When the hour came He took his place at the table with the apostles. Luke 22:14
We have a tradition here at the Wohlfert house. When it’s your birthday, you get to choose the menu for your birthday supper. We had the same tradition in the McClaskey house too. Since I’ll do anything to get meatloaf for supper, I thought it was a tradition that certainly needed to continue with my children. As luck would have it, my daughter also chooses meatloaf on her birthday every year. There is just something comforting about sitting down with family to enjoy your favorite meal together.
Many years ago some friends invited us to go out for supper with them one Saturday night. Being a stay-at-home mom with three little ones under the age of 5 at the time, I think I had my finger on the babysitter’s phone number in the phone book before I had even finished accepting the invitation. Our friends said they had discovered this great place that they thought we’d just love. I WAS IN! The night arrived and as we waved goodbye to the kids and backed out of the driveway I felt so lucky to be going out to eat at an exciting new place where I wasn’t going to have to cut anyone else’s meat or transfer anyone’s drink to a cup with a spout. I was excited! After a 40 minute drive to the middle of nowhere, we pulled up in front of this old house that look like it had about 4 sunrooms added on, each in a different decade. The parking lot was gravel and the paint on the building wasn’t even all one color. I was a wee bit unimpressed to say the least. When we walked in the door it didn’t get much better. The big open space was full of tables that didn’t match and were covered with vinyl tablecloths that were every pattern and color known to man. All three pieces of silverware were a different pattern and even the glasses didn’t match. I really wondered what it was about the place my friend thought we’d love so much. A few seconds later a sweet, cheerful lady appeared at our table with a personality that would rival Santa’s! We placed our order and a few moments later some of the best homemade delicious food I’d ever tasted arrived at our table. We laughed, talked, ate and enjoyed a fabulous evening! It was not at all what I had expected when we got out of the car that night. Isn’t life like that sometimes!
When I read the gospel accounts of the last supper, I often wonder what the apostles thought when they first realized that night was no ordinary supper together. I wonder what they felt more; shock, fear or sorrow. We can be certain the evening didn’t turn out as they expected. Jesus had news they could not have possibly been ready for and the events of the night spilling into the next day were more than anyone could have imagined. It is on this night; Holy Thursday, I am more overwhelmed by my sinfulness than any other night of the year. I know the story, and the Easter morning happy ending but I still feel as dumbfounded each year as the apostles must have felt. Disbelief, sorrow, anguish…I feel it all heavy on my heart. Too many Christians want the Easter without the Holy Thursday and Good Friday. We want to skip to the happy ending and miss the brutality and the guilt but without the cross we aren’t Christians. Without meditating on the burden of our sins Christ bore, we don’t have repentance and without repentance we can’t have forgiveness and salvation. His death brought forth our life and in some small, unexpected, unpleasant way, we have to share it with Jesus.
If you truly want to experience Easter joy, spend some time this holy evening reading the Gospel accounts of the last supper…imagine…think…feel…experience the unexpected like the apostles. Tomorrow, on Good Friday, spend some time with the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion. As you read, ask God to join you with the suffering of His Son in order to come to a greater understanding of His gift of life and love. If you can unite yourself more closely with the cross, you will feel the joy of the Resurrection.
A Seed To Plant: Spend time with the Last Supper and Good Friday Gospel stories.
Blessings on your day!
“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” C.S. Lewis
When I told my little lovelies that I wrote about them and their “chicken babies” last Thursday they insisted I write about it again today and let you know that we have 25 new “students” in our classroom. As you might imagine, hatch day was filled with great excitement. There was lots of jumping, screeching, hugging, laughing and more smiles and high fives than I could count. We even managed to share the excitement and the chance to see a chick hatch with Mrs. Hattis and Bridget who were absent on hatch day by using face time on our new classroom iPad. I love this first grade project for many reasons, but the best part of the whole thing…the overwhelming, pure, and completely unreserved JOY and EXCITEMENT it brings. That never gets old! It made me wonder though…why is it that we as adults don’t often show that same kind of contagious happiness and excitement? Are we too tall, too sophisticated, too proper or just too busy to stop and enjoy the simple things that bring that kind of raw, simple emotion and reaction?
We have officially entered into the most powerful week of the Christian year. During the next few days we will celebrate the events that are the foundation of all our beliefs. We rejoiced on Palm Sunday as we shouted, “Hosanna!” and remembered Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
I learned Friday that Jesus rode on a donkey because if you entered the
city on a donkey it signified “peaceful intentions”. (I had one little lovely who thought Jesus should have ridden a big camel so everyone could have seen him better.) Thursday we will recall the events of the Last Supper of the Lord. That night in the history of our faith is so full of events and significance I could devote a whole post just to that night! This past year, I have been stirred by the significance of the washing of the feet and the call we all received that holy night to live a life of service. As I sat watching the
kids squeal and hop around, cheering for each little chick as it worked to break free of its shell I made some discoveries about service and joy. For 21 days, 36 little people lovingly turned the eggs and peered into the incubator as they watched and prayed for their babies to be. They listened intently to every little detail of their development and they monitored the hygrometer dozens of times a day just to be sure everything was perfect. Why? They had nothing to gain by it…no money to be made…no fame to be achieved…no status to be elevated. They were in it for something much bigger and on hatch day I had a front row seat to just how big that something was! It was life! Simple as that! They were busy loving something even though it could never love them back. They just wanted to be of service…they just wanted to use their gifts to bring life.
