Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Good Friday and Passover under the same roof?

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What could a church be thinking? Good Friday is primarily observed by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Where, most, Jewish observers denounce that Jesus was the Messiah thus recognize Passover during this holy time. Passover commemorates the story of Exodus. So how can two totally different ideas blend together under one roof? It is quite simple really. It is about practicing being religious as opposed to just having religion. At least this is my take on the the whole idea. It is about recognizing God in all of his teachings not just one myopic perspective. It is about opening up the idea that there may be more than one truth and that some where along the lines the truths will cross into one.

During Good Friday sermon, also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday and Easter Friday, Paster Bill’s call to worship was this:

Pastor: I have tried to be good enough on my own
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I have tried to fix my own life
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I have tried to control my thought, my actions, my speech, my life
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: But at every turn I seem to fail
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I am wrong, messed up, broken, and desperate
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I am a sinner plain and simple
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I am lost and lonely and empty inside
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I need something, someone, to make me whole
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I need someone to make me clean
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: I need someone to make me new
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: GOD! I have tried to be good enough
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: But I have failed again and again
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: But I stand here, in this place, and say
Congregation: Crucify Him
Pastor: Because I need a savior.

Because I need a savior.

I am truly struggling not to make this a personal posting but more generic. If ever a Call to Worship was written about me, personally, this was the one. I am all those things and more. I am looking to God and praying for some semblance of salvation because I am so messed up and broken. I am reaching to Heaven above because I seem to fail at every turn. And in humanly form I honestly don’t know how much more I can endure.

There is the saying that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” but often times I find that I cannot handle what I am being given. Especially these past two years. And how that is infecting my children by association. So is this true or is this a false statement?

First Corinthians 10:13 in the NKJV reads, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This Scripture teaches us a powerful principle. If we belong to Him, God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing.

So, anything that comes our way, anything that tempts us, any tragedy that befalls us—we are capable of overcoming it and achieving spiritual victory. That does not mean it will always be easy. Quite the contrary—the fact that we may need a “way of escape” indicates that God sometimes allows difficult trials to come into our lives. We may not believe that we can overcome it, we may doubt our own strength to prevail, and we may even fail in the temptation. That does not mean, though, that we are not capable of overcoming that particular temptation. Whether it is a temptation to sin or a temptation to doubt God, God promises that we will be able to overcome it.

But what does it mean to “overcome” trials? It means the trials do not overcome our faith or our position as children of God, and we come through the trials intact. Our eternal destiny is not in danger because we are kept by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us as a down payment on our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). No trial can overcome that because it is of God. Therefore, the child of God will stand firm through the trials and come out on the other side still in God’s hand. This is proof that our salvation is real and our reward in heaven awaits us. James 1:12 assures us, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

(Provided by http://www.gotquestions.org/more-handle.html)

It is here, at this time of year, that we truly come together. That the lines between believers and doubters are most questioned. That the Jewish and Christian faiths cross into each other and depend upon each other for true fulfillment of God’s teachings. From Wikipedia it has this to say about Easter:

Easter (Old English: Ēostre; Greek: Πάσχα, Paskha; Aramaic and Hebrew: פֶּסחא‎ Pasḥa,) is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year.[1] According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday[2] (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday). The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and 36, traditionally 33.

Easter marks the end of Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of the Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. It occurs during the spring, in March or April; the method for determining the date of Easter Sunday is complex, based on lunisolar calendar.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many European languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are etymologically related or homonymous.[3] The term “Pascha”, from the same root, is also used in English to refer to Easter.

Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but decorating Easter eggs is a common motif. In the Western world, customs such as egg hunting and Easter Bunny extend from the domain of church, and often have a secular character.

Does Easter trump Christmas as far as importance or significance in the eyes of religion? I tried to look up an answer and only got others perspectives. The general consensus is no. They are of equal importance and significance because without one you wouldn’t have the other. The difference is, as mentioned earlier, that in Christianity they believe in the resurrection where in Judaism they do not. Both sects do believe that Jesus was born. So maybe, just maybe, from a religious perspective of bringing faiths together Christmas would be more significant, but not by meaning alone.

All in all, it is our faith and religious practice that is more important. It is recognizing not only in our words but in our actions the birth and sacrifice made for mankind that will mark the significance of what happened so many thousands of years ago. It is believing in the ultimate gift that God gave to us mere mortals, and respecting not only Him but His words as they are passed from generation to generation through our spiritual portholes.

I have found that so much is lost in this day and age. I have meet person after person that claims to be religious, they attend church faithfully, the teach Sunday school, and they are active in their faith. The one thing I have noticed is that religion and being religious are two different things. Though God would be pleased to see his faithful servants in his house, whether it is in the garden or a manufactured building, I think he would be more pleased to know that they were practicing his preaching on a day to day basis. That when His son died to help heal the mortal lands it was not done in vein but to lift up the spirits of the people to offer self sacrifice for the betterment of others (and I am not saying we should all go kill ourselves or be killed but to do so metaphorically by allowing our fellow man to make a mistake and to lift that mistake to God in sacrifice to form a better and stronger kinship as we all have made mistakes and ask for them to be taken from us). The Dalai Lama once said,

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the cultivation of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.

That is what I believe God would see as a step toward celebrating Easter and the sacrifice of his son. Regardless of whether he is the Messiah or is not, depending on your own belief, we can all agree that God did offer up His son for the care and happiness of others.

I look forward to being more religious in my practicing of religion, and that these teachings, this example, though I am riddled with failures, misguided actions, and that I am messed up, broken, and a sinner, will help my children be better adults and offer the world a more peaceful place. It is all I can do. I can do no more. And I will pray that I too can handle what is being dumped into my lap, though it is definitely shaking the foundation of my soul.

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Author: bkbites

Stay at home Mom of 3 boys, 1 goofy dog, 2 wickedly crazy cats, and a traveling husband. Ah, what can be better? It's a full life without a doubt.

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