Dying, and Behold, We Live

Well, hello there. My name is Melissa. I used to be around here some. Forgive me for the awkward intrusion. This is less of an essay or a blog post and more like sharing some disjointed sentence-fragments I scribbled down this morning. I hope you don’t mind. Sometimes when I have the most in my heart, I am least able to write. But I guess I just wanted to write something, you know? You see, like the colors of spring, the beauty of Jesus is taking me again by surprise this Holy Week. Each Holy Week I wonder if the climactic narratives about Jesus will finally this time, this year, hit me flat. But they don’t. They seize me again.

Jesus seizes me.

I grew up in a Baptist church. My most vivid memories of the Easter season are from Palm Sunday, the big green palms and the choir decked in long white robes. And the hymns. But then I don’t remember much of anything between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday. Now, that could say more about me than it does my church tradition. Memory is a funny thing, isn’t it? (Also, I wasn’t paying that much attention.)

Several years ago now I got the opportunity to spend some time studying with teachers and students from other Christian denominations. I think often about words I first read those years ago from Walter Brueggemann. He said that the final three days of Passion (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) “must not be homogenized but must be kept discreet and distinctive, each for its own weightiness” (Brueggemann reviewing Alan E. Lewis’ Between Cross and Resurrection). For the first time, I learned to slow down and carefully take my time walking through Holy Week. My friends taught me to contemplate what the cross of Christ meant on its own terms, to confront the violence in my own heart on Good Friday. To feel the utter despair of dashed hopes and dreams on Holy Saturday. They introduced me to thinkers such as Paul W. Meyer who said things like: “We need sometimes to think about the crucifixion of Jesus as if there had been no resurrection just so that we might understand what the resurrection itself meant for those early Christians” (“The This-Worldliness of the New Testament” by Paul W. Meyer). Thinkers like Meyer forced me to tarry in front of Christ’s cross before rushing to that refrain so familiar to me, “Sunday’s coming!”

I’m currently finishing a wonderful book called A Glorious Dark by A.J. Swoboda (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2014). Swoboda argues that Christian faith must enter all three days of the long weekend: “we must embrace the pain of Friday’s sunset, the awkwardness of Saturday’s silence, and the hopeful sunrise of Sunday morning.” Swoboda suggests that most of us, rather than entering the whole weekend, are selective about the one day we want to experience. Swoboda says that this picking and choosing creates three incomplete “knock-off” versions of Christianity:

“Friday Christianity is the religion of those who’ve chosen to find their identity in a spirituality of defeat, death, and loss. Their spiritual depth abides solely in the torment of the suffering on the cross . . . Sunday Christianity is equally problematic. These chipper, slick, ever-too-happy Christians see God in, and only in, victory, prosperity, and blessing . . . Sunday Christianity dismisses the realities of death and loss . . . Saturday Christianity is for those of us who’ve come to consider doubt and ambiguity as final destinations rather than conduits through which we actually enter into resurrection. When we celebrate only Holy Saturday, we believe, in our doubt and questioning, that we have permission to be cynics and deconstructionists—and that everyone should sit in our graves with us.”

I think Swoboda is right about this tendency. I can certainly see it in myself and I think I can see it in others around me too.  Even if I have learned to journey a little slower through Holy Week, to take each day on its own, at heart I have mostly just been a Holy Saturday Christian, I think. Swoboda helped me see that about myself and made me long for more.

Few Christian thinkers conceive of how the death of Jesus and the resurrected life of Jesus co-exist in the Christian as creatively as the apostle Paul. Paul writes to the Corinthians:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. (2 Cor. 1.8-10 ESV)

And Paul continues a few chapters later:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Cor. 4.8-12 ESV)

Paul not only speaks of sharing in Jesus’ sufferings, he also speaks of sharing in his comfort (2 Cor. 1.3-6). Most stunning is how Paul articulates his apostolic ministry. He describes it as an experience akin to death for him but he says that it renders life in the ones whom he serves. So death is at work in us, but life in you. This absolutely takes my breath away.

