Friends! Greetings this lovely Lenten Season!
I confess I haven’t proclaimed what I’m giving up yet even tho’ Ash Wednesday was March 1st…usually it’s chocolate and I manage to fail at keeping the promise. Deep, I know…
My freshman year of college I gave up the elevator and walked the four flights of stairs to my room. Deeper…
I love what my friend, Nancy Sleeth from www.BlessedEarth.org , suggests:
“Consider what you might ADD during this season to draw closer to God?”
Nancy offers the following ideas:
All great ideas, thanks Nancy!
I have another stellar idea for you that our Tuesday Bible study group, a/k/a “Blessings on Burlington” is about to embark on to help us appreciate Easter more. We’ll be reading Liz Curtis Higgs’ newest book, The Women of Easter—Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene.
Before I even opened the book, I need to own up to the fact I wasn’t certain who all these Marys were. Once I dove in, I realized “Mary of Bethany” is none other than the chill-child-Mary vs. the nervous-Nellie-Martha…you know, that Mary and Martha duo.
How many times have we all said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things…” (Luke 10:41) Liz calls Martha the “first century Martha Stewart”. She kills me.
Mary of Nazareth was Jesus’ Mother and Mary Magdalene was the demon-possessed woman who Jesus healed and who became a devout follower of our Lord. The numerous details Liz reveals within each chapter on these Marys is fascinating.
Liz tells us readers, “We’ll meet three women of Easter who poured our their lives for their beloved Teacher. .. Mary of Bethany prepared the Lord for burial by anointing Him with a priceless perfume. Mary of Nazareth, who’d watched Jesus draw His first breath, bravely watched Him breathe His last. Mary Magdalene witnessed His resurrection and proclaimed the good news to His disciples.”
Liz walks us thru’ several parts of the Bible, teaching us along the way via various translations, making us feel as if we’re right in every scene. When Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave, you experience not only His affection for Lazarus, but the palpable grief from the sisters, Mary and Martha.
She explains what’s happening in certain passages, drawing a teaching point for us to think about, showing us how we can apply it to our life. She also builds the tension toward what we know is coming: the crucifixion…
Blissfully dotting the pages with her humor, we readers find this to be a relief from some of the very tough subject matter. For example, when Liz is talking about the disciples deserting Jesus and fleeing (Matthew 26:56), she says, “It’s heartening to realize that Scripture has no parallel stories of women betraying Jesus, denying Jesus, or abandoning Jesus.”
Frederick Dale Bruner said, “They’re not like the disciple-defectors.” (!!!) Lizzie calls Jesus’ female followers “loyal from start to finish.”
Good luck getting thru’ Chapter Seven without hunting down a Kleenex or two, or ten. Liz’ description of what Jesus endured as well as the women looking on will take your breath away.
Liz reminds us, “Lent is a time of remembering, of revisiting the familiar scenes in Scripture and discovering what God wants us to learn this year. We are not the same women we were twelve months ago. Our lives have changed and our perspectives have shifted. …His love for us has not changed, and our need for Him has not diminished.”
May we STOP… and consider what we’ve learned this past year as we refocus on the cross and the miraculous resurrection this Easter. Liz’ book is akin to a guided tour toward the cross…and yet, praises we sing, with an empowering ending. Let’s celebrate!
More GOOD NEWS:
If you live anywhere near Louisville and are nearby next Wednesday, March 22nd, don’t miss the opportunity to hear Liz speak at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church at 6:00 p.m. She’s one of their Lenten Series speakers and will be talking about this excellent book. She’s the third of five speakers each Wednesday before Easter. For more information, visit www.stfrancisinthefields.org
‘Til next time!