Who's Risen from the Dead, Anyway?
Resources for Lent & Easter
See Worship Alternatives for more.
A. Reflection/Activity Guides
- Cycle A (Matthew)
- Cycle B (Mark)
- Cycle C (Luke)
- a. A Journey Toward Understanding
- Reflections by M. Diane Nunnelee
- Visions from the Cross: An Alternative Lent/East Celebration by Vennie Constant
- b. Self-Examination and Recommitment (also called A Way in the Wilderness)
- a. A Journey Toward Understanding
D. Bulletin Inserts & Covers: #551-559
E. Additions / NEW / BONUS / Other [See Submission Guidelines above.]
- Personal Good Friday Reflection on 'Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.' Luke 23:46 by Gerald 'Jerry' Iversen
- Articles and Enrichment Activities by Susan Vogt
- Easter in Grand Canyon on the Colorado River
- Lenten Discipline: '40 Days of More-with-Less' submitted by Melodie Davis
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and year-around, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org."
Cover art by Tom Peterson.
©Creative Commons attribution, not-for-profit license
(originally Alternatives for Simple Living)
Additions/New/BonusDIY 'Who's Risen?'
Yes, you can produce our own customized, do-it-yourself of the classic Lent/Easter resource 'Who's Risen from the Dead, Anyway?' You're welcome to assemble and copy a version that meets your local needs. All of our resources and service are now free of charge.
CREATE - select the items most appropriate for your congregation or group, including graphics. Add some of your own original material if you choose.
PRODUCE - assemble the items in an attractive way, using publishing software (probably already on your computer) for a paper version; or electronic software for internet-based version (using PDF's of a paper version or a template for a newsletter version).
DISTRIBUTE - Hand out copies to your congregation or group at a worship service or meeting or by mail, make additional copies available to share with friends and relatives. Do not sell for a profit or copyright it under our Creative Commons license. Post it on your congregation's or your personal web site.
PROMOTE - Tell people where it's available using social media and any other ways available to you -- newsletter, worship bulletin, posters, etc.
Make your selections from the resources listed above.
Good Friday, April 3, 2015 -- Christ's Seven Last Words from the Cross
#6. Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit. Luke 23:46
Tenebrae Service, Bethel ELCA, Templeton, CA
Personal Reflection by Gerald 'Jerry' Iversen
We tend to think of these as some of Jesus' final words, his parting commitment. With our 20-20 Lutheran hindsight, we know this is not how the story ends. As our Baptist brother and prophet Tony Campolo famously says, 'It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'!' So let's be strong believers and paraphrase Jesus' words in light of our ELCA motto: 'God's work. Our hands.' In that way 'Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit' becomes 'Father, into your work we commit our hands.' That can lift us from some of our sentimental piety that can weigh us down, even depress us, during Holy Week.
As an Associate in Ministry, I am called a rostered leader in the ELCA. I have lived and continue to live a privileged and sheltered life. And I DON'T feel guilty about it. I'm thankful multiple times everyday -- out loud -- that I conduct my ministry without the burden of guilt. God has given me through my parents, the where-with-all to be generous AND the motivation to be generous.
Of course we face resistance to do God's work with my hands -- small resistances from other people and huge resistances from corrupt corporations and politicians.
Thankfully, I have heart-filling support -- from a wonderfully adventuresome spouse, from a son who's proving to be a better dad to our two grandkids than I was to him, and from a daughter who has cared more for God's creation through the National Park Service and for needy people through the Peace Corps than I could imagine myself doing. My parents, spouse and kids are some of my best role models! (Thank goodness they're imperfect, like me, or I might feel guilty.) And thankfully, I'm discovering more support here at Bethel.
I've been pressured to do ministry that I really didn't want to do. I can't remember anything that I wasn't able to do. I just didn't want to. The most memorable example was being directed by my board of directors to go out on the road to spread the word about Christian simple living. I prefer to work from my office, thank you. Yes, I could have quit. Instead I found the inspiration to do my regular work at home AND in 2-1/2 years to speak to over 300 groups in over 40 states.* Contrary to my home-body nature, I was gifted, I believe, by God through other people, the strength to do one of the most memorable accomplishments of my career.
Despite that, virtually every job I've ever had has ended in some form of failure. I won't bore you with the details. Nothing dramatic. Just disappointment. Smashed expectations. And every time a door slammed shut, a bigger door swung open. And with the thrill of a wider door comes higher expectations. I've been temped to say, 'Come on, God, wasn't my last effort good enough?'
Of course, we know that this work is not just about us and our feelings. It's 'God's work. Our hands.' Not God's blueprint. We are co-creators with God of the present and the future. Co-creators of the Earth's destiny.
Let's not belittle our role by using terms like Global Warming and Climate Change. Global Warming sounds like a nice day at the beach. Climate Change, big deal. Change happens all the time. Actually we're in the midst of Creation Crisis. And as co-creators, we bear the responsibility AND the privilege of caring for Creation. This is way beyond dominion over the Earth, even past stewardship of the Earth. It allows us to consider each move we make, every time we turn off a faucet or ride our bicycle or eat organic brussel sprouts or install solar panels on our home or our church, to prove to ourselves and to our fellow Earthlings that we are indeed occupied by the Holy Spirit. We can indeed treat our bodies as Temples of God. We don't need to prove anything to God. God's already on our side. Our millions of acts of caring assure us that we are co-creators, even if sometimes we don't want to do it.
