Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. (Luke 23:32)
three figures floating above the ground
one with fire in his mouth
rages in desperation against existence
one begs for deliverance
in a strong moment, pleading
with the third for rescue
the last One speaks hope and peace
amidst such hopeless violence
split apart at the place of the Skull
He opens the cosmos wide
with painful grace for all
and welcomes us in
[This is the fifth in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week.]
The man who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. (Luke 22:63)
The mouths made by Him
through whom all things were made –
The mouths in which the gift
of language was given to bless –
Those mouths now rage against
their Creator with cruel curses.
The hands held by Him
from the earliest moments of life –
The hands that hold, hug,
greet and build –
Those hands descend in fast fury
to deconstruct their Maker.
[This is the second in a group of six original poems composed for Holy Week.]
Today marks the beginning of our journey to the cross. At Eastbrook Church, we invite you to join with us in a day of fasting and prayer before a family-friendly worship service at 7 PM. For more info on fasting, read a series of posts I wrote here.
Traditionally, this journey is known as Lent and begins on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a forty-day spiritual journey (minus Sundays) toward Easter. Often you see people walking around with a dark smudge of ashes on their forehead. It is a sign of our mortality; “that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14) and to dust we shall return.
Lent is so much more than a worn-out church tradition about self-absorbed sorrow and meal-skipping. Rather, Lent is our journey into greater depths of life with Christ through an experience of His journey toward, into, and through the Cross. It prepares us for a deeper experience of the joys of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
I usually participate in Lent as a spiritual journey in some form. Many times I choose to abstain from something (e.g., food in some form, regular forms of entertainment) in order to have more space to reach out to God in prayer. Fasting is helpful, I believe, only insofar as we put some other meaningful practice in its place that moves us toward Christ.
Traditional Lenten disciplines are fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. In these three disciplines we can see a movement from abstaining from something (fasting), turning to God (prayer), and putting another discipline in its place (almsgiving).
Today also marks the beginning of the “Life of Joseph” Lenten Devotional. I encourage you to join us as we journey through the life of Joseph in our preaching series and through the devotional.
Read the “Life of Joseph” Devotional in 1 of 5 Formats:
- Online—Visit eastbrook.org/josephdevotional each day for the reading, or connect with the online version through Eastbrook’s social media channels.
- Daily Email—Sign up for a special email list that will send you each day’s devotional at 4 am each morning. Sign up here.
- Mobile App—Download the Eastbrook Church mobile app and use the “Devo” tab to read each day. The devotionals will be published each morning at 4 am.
- Printed Book—A limited run of free devotional books are available at Eastbrook Church (5385 N. Green Bay Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53209).
- Digital Download—Download the PDF of the book for us with your tablet or to print out at home here.
[This day is traditionally known as Ash Wednesday. For a look at what Ash Wednesday is all about, read “What is it?: Ash Wednesday and Lent?“]
I continued our series, “The Kingdom Life,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by looking at two challenging teachings of Jesus on the cost of discipleship. As with the rest of this series, we are exploring key teachings of Jesus in light of the resurrection. This third message in the series, “The Cost of Discipleship,” faces both the cost of not following Jesus from Luke 13:22-30 and the cost of following Jesus from Luke 14:25-35. It was also an African Global Gateway weekend at Eastbrook, which gave us the chance to sing, dance, and reflect some of the unique cultures that are a part of our church within our worship service.
Also, you are welcome to join in with the daily reading plan for this series.