Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lent Ponderings {Start of Holy Week}

Last night at Home Church...
In reflection of God's great love for us and to prepare our hearts to celebrate this Holy Week, we broke bread together, in Holy Communion, around the table of thanksgiving.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them... ~ Luke 22:19, NIV.
It was a beautiful time... us all reflecting on the immense significance and impact of Grace, of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, for us as individuals and for humankind as a whole... and us all sharing, around that table of thanksgiving, the things that we have to be thankful for, even for those hard things and for those broken places in our lives!    

From page 32, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

We read excerpts from the book One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. It is no secret to those who know me personally and to those who read this blog regularly that this book has impacted me in a very deep way and has changed me for the better.

Since Ann's words on pages 32 and 33 are so relevant for this Holy Week, I wanted to share a snippet with our Home Church family last night:
Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo - the table of thanksgiving.
Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?
As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible.
The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be - unbelievably - possible! 
Charis. Grace.
Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving.
Chara. Joy.
"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live... He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything."
Last night's communion around the table of thanksgiving with our Home Church family was just the boost I needed to jump-start this Holy Week. It was life-giving, joy-inducing, soul-lifting!

During this season of Lent...
As I go through daily readings from A Place At The Table by Chris Seay, I have been reminded once again that we really do have so much to be thankful for... and that it is utterly important for us as Christ-followers to live out our faith, to live out our thanks, to be bread for those in need... to give, to bless, to sacrifice.

For God loved the world so much that He gave... 

Jesus is our ultimate example. With outstretched arms, nail-pierced hands, thorn-pierced head... He suffered and gave us the greatest gift... a life abundant!

So, shouldn't we live fully? In response to Grace? 

Shouldn't we live out thanks? As an expression of our faith?
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. {Read more from James, chapter 2.}
:: :: ::

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... these are the things I am thankful for... #3189 - #3207:
:: Our Home Church family! ♥ 
:: Abundant life in and through Christ Jesus!
:: Reading letters from our Compassion children.
:: Getting new passports... even before knowing that God is sending us on another wild adventure this summer. {More on this in a future blog post.} 
:: Access to free and world-class, top-notch medical care... a normal brain MRI result for my girl... and hopefully a confirmation of a diagnosis for eye migraines.    
:: Our whole family at a live Raptors game to celebrate my girl's 17th birthday
:: My new cast-iron pot!
:: March Break... and a short getaway to Montreal, for a speed-cubing competition {for my boy} and to visit a university {for my girl}.
:: Another successful AIDS Care season at our church!
:: Visiting our friends at Camp Freedom and touching base about some summer plans.
:: Another sandwich run for the homeless... and the opportunity to partner with my boy's school on packing the care packages.
:: A lunch with some girlfriends.
:: Tax returns filed on time! Phew!
:: Celebrating a family wedding.
:: A great team of leaders to serve alongside with at our church. Blessed! ♥
:: Spring update from our Lead Pastor... thankful that God chooses to partner with us to build His Kingdom.
:: Coffee time with my sister... 
:: A great youth retreat for my kids just this past weekend.
:: God's peace in the midst of our stresses, worries and troubles. 
In counting grace-gifts...
I am learning to let be and be still... and to pay more attention to my Jesus... and to be ready to act on the things that He has in store for me to do... because "all there is to see is Jesus."
Gratitude is the only appropriate response to Grace.

For more One Thousand Gifts blog posts... 

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

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