Bringing someone else life can feel a lot like dying.

We love to be with people who are “life-giving,” right? We use this phrase often. But we grow weary of being the life-giving ones, because, frankly, it requires a whole lot of dying that we don’t want to do. Because it hurts a lot. Because it goes against everything in the depths of us most of the time. We quickly tire of being the ones who are pouring ourselves out. We want people to get their crap together, to stop being so draining. But if we carry Jesus’ death in our own bodies, if we pour out all we have, if we die to our own selfishness, our own agendas, we will gain everything. The life of Jesus of Nazareth will be made manifest in our mortal flesh, Paul says.

A few days ago I read a sermon by Rowan Williams called “Into Daylight” from Easter Morning, 2004 (see Choose Life; London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013). I thought it was incredibly beautiful and worth sharing an excerpt here with you. Williams says:

“If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, you are not just believing an odd fact from two thousand years ago; you are trusting that there is a kind of life, a kind of love and trust and joy that is the very essence of Jesus’ identity which is now coming to life in you. As it comes to life, you begin to know that no amount of pressure and stress and suffering in your life has power in itself to break the bond that has been created between you and Jesus’ life and activity. You are alive with a fuller and deeper life than just your own. Your resources are more than you could ever have imagined. Jesus rises from the dead so as to find not only his home in heaven but his home in us. He rises so that we may rise out of the prisons of guilt, anxiety, self-obsession or apathy that so constantly close around us. But for this to happen, says St Paul, we have to go on, day after day, getting used to parts of us dying, just as Jesus died: we have to get used to the beloved habits of self-serving and self-protecting being brought into the light that shines from Jesus’ face and withering away in that brightness. That’s why Paul says that Christians go around with both death and life at work in their lives—always trying to let the light of Jesus kill off these sick and deadly habits, always letting the new life that is ours but so much more than ours shine through” (Rowan Williams, Choose Life).

Friends, I wish you and all the ones you love a most meaningful and sacred weekend reflecting on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus our Lord. From him and through him and to him are all things. “For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them” (2 Cor. 5.14-15 NRSV).


212 Responses to “Dying, and Behold, We Live”

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  1. 51
    Patsy says:

    Thank you Melissa for sharing. Very moving and thought provoking.
    I am always looking for Sunday morning.He is Risen!
    I have not really dwelt in the time between when the disciples must
    Of been totally devastated….
    God Bless,

  2. 52
    Betty M says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I too grew up Baptist and I am not sure if it was just that I was a kid and wanted to focus on a few facts of Easter or what but all I remember was a short amount of time spent on Good Fri not even sure if we had church. Then it was fast forward to Easter Sun and new patent leather shoes and a stiff itchy nylon Easter dress and bunnies and eggs! That was the gist of it. Now please do not take that I am pointing a finger at all Evangelicals as being uncaring and simplistic, I am just bringing up the richness of the Liturgical experience which, granted can be methodical and lose it’s meaning as well.
    So much we missed though in those years. Going to a Liturgical church now, yes they can be ritualistic but we do contemplate on a grader scale each of the three parts we should consider. We usually think of the institution of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday then on Fri eve our little church has the service of Tenebrae or darkness. As the seven last words from the cross are meditated on a candle is extinguished on the alter until they are all extinguished and the church is relatively dark. We sing a hymn in the darkness and the huge Bible is slammed shut signifying the work of our salvation is finished. Our church chancel areas are stripped bare for the services and it is with quietness and reverence we leave the church without greeting each other. Some churches complete the Triduum by having an Easter Vigil service on Sat eve with a candle processional etc. Then on Easter Sun some have a Sunrise and a later divine service with breakfast somewhere in between. It is a big week but so necessary to get the whole picture.
    You are so right Melissa, we have to experience all of it to get the true joy and horrible beauty of any of it.
    The Liturgical churches get a black eye for being too repeatative to the point of it all being mechanical but it is almost as bad to gloss over the ugly fact of it all to fast forward to the victory.
    Have a most blessed Easter and remember He IS risen!!
    Love to you all,

    • 52.1
      Melissa says:

      Betty, I loved reading insights from your own life and experience. Thank you for sharing and may you have a blessed rest of this Holy weekend. Grace and peace, MM.

