Lenten Retreat

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
Philippians 3: 10-11

Who wants to suffer? It’s not something we typically choose, nor should we without good reason. But Jesus did choose to suffer, because of his tremendous love for us. He chose to enter into our suffering here on earth, in order to give us life. Lent is a season during which we choose to identify with Jesus, sharing in his sufferings, not for some morbid fascination with suffering, but in order to experience the resurrection life and power we can only have in fellowship with him. This Lenten journey of 40 days prepares us to more wholeheartedly experience and celebrate the reality of resurrection joy when Easter comes.

Given that choosing a path that includes suffering is not usually our first choice, it could be helpful at the start of this Lenten season to set aside a few hours to focus on what it might mean to share in Jesus’ suffering in our daily lives. You are invited to a Lenten Retreat on Saturday, February 25th to join with others in seeking fellowship with Jesus, as we choose to share in his sufferings and experience his resurrection power in our lives.

Saturday, February 25, 2023
9:45 am – 3:00 pm
Wappingers Falls, NY
Email me at melissafischerartist@gmail.com to register or for more info

Resurrection: Nonsense or Marvel?

For a number of years I wrote a weekly prayer guide for our church, generally drawing suggestions for daily prayer from one passage of Scripture for the whole week. My focus in these prayer guides is on drawing closer to God through self-reflection and through reflection on Scripture, as well as on pondering how to apply the principles of Scripture to live them out in daily life. I’m planning to start posting one of these prayer guides, either one already written or a new one, at the beginning of each week. Since this is just one week after Easter, I thought I’d start with one of my favorite resurrection passages.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared…when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how he spoke to you while he was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest…But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:1-12

How often does it happen that we think God isn’t working or is working in one particular way, then find out that he’s actually doing something amazing that we weren’t seeing? Jesus’ resurrection is the greatest example of that, so let’s meditate on that step by step this week.

Monday: The women, acting out of love for Jesus, were prepared to anoint his dead body. Let’s put ourselves in their place and imagine how deep their sadness and despair must have been.

Tuesday: Jesus’ body wasn’t there! Imagine the women’s confusion and the questions hanging in their minds when things weren’t as expected and didn’t make sense. I wonder how often we, like the women, misinterpret what we see, and God may actually be working in marvelous ways.

Wednesday: When the angels told the women what had happened, they remembered Jesus’ words and believed. Let’s ask God to help us be open to the truth, no matter how inexplicable it may seem.

Thursday: The disciples didn’t believe at first, because they considered the women’s words nonsense. How often do I dismiss truth without evaluating it, because I consider the messenger unreliable? Let’s pray for the humble attitude needed to receive truth openly.

Friday: Peter, who had recently denied Jesus, was now open to the truth and eager to respond. I am trying to allow my doubts and failings to drive me to Jesus, so I can find joy in his life.

Saturday: Staying open with heart and faith allows for wonder. Let’s meditate on the marvel of the resurrection and be awed by our great God!

[For the more skeptical among us, I recommend The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, a former skeptic, who lays out evidence for the resurrection from various fields of inquiry. His research helps convince my skeptical side, which often speaks loud and clear. I recently reread this book, and am marveling at the plentiful evidence and the wonder of Jesus’ resurrection.

Mink Pond- Adirondacks