So how do we get it so tangled up as adults? Jesus showed us so simply as he entered an angry city in peace and gently washed the feet of His friends. He showed us how to act gently, live simply and above all celebrate the gift of life. If it’s possible for a child to love a chicken…my lovelies do.
They remind me each spring that I need to think so much less about things
of the world and think so much more about the ways I can show Christ’s gentle service. They remind me how precious life is and how appreciating it should catapult up my priority list. I challenged an audience recently to respect life by trying extra hard to “ be present” for five people in the
following week. A young mother stopped me and said the challenge hit home. She is the mother of a beautiful, smiley, chubby-cheeked little girl and she said she would accept the challenge in the grocery store. It seems
people are constantly stopping her in the store to talk and dote over her
daughter and she always feels like she’s in such a rush to finish shopping and get on with things. She said she realized what a joy and a gift it could be if she would just slow down and enjoy the people enjoying the cute cheerfulness her daughter radiates. It starts with something that
simple. So go ahead…use this Holy Week to love and serve another by sharing and appreciating life.
A Seed to Plant: Be present for 5 people this week as you offer an act of loving service to each of them.
Blessings on your day!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthian’s 5:17
It’s a big week for my little lovelies…our chicks will be hatching in the next couple of days. It’s more exciting than Christmas in first grade! Today I moved the incubator to the “tiny table” so the kids could kneel down and look right in the clear top to see what was going on inside. As a dozen of them peered intently through the Plexiglas, one of them said, “Hey Mrs. Wohlfert, this reminds me of Easter.” “Why is that?” I asked. I got a groan and grin from one of the boys who said, “Geez Mrs. Wohlfert, don’t you get it…Easter EGGS, that’s what he meant.” After some laughter the little boy who started the conversation said, “No, that’s not what I was talking about. It reminds me of Easter because inside those eggs it’s dark and boring, just like it was inside Jesus’ tomb. We’re all just waiting around not really seeing anything but then in just a couple days it’s going to be like Easter and something alive is gonna break right out of those eggs like Jesus just broke out of His tomb and wasn’t dead anymore.” It was as if the most profound lesson had been bestowed upon them. They were in awe of his wisdom and so the conversation really began. They stared at the eggs and began coming up with all kinds of ways those little eggs waiting to burst forth with new life connected to the Easter miracle. I just sat back and soaked it all in, in awe of the simple beauty of God’s love and the wonderful lessons they found in that incubator.
The entire 21 day project is so full of life and faith. They learn about taking responsibility for a living thing and they really become invested as “chicken parents” as we learn all the things that are happening inside those eggs. Even the busiest, most wiggley lovelies of all learn to turn the eggs twice each day with gentleness and tender care. We learn that they have a beating heart on the fourth day of incubation and that they develop their beaks on day 9 but it doesn’t finish getting hard until day 18. They also learn that there is exactly enough egg yolk to feed them for 21 days and then it’s all used up and on day 19 they situate themselves with their beaks pointed toward the air cell at the end of the shell so they can have air during the last 3 days when they grow so big their feet wrap up around their eyes. As I share each new and amazing fact about the developing “babies” inside that incubator, they respond to each astounding detail with one response… “Only God could think of that!” I’ve heard that so many times in the last 20 days I've lost count. Their excitement and anticipation amazes me each year. It just never gets old! They even remind me to whisper the lunch menu if it contains a “chicken” entrée so as not to frighten or hurt the feelings of the “babies” because as you know, “they have ears by day 5 and we don’t want them to know yet that someday they might be lunch.”
Toward the end of afternoon one of the lovelies realized that the reason we have eggs and chicks with the Easter decorations in the stores is because they are a sign of new life, just like Jesus. He wondered if everyone knew that. I decided to take them one step further and said, “Now that you know why we see eggs and chicks at Easter does anyone know why we see lambs?” After a tiny second of quiet a giant gasp and a hand flying into the air revealed that one little lovely got it, and she said, “It’s because Jesus is the Lamb of God!” It was an excellent day! The fine folks at the MSU
Poultry Farm have no idea how big a lesson they sell for $8.25 per dozen. Only God could think of that!
A Seed To Plant: Look for a true miracle of God’s creation today and pause for a minute to tell Him thank you.
Blessings on your day!
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