  3. 53
    Angela says:

    She’s back!! Melissa, I am so very happy to see your post. You have been sorely missed! Thank you for blessing us!

    Angela, Mansfield TX

  4. 54
    Redeemed says:

    Oh, SO GOOD to hear from you!!!

    This is a very timely word. Thank you!

  5. 55
    JanaR says:

    Great read Melissa! Thanks for posting! Has made me look at Holy Saturday differently!
    And great to hear from you again on the blog! 🙂

  6. 56
    Ann Thiede says:

    Thank you so much, Melissa, for such good spiritual food this morning! Didn’t realize how hungry I was. How great is our God!

  7. 57
    Judy Grieve says:

    Thank you for this very thought provoking blog. It give this Holy Saturday, lonely Saturday more depth and meaning. Taking time to reflect on the despair of 2 thousand years ago deepens my understanding of Christ’s last 3 days and the greater design God created for this time.

    This makes tomorrow’s sun (son) rise come to life for me.

    Thank you again for making the time to share with us all.

    Easter Blessings

  8. 58
    Becky from FL says:

    Dearest Melissa,
    Thanks for sharing with us today … yes, we do miss you.
    May your Easter Sunday be all that you need and more.
    Loving hugs

  9. 59
    Jodi says:

    I love this perspective. I am one of those who has skipped over the weightiness of this Saturday….yes, He died on the cross but (quickly) He rose. To consider what those early Christians must have experienced between the death and resurrection…to pause in time, waiting, wondering, maybe even doubting…makes His resurrection even more lovely, more beautiful, more joy-filled, more hope affirming. Thank you for the insight. Today, I will pause.

  10. 60
    Teresa says:

    Dear Melissa,

    I don’t comment often, but I do try read the blog when I can to keep up with your beautiful Mom! She doesn’t know it but, she helped me walk my way out of a dark place back to that “long road in the right direction”. She’s a terrific encourager when you think you are never going to find something that looks close to familiar once you acknowlege you are lost.

    However, this comment is for you so I do hope you have a chance to read all of the many you are going to be getting here!

    You just blow me away everytime I have the privilege of reading your heart thoughts. I KNOW in my very heart and soul what you are saying and where you have been and the amazing journey that you have been on. I know my own faith tradition growing up, for which I am thankful, was Easter Sunday all the way! It was all about the Victory of the Resurection.

    I still know that the fact that Jesus rose from the dead is the real true victory, but in my new found Christian faith, I have learned just as you have, that it can be taken for granted if we don’t at least in our thoughts and prayers observe Holy Week.

    I love Dr. Walter Brueggemann! Huge WOW that he was your professor! I’ve read most of the theologians you mentioned above and I’ve learned so much from them as well.

    You are a truly brilliant scholar and still as beautiful as ever, even more so!

    Have a blessed Easter, Sweet Girl and May the Peace of Christ be with you as we finally celebrate afresh His glorious ressurection.

    • 60.1
      Melissa says:

      Teresa, thank you so much for your comment. I agree with the kind words you said about Mom (but I’m hopelessly biased). Thanks for reading along. Also, just for clarity’s sake, I actually never had Brueggemann in class nor have I ever met him in person. He was Emeritus by the time I got to Columbia Seminary. But I read everything he writes so I do consider myself something of a student of his, though from a distance. Thanks again for taking the time to say hello and my very best to you and yours this special Holy weekend. Grace and peace.

  11. 61
    Natalie says:

    My goodness, Melissa! This is words to savor and ponder. I will hold this one around in my brain for a while

    “Bringing someone else life can feel a lot like dying.”