'Father, into your work we commit our hands.'
Articles and enrichment activities by Susan Vogt on Lenten themes, i.e. lenten sacrifices, forgiveness, death conflict resolution, letting go of stuff:
1. Trophies for Tightwads
2. A Different Kind of Lent
3. A Piece of the Pie
4. When We Disagree
5. The Pinch
6. If I've Told You Once, I've Told You a 1000 Times
7. Forgive and Forget
8. Who Do I Hate?
9. Can You Eat on $4.50 a day?
10. Lent - Have you given up on giving up?
Vogt Blog Alert: February - April, 2015
Much of the past 3 months included Lent. As some of you know, this year my Lenten resolution was to 'Buy Nothing.' I quickly made exceptions for food, shelter, transportation, and medical necessities. See how I did by clicking Buy Nothing (my top menu tab) or click on the blue links below. If you want a short cut, #8 summarizes my insights.
'No Money or No Info' Outlines my plan and self imposed rules for spending money.
'Waiting to Buy' Describes my emotional reaction to what it feels like to have to wait to buy something. 'Freebies/Is It a Miracle?' Strange things are happening. Was it heavenly intervention or just a happy coincidence?
'Why I'm Not Poor' Despite buying next to nothing for 6 weeks, I started with advantages. It's not a level playing field.
'Bills, Shoes, & Gloves' What I wanted to spend money on but didn't. . . yet.
'Recreation' Paying for recreation prompted thoughts about what kind of recreation is free.
'Cheating? Justifying?' What counts as an allowable expense and when am I just playing games?
'7 Poor Insights' The insights are good; they're just a summary of what I learned about living in solidarity with the poor for 6 weeks.
After Easter I reflected on two rather quirky experiences I've recently had about letting go of stuff.
'Uber Recycling' Takes recycling beyond the usual to extreme measures and asks - Is it worth the trouble?
'Goodbye Maternity Clothes' Reflects on how long is it worth keeping maternity clothes?
Although curious minds may want to know the answer to these latter questions (or hopefully make some comments on the blog - please post your ideas) I'm about to embark on the more troublesome topic of TMI (Too Much Information). How do we tame the information coming into our minds through mail, email, and social media? Watch for these during May.
After that I think I'll take some time to reflect on the gift and challenge of receiving an inheritance - monetary, furniture, and memorabilia. Your thoughts are welcome.
Easter in Grand CanyonEaster on the Colorado River
When I joined the National Park Service at Grand Canyon I was naive. I fully expected a diverse, underfunded workforce with a 'can do' attitude like I'd experienced working for Peace Corps.
However, as with work in any large bureaucracy, what I really experienced were hours of mind-numbing data entry, turf battles and 'good old boy' clubs, even some hazing. Some days it can be frustrating, even demoralizing.
But every time I spend time actually in Grand Canyon, there is a renewal. Typically it takes about a day into a multi-day backpacking trip or day three of a river patrol to forget about the bureaucratic garbage, and leave it behind on the canyon rim.
Something about connecting to the true resource helps put everything into perspective and reminds me that that office junk doesn't matter. I'm sure it's the combination of clean air, intense physical exertion and mind-bogglingly beautiful scenery that cleans out my central nervous system.
This last river patrol over Easter, after ten years at Grand Canyon, I think will be my last. This time it took me six days to 'leave it all behind.' This time I wasn't so focused on interacting with the public, or taking data points, or drafting reports.
I was present. . . in Horn Rapid and Blacktail Canyon and Kanab Creek. I was present at Whispering Falls and Olo campsite. I just wanted to see, smell, feel, hear, experience Grand Canyon.
The last day of the patrol, we rowed the last five miles in silence. No one said a word. The sounds instead came from the water dripping from the oars, the canyon wren's down-scale song. The sights came from the black-as-night schist, the granite, the sun's reflection on the water. The smells came from the wetness, the creosote, the sage.
And then I was spoken to. Not in my ears. In my chest. The birds, the sun, the rocks, and thus their Creator, let me know. I felt gratitude as present and real as the canyon walls. I was being thanked for a job well done. Somehow this place knew that I am a very ephemeral being and appreciated the fact that I have committed so much of my life to its protection. It was the most profound thank you gift I had ever received. And then the sound of the water and the wren was joined by the sound of my tears.
I realized that I'm not working for the system, not for the office. Whom I am really working for, is grateful. Although I would never compare myself to Jesus, I do feel as though I was given a task, completed it to my best ability, and was acknowledged. Matthew 12:18 -- 'Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased.'
-- Elysha Iversen, Easter, 2014
Lenten DisciplineA young couple (with a two-month-old baby) are, as a Lenten discipline, cooking their way through Lent with the promise not to eat out (or even indulge in a coffee shop visit) and cook from More-With-Less cookbook.
A new post appears each Thursday at our blog, Mennobytes. Readers can look for the 'tag' of 'Forty Days of More-with-Less.'
Thanks. Keep up your good work!
Submitted 4/2/14 by:
Follow her blog at www.findingharmonyblog.com
Page updated 21 Dec. 2015
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