Tag Archives: Holy Week

PEACE – Centered in the Holy

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 21, 2016

holy holy holy Isaiah 6

PEACE – Centered in the Holy

I am fascinated at how many variations people come up with. In terms of personal definitions of PEACE, that is.

(Reminder: not to worry! I will continue with posting of definitions of PEACE from the young people at St. Viator’s High School right after Easter!)

Some days ago, I attended a United Church of Christ ministerial meeting here in the Chicago area at the beginning of March. I asked a number of my fellow clergy “What does PEACE mean to you?”

The Reverend Sally Iberg came up with this personal definition of PEACE: “PEACE is centered in the Holy.”

Short, succinct. To the point.

I do not know Sally Iberg well. Her definition intrigued me at the time, and still interests me greatly. I haven’t had the time to connect with her to find out more about her definition. (Which intrigues me even further.)  When she speaks of the Holy, I know she refers to God. Yet, she refers to even more than God. (As most people think of God.)

I think of the astounding holiness of God. The Holy, indeed! When an individual is centered on God, of course there will be peace within. But, that’s not all. No! “The Holy” is a much more expansive concept of God. Yes, all-powerful and all-knowing. All-loving and, yes. PEACEFUL. Peace, like God’s peace. Peace, like the peace that passes all understanding, or Jesus’s peace—not as the world gives peace.

Oh, Holy One, thank You for Sally’s wonderful definition. It certainly sparked some pondering and meditation, as I took time and reflected. Dear God, especially in this Holy Week, help me keep Holiness before me. Help me ponder Your peace and holiness.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

This Do. Jesus Said So.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 9, 2015

Communion cup, grapes, wheat

This Do. Jesus Said So.

I read the passage set out for me, today, for Thursday of Easter Week. Mark 14, specifically the description of the Passover dinner Jesus celebrated with His disciples.

Mark’s usual terse words—almost journalistic in their simplicity—were made a little more descriptive, in this instance. Describing the way the disciples were to find a place, a room in the undoubtably busy city of Jerusalem, at the most congested time of the year. But Mark returns to his spare depiction as he describes the meal itself, and the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

I couldn’t help but be drawn to the words of institution. You see, I was just commissioned several weeks ago. Prayers said, hands laid on me. So, Holy Week was the first occasion of my celebrating the Lord’s Supper as pastor of a small congregation. It was a moving experience. A memorable time. And then, on Easter Sunday, the first Sunday in April, our church celebrated communion again.

Take, eat. This do. Drink ye all of it. Jesus said so.

I have always had a special reverence for communion, ever since I was a girl. I take the words of the apostle Paul quite seriously when he stated—in all seriousness—that as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again.

I’ve been able to lead in worship ever since seminary. It’s been a number of years—quite a number of worship services at retirement facilities, and sometimes substituting for my minister friends. Now, I am commissioned. The especially new part for me is celebrating and officiating at the Lord’s Supper. It was, indeed, a joyful occasion for me.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, we come to You this day, praising Your name. Thinking of the celebration of Easter. Remembering the Lord Jesus and His death, until He comes again. Help us to remember You in all we do, Lord Jesus, especially when we eat this bread and drink this cup. You told us it was important. Thank You for this physical, tangible reminder of You. It is in Jesus’ blessed, risen name we pray, amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Easter Monday, the Labyrinth, and Spring

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 6, 2015

Tiffany studios - Resurrection window

Tiffany studios – Resurrection window

Easter Monday, the Labyrinth, and Spring

Monday. The day after Easter. I took today for my day off, since I had worked hard for most of Holy Week. It’s one of the facts of my position, seeing as I am the pastor of a small church.

I took the opportunity to go to a convent nearby in Chicago, and walk on their outdoor labyrinth this morning. I heard a great deal of bird song as I walked. A sign of new life, if I ever heard one. A sign of the coming of spring

This evening, I read from the liturgical day book. I read a passage from the Gospel of John, the raising of Lazarus. Reflecting on that reading, too. Awesome opportunity to show the earth shaking power of God.

