by Paul Selden
by Hannah Alford
On Monday, Ruth began to touch on just what Holy Week is and more specifically, what Wednesday represents. Wednesday presents us with a time of intentional prayer and reflection in preparation for Maundy Thursday. So what does this have to do with with “Carry on my Wayward Son?” Well I’m so glad you asked (even if you didn’t bear with me)!
“Carry on my Wayward Son,
They’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more…”
When Jesus went out into the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, and in this intense reflection, he wept. Crucifixion was one of the most painful deaths you could have, saved only for those who were torturous or wicked, and Jesus knew this so rightfully he was afraid. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22:1. But even in this time, God was with Jesus and gave him the strength to die knowing all of the lives he’d save through his sacrifice. There are two ways you can look at the chorus of “Carry on my Wayward Son” either it is God speaking to Jesus, comforting him in his time of fear; or it is a comfort to you and me. No matter what happens on earth there is always a light, or peace coming your way. So carry on, because the worst thing is never the last thing, and with God behind you, nothing can come close to the good you will do in the world!
by Ruth Hallstead
If you went to church yesterday, you probably heard and sang some Hosannas, watched kids wave palm branches, and got swept up in the excitement of Jesus’ arrival and grand entrance. The hymns were joyful, and outfits were bright and happy. It’s like a mini Easter! How neat is it that we get two joy-filled Sundays in a row? Well, kind of. It’s easy to treat this week like any other week, or even think “Holy cow, there is too much church this week” (you could go to a Wesley affiliated service every day except Saturday). That’s not why it’s called Holy Week though… Now is the time to understand how we get from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify him!” Here’s a quick rundown of what Holy Week is all about. Yesterday, we rejoiced and waved palm branches to welcome Jesus into town. Wednesday is often a day for preparation through intentional prayer and reflection. Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ last night with His disciples through communion and foot washing–a bittersweet night filled with love, sacrifice, and sorrow. Good Friday will seem like anything but good as we follow Jesus through His arrest, trial, and death. It can be tempting to skip the emotional roller coaster between Palm Sunday and Easter; to forget about the pain and sorrow that Jesus went through, to ignore what was required of one man to save all of mankind, to take the easy way out and simply rejoice on Sunday with everybody else. Resist that temptation. Without Friday especially, we can’t have Sunday. There can be no joy in resurrection without death first. It may be tough to make time to go to church when you know you’ll have to face the fact that Jesus died because of us and by our hands. Your week will probably be busy enough without “extra” church, especially some that reminds you how broken humans are and the pain we so often cause others. But do it anyway, because Jesus didn’t only die because of us, He died for us. Remember. Reflect. And then, rejoice in the celebration of the greatest April Fool’s trick of all time.
Due to the threat of severe weather and in keeping with our policy of following the university’s lead, all activities including Monday night prayer are cancelled today, March 19. Additionally, the Wesley building will close at 6:30pm.
by Ruth Hallstead
Who/what is the king of your heart? Is it money, stuff, reputation? Perhaps it’s an actress, athlete, your followers on social media? There is a lot of talk about idols in the Bible, but it can be hard to translate that into today’s terms… People rarely bow down to worship literal idols today. Idols come in many forms though, and we often face pressure both internally and externally to put someone or something above the Lord in our hearts. Let’s focus on external pressure today. From commercials, to social media, to friends, pressure is everywhere. Do this, buy that, post these pictures, be more like that person… What should we do in situations like this? How do we bring our focus back to the Lord, the true king of our hearts? Let’s go to the Bible for an example. Rack, Shack, and Benny were happy employees of Mr. Nezzer’s chocolate factory, when suddenly Mr. Nezzer announced that all employees must worship a giant chocolate bunny and sing the bunny song every day. They refuse over and over again because they know that this is wrong, so Mr. Nezzer throws them into a furnace, where surprisingly they survive! They explain to Mr. Nezzer that their God is the only person they can worship, Mr. Nezzer realizes his mistakes, and they all live happily ever after (ok, that may not have been the Daniel 3 version… fun fact though, this VeggieTales episode starts with a letter from Tuscaloosa). Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego showed us a valuable lesson. Stick close to the Lord, stand by His word and teaching, and you will be protected. It may not be fun, it certainly won’t be easy, and it could be lonely. But these three were willing to die; they told the king they would never bow down to anything, even if their God didn’t deliver them from the fire. No matter the pressure from others, they knew their God was behind them, in this world and the next. Their God is our God, and He will stand with us when we stand up for Him. The next time you face pressure to put someone or something above the Lord, remember that “God made you special, and He loves you very much” Enough to protect you from a fiery furnace, or simply help you keep Him first.
by Paul Selden
As Hannah mused on the teachings of Queen Bey on Wednesday, we learned how Jesus is always there to support us and guide us through troubling times. I am going to look on the other side of this tune by Miss Knowles. In our life we often like to take pride in our status, such as having nice clothes, good health, or even a rocking GPA. While in many situations we may have worked long and had to attain these different things, ultimately we can get very distracted with these different things. Beyonce says this to us
“Just when you think we had it all
Big ends, condos, collecting cars
Picture your life elevating with me”
Although in the context of the song this might have a little bit of a different meaning, I would like to consider this as something Jesus might say to us. We can spend our time chasing status, wealth, beauty, and different achievements, but without our focus on Jesus above all these things it can be fruitless and very temporary. “Picture your life elevating with me”: a relationship with Christ is the most rewarding and powerful of all things, and elevating with him to the Kingdom of heaven is incomprehensibly better than all things that could possibly attained on earth.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Ultimately, realizing that our accomplishments are through the providence of God humbles us. In order to appreciate these things we should strive to give back: if it is money we have then give freely to help others, if it is intelligence we have then teach others and help them grow more wise, if it is physical ability we have then serve God through work. These gifts have been freely given to us by the gifts of God, so let us use love to help pass the fruits of these gifts onwards to others so that we may “elevate” with the Lord.