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Copy of Lenten Journey of Release & Renewal (Day Forty)




Day Forty



Scripture: Mark 15:42-47


42 When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.




Observation:



At the end of our forty days of Lenten journey, today we arrive here: the death of our beloved Jesus. There is no glorious happy ending. At least, not yet. Jesus died on the cross. We hear that Pilate confirmed his death through a centurion.


As we already know, however, death is not the end of the story. We see a glimpse of hope in the story of an unfamiliar figure: Joseph of Arimathea. When all other disciples ran away, a random stranger, who heard and admired the vision of the kingdom of God Jesus proclaimed, stepped up to claim his body.


Thinking about how cruel the people were toward Jesus on the cross, who loved them so much, we could ask, “So, were the three years of Jesus’ ministry on earth for nothing?” I believe this is Mark’s answer to that kind of cynical question. Someone unexpected was touched by the teaching of Jesus. He boldly cared for him when others couldn’t. The kingdom of God, which was the dream of Jesus, was already expanding.


The overall theme for this year’s Lenten daily devotional was this: "From Less to More, A Lenten Journey of Release and Renewal." My hope was to provide daily devotionals reflecting on how we could let go of the selfish, unnecessary, and negative things from our lives (release), so that we may fill our hearts with something more graceful, creative, and divine that would enrich our daily spiritual journey (renewal).


To me, it was about letting go of my laziness and complacency so that I may use my time and gifts in a more productive way. It’s been a challenging but certainly rewarding journey. I hope it’s been meaningful for you as well.


Even if we cannot see the fruit of these forty days of daily devotionals right now, I believe that the kingdom of God is already expanding in us, around us, and among us.


Application:

  1. How was your Lenten journey this year? What was most challenging and what was most rewarding?

  2. What does that mean for you that death is not the end of the story?


Prayer / Reflection:

Song of Reflection: This Love























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