    Ii wonder aometimes of the pain and heavy work is worth the cost. It can sometime drive me to question and consider giving it up. But then there is the promise of new life in Christ for someone. That faithful promise is enough. But I can see that from your writings that my feelings are not just mine and that they are truly part of the process and not my weakness.

    Love you friend! Keep writing!

    • 61.1
      Melissa says:

      Natalie, I loved hearing from you on here. It’s amazing to see the way Paul thinks about how the life and death of Jesus are both at work in his own life. It could change the entire way we think about living and dying, really. You are something else. Thanks for all you do. And hope you are somewhere resting today. (But I doubt you are! :)) See you tomorrow, I hope!

  12. 62

    Melissa, I agree that during the Easter season, we should slow down and savor it, especially Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. I grew up in the Catholic faith, so we had Lent leading up to Easter, and we had a Good Friday service. After being baptized a Christian 25 years ago, I have lost the season, and only celebrated Easter Sunday. Thankfully, more Christians now are following Lent (I did with Margaret Feinberg’s blog, reading the 4 Gospels over the 40 days). Also, more Christian churches are holding events all 3 days of Easter. The church where I am a member now, celebrated the Passover Friday night. It was my 1st time, and I loved it! It gave so much more meaning to this holy weekend. (It challenged my taste buds too.) Today (Saturday) I read the last few chapters of John’s Gospel to finish up my Lent reading. It has me pondering how those 1st Christians felt that weekend. I plan to dress up for Easter service, even though our church services are very casual. I like making Easter special. I will wear a skirt, nylons, and blouse. Thanks for coaxing us to make more than just Easter Sunday special.

    • 62.1
      Melissa says:

      Janet, I so loved reading about your journey! How fantastic. I have such respect for Margaret Feinberg and know that your time walking through the four gospels must have been wonderful and insightful. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with me. I do indeed hope your Resurrection Sunday is extra special. Grace and Peace.

  13. 63
    Kathleen says:

    Thank you. That was a really thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I have always felt the exhaustion of giving and giving, but never thought of it in these terms before. It’s a lot to process, and I will have to return to study this some more. Wow.

  14. 64
    ULCARDSFAN says:

    Beautiful and thought provoking. SO glad you are back Melissa. Thanks for taking time out of your day to share with all of us. Happy Easter!

  15. 65
    Susan Innes says:

    Thank you for sharing, Melissa. Amen and amen!

  16. 66
    Diana A. says:

    Welcome Home Melissa!

    Thank you sharing your heart and thoughts!

    Holy, Holy, Holy IS The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!

  17. 67
    Julie Reynolds says:

    I am so glad to see your writings here. I do love your thoughts and the things you share. “We love to be with people who are “life-giving,” right? We use this phrase often. But we grow weary of being the life-giving ones, because, frankly, it requires a whole lot of dying that we don’t want to do. Because it hurts a lot.” This sums up the last weeks of my life, my thoughts and my emotions. I know that it wasn’t your intention but you truly ministered to me by letting me know I am not alone in these thoughts even as I strive to die to self and go where He leads. Thank you again Melissa, you have touched my heart.

  18. 68
    Jill says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I love Jesus so much and he is helping me thru a hard time right now. Great post .
    Blessings to you Melissa .
    I’m actually going thru a divorce. And clinging to the word.

    • 68.1
      Melissa says:

      Jill, thank you for reading. I am saying a prayer for you right now. The nearness of God is your good. May His presence be sweet to you. Grace and peace, Melissa.

  19. 69
    Eposi says:

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa! Always blessed by your insights!

  20. 70
    FloridaLizzie says:

    Thank you for a wonderful post, Melissa. It was so good to think upon these 3 days of Holy Week. I love Maundy Thursday service most of all, which I experienced in a Presbyterian background. So often God reminds me at that service to think about what Jesus asked His disciples after washing their feet, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” Do I really understand how much my Savior stooped down to serve us in so many ways, including saving me, and do I serve others with His love?

