Saturday, April 3, 2010

Adoration Night, Easter, and Some Pictures . . .

Note: These pictures have nothing to do with Adoration Night, but they were too wonderful not to share. They come from our homeschool field trip to Carrizo Plains (near California Valley) a couple of weeks ago. Mary Ann and I absolutely love the picture of Bethany and Abigail running in the field of flowers . . . of course we are both big "Little House on the Prairie" fans so that may have something to do with it!

Last night—Good Friday—we had "Adoration Night" in our home. We had done a similar thing in the week before Christmas in which we set a night aside and invited anyone in the fellowship who wanted to come to join us for a time of simply "adoring" Him. It wasn't a time to focus on us, or our own needs, but simply on Him. For the Christmas one our living room was full. Last night, about 7:15, we realized it would be just us. We poured some coffee and gathered our two girls and sat on the floor in front of the fire in our wood stove. It was a wonderful, beautiful, precious evening.

We began with talking about the love Jesus showed us on the cross—a love that was given when we didn't return or receive it. We talked about how that applies in loving others for Christ—how He gives us the example of loving when it isn't returned, and then asks us to love others that same way. It is the love He showed us, and the love He calls us to model in our lives to others. Over and over I am stumbling on to the amazing fact that everything He calls us to do in our life, He has already done in His. We love others the way He loved us. We take up our cross the way He took up His. We serve others the way He served us. Maybe that is why we are called to imitate Him . . . because He has already done Himself everything He asks us to do.

We then read from my Bible the account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. About half way through it Abigail gets out of my lap and goes over to their play area and gets her own child's Bible. She turns to the page with Jesus before Pilate and asks me to read from hers, too. There was something very precious and tender in that.

We talked about the trial, we talked about Satan and God, we talked about God's plan, about how Jesus gave His life (it wasn't taken from Him), and then we read Jesus' words, "It is finished." I asked the girls, "What is finished?" and both replied with their own wording of Jesus' paying for our sins. We then talked about how complete that is and how God's love for us, and our security in that love, can never be doubted because of the cross and the finality of those words, "It is finished."

When we were done we brought the communion elements over by the fire and remembered His body, broken and lashed and beaten and pierced for our sins, for our peace, and for our healing. We talked about His blood poured out for a New Covenant, one in which our relationship with God is based on what Jesus did and not on what we do, and how wonderfully secure that is. We then took communion.

Intermixed in all of the evening were spontaneous songs of worship and praise, sung clumsily but with love and gratitude—as well as prayers of thankfulness. By the time we tucked our two little precious ones in to bed about 8:45 we both knew that it had been a sweet, wonderful, special evening, and we thanked God for it.

Happy Easter: Many of you readers who have signed up for email notifications of new posts will not receive this until tomorrow morning—Easter. I wish you a most blessed of all days as you focus on His resurrection. I posted the following on my Facebook page today, and I wanted to repeat it here for you, "Have you ever thought how, if Jesus hadn't risen from the grave, we could only sing ABOUT Jesus, we couldn't sing TO Jesus? The resurrection not only gave life back to Jesus, but it gives life to our faith as well. I can't imagine my life without that truth . . ."

The other night at a "revival" in town I found myself in the middle of some very refreshing and exuberant worship and I suddenly, for a moment, had a glimpse of how very empty and dead the same words of the song would be if His bones were in a grave people visited, and He was not a living God. It is such a simple, but stunning thought . . . I could only sing about Him, I couldn't sing to Him. The ramifications and extensions of that are enough to reflect on for a lifetime—and it makes all the difference in the world . . .

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