical event. This year we were fortunate to have participation of members of the Roman Catholic Church John XXIII. Some of their Filipino choir came to sing and participate in the liturgy. Pastor Romeo Matutino from the Independent Church of the Philippines also participated. It was a colourful and beautiful service, with symbolic acts, such as the distribution of small bags of rice.

The Filipino community also prepared some delicious specialities to add to the bake sale, and the resulting amount of the collection and the bake sale came to CHF 2’500 which will go to an association to help Filipinos in Geneva.

Report by: Alice Tulloch, Church of Scotland, Geneva

Also see: World Day of Prayer 2017 – Rotterdam

Quiet near a little stream

With spring upon us, perhaps you can make some time to sit beside a little stream and meditate.
Here is some food for thought.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3

from Open House for Butterflies (1960)
by children’s author Ruth Krauss (1901–1993)
with illustrations by Maurice Sendak

More verses featuring streams:

Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3


As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

Psalm 42:1


By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.

Psalm 104:12


For more about Open House for Butterflies and the special relationship between author and illustrator, see brainpickings.org.