    And then so often I have been reminded at that Thursday night service that there can be no resurrection without a death. God has spoken to me there about the death of many dreams for my life that had to die (ability to have more children, a 27 year marriage) so He could resurrect something new and better for me. Those “deaths” have been painful, but knowing Jesus better through shattered dreams has been an amazing journey.

    Thank you for a beautiful reminder to slow down and ponder each day of Holy week. God’s story of redemption has so much to teach us from every angle. May you be blessed this Easter and this year. And please keep writing–we’ve missed you!

  21. 71
    Judi says:

    Judi, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

    “I love YOU O LORD my strength”, The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.

    Psalm 18:1, 2a NAS

  22. 72
    Jamee Miller says:

    Melissa–welcome back!!!! We are so blessed every time you open your mouth…or your laptop, as the case may be. 🙂 I absolutely loved what you shared from Swoboda. I have to tell you that it opened a door to talk theology with someone who was raised in a church that was 100% Friday Christianity and I am so grateful! I shared it with her when she spoke of what a burden it was to walk through the season of Lent in her congregation because it was so focused on guilt/pain. She was truly moved by the idea of embracing the whole picture of the week and not just a portion of it. Thank you for sharing it along with all of the rest! Loved every word!! Sending much love and many prayers your way!!

  23. 73

    Hey Melissa, I always love reading your posts. I’m going through James right now and am thoroughly enjoy your input.

  24. 74
    Linda McMorris says:

    Loved your post. Easter really is three independent events and each are so important.

  25. 75
    Alison Sparre says:

    Alison Sparre, Sacramento, CA

    Colossians 1:21-22 HCSB
    21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. 22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him–

  26. 76
    Astrid says:

    So nice to hear from you- love your thought provoking and insightfully written contributions to LPM.

    I am also learning to slow down and ponder my place in the story- growing up it was always ‘THEY’ who slept/denied/betrayed/accused/mocked Jesus…I off course would have acted differently…It’s a beautiful and sobering process to awaken to the reality that ‘THEY’ is ‘ME’.

    Happy Easter!

  27. 77
    Denise says:

    Melissa — it is so good to read a message from you! We also took the time to be intentional this year. I wanted to have really contemplated what happened and discuss it as a family throughout the week. You stated it best — it has seized us too.

  28. 78
    Melissa May says:

    Thanks, Melissa. I resonate so much with Holy Saturday. It’s a season I’m in right now. Thank you for sharing what was on your heart with us.

  29. 79
    Marjorie Scheib says:

    Melissa, what a beautiful post. I have read through it a few times and now again this Easter morning. I want to remember it for next year’s season. To move slowly through the days.
    It was such a treat to open the blog and see “Melissa” right at the top. And that it was a long one! I paused, poured a cup of tea, got in my reading chair, pulled out my note pad because I had a feeling it was going to be one of those kinds of posts! And it was and is. Welcome back and I hope you visit often.

  30. 80
    Sierra says:

    This was beautiful and poignant. I love the sentence about Jesus lives to have a home not in Heaven but in our hearts. Death to selfishness. Lately I have been dealing with ugly self-stuff because I get out of bed at 6:30 or so and tip toe downstairs to read my bible. It seems, always, without fail- little footsteps follow me. It is hard, with 3 young kids, to get any alone time. I trust Jesus will give me sacred moments through the day… but it definitely brings out the stuff in me that needs to die. This Easter let’s allow that painful process so we can take hold of more of the abundant life of Jesus and the resurrection!

  31. 81
    Marsha Householder says:

    Thank you so much. I really needed to read this.

    He Is Risen!

  32. 82
    Carla says:

    Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for your post! I would love to read more posts from you! You always stretch my thinking!

  33. 83
    northern girl says:

    Well written Melissa

  34. 84
    The Apple of His Eye says:

    Thank you for posting…I ALWAYS look forward to read what is on your heart, it is always so deep and thought-provoking. So often I have rushed through to Easter and have overlooked the darkness that this day held for his followers…..and thinking of that, trying to put myself into their shoes, makes Easter so much more wonderful. Once we’ve lived in that darkness, the sunrise of Easter means oh so much more. Thank you for sharing.

  35. 85
    Erin D. says:

    “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
    Revelations 7:9 (NIV)

  36. 86
    Carolyn Stutz says:

    Welcome back, Melissa! I have been praying for you over the last year or so as the Spirit brings you to mind…which, interestingly enough, is quite often considering we’ve never met 🙂

    My only wish is that this would have been written/posted BEFORE Palm Sunday. For years I have felt unsettled during this time believing there was something wrong with me because there seemed to be something missing. All I knew is that there was a part of me that I think WANTED to concentrate more on Jesus’ death because for some reason His resurrection almost seemed like it was no big deal. I’ve been a born-again believer for 40 years but I’ve been in a Pentecostal church for all that time. We concentrate on Sunday’s celebration and almost gloss over Friday…and Saturday.

    Reading your post helps me understand the WHY behind what I’ve been feeling all these years and realizing now that it was the Holy Spirit Himself tugging at my heart. I so wish I’d known this before, but I can honestly say the timing of this message goes right along with everything else God is speaking to me.
    Thank you so much,

  37. 87

    I fled the Episcopal Church several years ago. I miss the way the Episcopal Church celebrates Communion as well as Holy Week.

    I am glad to see Christians across the world from many different denominations discover Lent and Holy Week.

    Your post stirred up the good part of tradition deep inside me. I worshiped with my former church family this morning. It was a blessing.

    He is Risen!

  38. 88
    Warm In Alaska says:

    I really can’t even begin to tell you how fitting your words are. Yesterday was a gruesome day. And I mourned that it was so – but now I see maybe it was only fitting as this should be a wrenching day for us.

    But also, not to park on Holy Saturday, to let the Lord walk me into Sunday – and anxious women and an early morning and an empty tomb and a risen Lord.

    Thanks, Melissa. It is always a big treat when you share your thoughts and words in Siestaville.

  39. 89
    Melany says:

    Welcome back, Melissa! I’ve missed your posts(but have enjoyed those by others)! For most of my life, I have focused on Fri. and Sun. and have mostly missed Sat. However, having been in a “Sat./waiting” time in my life for a little while now, I am much more tuned in to that part of the Easter story than I used to be. Thank you for your though-provoking insights!

  40. 90
    Carla says:

    Oh Melissa!! Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back!! I’ve missed your writing & insight into scripture. I still chuckle over your Valentine’s Day post you wrote a few years ago over the Song of Solomon & your professor wearing a trash can on his head with the eye holes cut out. 🙂 I laughed out loud (literally) again at your statement “We want people to get their crap together, to stop being so draining.” Keep on keeping it real & telling it like it is, Melissa!

    I too identify with the “slick Sunday Christian” who skip over the death of Jesus & dismiss the realities of death & loss but I consider it more carefully since I read another of your posts a few Good Fridays ago about the same thing just focusing on “Sunday’s coming.” I find myself pausing to think seriously about what Jesus went through that Friday on the cross. Thank you for taking the time to share your “disjointed sentence fragments.” Hope to hear more from you sooner rather than later.

  41. 91
    Polly says:

    Polly, New Port Richey, FL — — For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 ESV

  42. 92
    Shannon says:

    This was one of the most meaningful and insightful reflections on Holy Week I have ever read. It moved me deeply. I too was brought up where Easter was all about Sunday and the resurrection, but over the last few years I’ve come to realize the depth of the days leading up to it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and heart.

  43. 93
    Beverly Vance says:

    Bartlett, TN

    How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.

    II Samuel 7:22

  44. 94
    Joy says:

    Thank you so very much for these thought provoking words. i grew up and still belong to The Catholic Church. i have so loved walking through this past week with Christ. Starting with The Tenebrae Service to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then our Glorious Ressurection Easter Vigil. You have walked us through these days very nicely.
    May Christ continue to shine through you.

  45. 95
    nancy mattingly says:

    First of all, I love that you wrote. I’ve missed you here. I also love the way that you write. and the way that you think. It always pushes me to think more deeply. and to want to think more deeply. You challenge me, encourage me, and breathe life into me. Thank you so much…. So very proud of you, Lis, and love you like crazy.

  46. 96
    Melissa AuClair says:

    Melissa, thank you for sharing. I’ve missed reading your posts- you help me think differently.
    I was really wrestling with Holy Week this year-it felt like, as Beth said in a book or teaching (I forget where!) “my theology and my reality weren’t meeting.”
    I felt convicted that I try to compartmentalize life – and even Jesus and faith- to either Holy Friday, Saturday or Sunday categories, instead of seeing them as a seamless blend- part of God’s plan and purpose.
    I hope this makes sense. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for helping me to think and consider Holy Week in a more robust way.

  47. 97
    Pamela McDonald says:

    It’s so good to hear from you again! Thank you so much for the insight of this post. It certainly has given me much food for thought. I so appreciate the wisdom of your writing.

  48. 98

    Dear Melissa, what a blessing it was to read your post. 🙂 It reminded me of a convicting thought I had last night while my husband and I watched “A.D. The Bible Continues” on NBC. The part when the disciples were devastated after Jesus died on the cross. In the show, Mary reminded them that He (Jesus) said he would raise again in 3 days. They all just stared at her with blank stares. God reminded me of how I so often don’t believe what He tells me even what is written in His Holy Word. Maybe I need to do the bible study “Believing God”. I just signed up for these blog emails within a few months, so this is the first time I read one of your blogs, but I was so excited when I saw it was you. I went through the bible study “James” several years ago with women at a Baptist church I was fellowshipping at. (Now we go to a non-denominational church, and in between an Assemblies of God church). After I did the James study it was on my heart to send you and Beth and Living Proof a card and a CD. The reason I thought about the CD a few years ago is because throughout the study you or your mom said “A Beautiful Thing” several times. My husband has a 2-song CD and one of those songs that he wrote is called “A Beautiful thing” and I thought I would send it to you. One of my biggest struggles is procrastination so I didn’t actually send the card until a few months ago. Yet I realize now I didn’t send the CD. I’m not sure if I was feeling insecure or if I spaced it off. As I read your post here, I really felt God’s heart for me and encouragement from the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing this message. May the Lord bless you greatly, and expand His Kingdom through you. Love in Christ,
    Amber Paulsen

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    Shannon Porter says:

    Dear Melissa,
    Thank you for posting your perspective. It made me think how we also neglect the time between Palm Sunday and Easter. We always have communion and foot washing on the Thursday before Easter, but we only talk about what Jesus did during those events. Thank you for making me think.
    On another note, you are a great author. I enjoy the articles you have contributed to your mom’s studies. I hope one day we will also get to experience a study of yours, if the Lord directs you in that way. I will admit, though, that your writing often sends me to a dictionary and causes me to have to reread what you’ve written. I appreciate what you do.

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    Lindsay says:

    The part of your post that struck me the most was where you wrote about how “bringing someone else life can feel a lot like dying.” It spoke to me as a mother of small children. I love motherhood more than anything but it has also drained me in every way including ways I never knew possible until I had my sweet babies. Right before I read this I just dried my own tears after dealing with yet another of my 22 month old girl’s horrible tantrums. Your paragraph following that sentence acknowledged how I so often selfishly feel and then it reminded me of the hope and joy that will come if “we carry Jesus’ death in our own bodies” because “we will gain everything.” Thank you for this encouragement. You wrote words that an exhausted and overwhelmed mother with a crushed spirit and torn up heart needed to read.

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