Praise God, no matter what. Praise God, whether wandering far away, or walking the labyrinth. Praise God. Jesus is risen! He is risen, indeed.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Number our Days, in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 22, 2015

praying hands 2

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Number our Days, in Prayer

I have visited hospitals and a hospice myself during the past few weeks, so I have been thinking about serious illness and death. On top of that, I am currently walking with and praying with several acquaintances as they prepare to transition from this world to the next. I try to be supportive to their families and loved ones, as well, offering to do what I can. Sometimes, I sit quietly in the room beside the family as they prepare for the transition. Whatever they might need, I try to supply it.

Several days ago, I attended a panel discussion sponsored by Life Matters at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The discussion centered on end-of-life concerns. I was particularly interested in how the representatives on the panel came from different religious groups, yet had so much in common when having end-of-life discussions. The most poignant remark (and my take-away for the evening) came from my acquaintance Rabbi Joe Ozarowski with Jewish Child and Family Services. He quoted his mentor: “Everyone has an expiration date.”

So true! Especially at such a thoughtful season of the year as the Lenten season, it is good to consider our mortality. As I am reminded by Psalm 90, teach us to number our days. For a few days more! In just a matter of days, Lent will have come and gone, Palm Sunday and Holy Week will be past, and the blessed celebration of Easter will once again be here.

I am encouraging us all to consider our expiration date in the revealing light of Lent as well as the blessed light of Easter. Yes, these are serious things to consider. However, we can make each day count by numbering our days.

Dear God, allow each of us to come before You in spirit and in truth. Help each one to be aware of our human-ness and our mortality. I think those are good things to consider, prayerfully. Dear Jesus, help each of us to remember You and Your journey to Jerusalem as Lent comes to a close. For each of us, please provide the knowledge, opportunities and experience each of us needs to not only live, but to flourish. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

What About the Day Afterwards?

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter alleluia Christ is risen

What About the Day Afterwards?

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

I suspect this was heard—and said—in countless churches around the world this past weekend. These words are the time-tested, traditional call-and-response manner of greeting on Easter Sunday.

The Lenten time of preparation before Easter is now past. This time of fasting, meditation and prayer is being observed more than ever. I might even say that Lenten observance is becoming more in fashion. (Not to be callous or flippant, but I have observed that tendency over the recent years.) And that’s a good thing!

Of course, Holy Week has been a high point for centuries, regardless of liturgy or non-liturgical observance. And Easter? Praise God, this is what everyone has been waiting for! Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death. He is risen! Alleluia! The Easter celebration is truly the high point of the entire Church Year.

My question remains, though. What about the day afterwards? What about the next forty days? Jesus did not immediately go up to heaven. No, He was here on earth for forty days until His ascension. I’m sure He met with His disciples, and told them some really fascinating things. And these conversations—which we do not have on record—must have been significant.

I happened to read a pertinent article this morning online, by Ray Hollenbach. There was one quote from the article I found riveting: “I’d love to get the podcast of everything Jesus taught in those 40 days [after Easter], but it hasn’t shown up on iTunes yet.” Isn’t it the truth? Gosh, I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in Mary and Martha’s house, or in the apartment where the disciples were staying!

I guess there is a reason why the New Testament is silent (for the most part) about the risen Jesus and His conversations during that waiting time. I don’t quite know what it is, but there must be a reason. Lord Jesus, what I do know is that we have a lot of information about You and Your love for us. And, we have a great deal of information about how to share Your love with others. So—I guess I need to do exactly that. I even have my marching orders from You.

Without any more ado, we ought to get down to prayer. Dear Lord, thank You for the reality of Easter. Thank You for loving us. You died for us. And we need to tell others about You and Your great love for everyone. Forgive me for shying away from those marching orders. Enable me—enable us to go forth and share the Good News about You! Thanks again! Amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink: