Joining Together

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, as I attended the memorial service for little Eli, the four-year-old grandson of my mom’s best friend, I was not sure what to expect, other than the weight of grief as we walked into the church. What I observed, was really this verse being made tangible. There were those who were greeting people in their shock and grief as they walked in, (and wisely, the ones who handed out the program for the memorial were the cousins of Eli, so we were greeted by sweet, smiling children), family members were mingling among those waiting to go inside to be seated, friends who had gathered from near and far, an auntie and uncle who spoke from the heart and demonstrated the depth of love that the family shared for Eli, and a pastor who beautifully balanced the celebration of who Eli was and the reality of how much missing and mourning would take place. Even after the service, different people operated in their various strengths. Some were in the kitchen preparing and serving, others were greeting people as they came into the reception area, still others were engaging in sweet conversation about how Eli had touched and blessed their lives, personally. Because they were surrounded and supported, I imagine that together, the family was able to get through far more than they would have thought possible, than had they been on their own. Though it was an agonizing reason to gather, there were tender moments of laughter and smiles at the memory of the incredible life this little boy lived in his four years. May we ever remember that we are each a part of the body, and what we contribute, helps the whole become more than it would be without us. We need each other; that is the way we have been designed.

 

No matter the why, Joining Together

We are meant to join;

Together as one,

As God does anoint.

For as a body,

With so many parts;

Together there’s strength,

To encourage hearts.

Each of us alone,

Find there is a lack;

But joined together,

We rise and come back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as a body has many different parts with different functions, that we too, as the body of believers do as well. Thank You that You created us this way with intention. Thank You that when we come together and support one another with the gifts that You have granted, the entire body becomes stronger. Forgive us for not rising up and joining in to offer what You have given us to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would naturally extend Your heart and hand through who You have made us to be. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with each other to become what we cannot be alone. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

He is Risen

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. – (Luke 24:1-3,  NLT)
The very same women who had stood at the foot of the cross in horror on Friday, then set to task making burial spices that night, were stuck staying in their space of sorrow on the Sabbath, and now, at last on Sunday, as they thought that they could go and anoint the body of their beloved Savior – discovered He was no longer in the grave! Panic gave way to praise as the angels of the Lord explained to the women what had happened and why Jesus was no longer lying in the tomb. Recalling the truth that they had been told by Jesus before His death on the cross, the ladies rushed back to tell the other believers what they had discovered. As we awaken to the truth that today holds, may we feel the same sense of urgency to go and let the truth be made known.

 

A matter of days,Hope in an Empty Tomb

and everything changed;

a sorrowful space,

now all rearranged.

Where death had seemed reign,

the truth became clear;

hell was defeated,

through Christ coming near.

He took on the cross,

all our sin and shame;

laid it in the grave,

set free by His pain.

It did not end there,

on Sunday He rose;

up out of the grave,

so His grace, we’d know.

Jesus has risen,

and we are set free;

forgiven and loved,

all praise unto Thee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to have a restored relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for taking all of our sin and shame upon Yourself, so that we might have life everlasting. Thank You that it did not end at the cross, for the grave could not hold You, as Your love is too great for us, Your created. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your love and sacrifice that is given freely unto us. Teach us to embrace all that You give, so that we might have life abundant in You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to understand the greatness of Your mercy and grace that You freely give. May many choose to place all of their trust in You. Be exalted O God, as we give all glory and honor to You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Rest As Required

They went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint His body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. – (Luke 23:56, NLT)

 

The women who had faithfully followed Jesus and watched in sorrow as He breathed His last breath on the cross, were without many options as to what they might actually be able to do in response to such a seeming tragedy. The only role they knew was to faithfully prepare that which would grant their Savior a proper burial. I imagine they worked feverishly and with painstaking care, to finish the preparations in hope of going to the tomb right away, prior to their required rest. Sabbath sunrise arrived just after their work was done, and the ladies were left in a holding pattern of not yet.

How often do we too, in our seeming inability to do anything to help a situation, resort to that which we know, only to get to a place where we hit a wall, and find that we are stuck in a space of waiting or not yet? Often, it is much like it was for the women. Sunday is yet to come. That which is ahead, is exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, even if it is something that has been promised before. Christ had told those who were faithful followers of His that He would rise, yet something about His foretelling did not ever really register with any of them. Often our places of pause or required rest, are strategically spaced just prior to a promise fulfilled or movement of a miracle. May we seek the Lord in our spaces of Sabbath, and simply rest in the assurance that He is good and His faithfulness never ends.

 

In that restless space,Confidence Comes Through Christ

when we hit the wall;

we can’t move forward,

on Him, let us call.

Ever so often,

that‘s the very place;

where He intended,

that we seek His face.

It’s in the seeking,

that we come to find;

His help and His hope,

He’s patient and kind.

Often the forced pause,

that space where we rest;

a season to find,

what‘s coming is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present and moving, even when it seems that we have hit a wall or come to a place of helplessness where we can do nothing more. Thank You that this is the very space where You bring us to rest in You. Thank You that You showed us that things were still and silent, and the world had to wait for the promise to be fulfilled, just as You had said it would be. Thank You for the difference that the next day brought. Forgive us for resisting rest when it seems to be required, or for not making time to sit quietly before You to fix our eyes on You and all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, regardless of how things appear. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may look to You in the quiet stillness where rest is found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You on our Sabbaths, and trust You in our spaces of waiting. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Be Not Silent

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had just observed one of the most devastating blows they had ever known. He who had been their hope, was crucified and laid in a tomb. Though they could not do anything to fight on His behalf as second class citizens at the time, they did what they could by remaining present, and then going to prepare spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the day that they were permitted to go, the women went to the tomb. Upon their arrival, they found the stone rolled away, and were spoken to by one in a white robe. His message was full of hope, yet was perhaps more than their hearts could handle after all they had witnessed in the days prior. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. – (Mark 16:8)

 

How often does fear keep us from sharing our story? When Christ comes and rescues us from our sin and shame, we are rescued from the road to ruin, and placed on the path of eternal life. Light enters where darkness once reigned, and peace permeates the places of prior turmoil. Hope is held where hopelessness had held us back…

 

Fortunately, the ladies’ story did not end with their fleeing from the tomb. In fact, they were the first to encounter the risen Lord. When Jesus appeared to them, boldness beheld them, and they went at once to go and tell the disciples what they had seen, just as the angel had directed them to do.

 

Though fear may find us,Be Not Silent

do not let it be;

a roadblock to truth,

for truth need be free.

If we are afraid,

may we choose to seek;

Him who grants us strength,

when we’re feeling weak.

For in our weakness,

is where Christ is strong;

if we allow Him,

be our hope and song.

Do not be silent,

the truth need be known;

speak of your story,

let His hope be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your story is the greatest story ever told, as You came to save all who trust in You. Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You for taking all of our sin and shame, and giving us new life in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and confusion about what we are meant to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have the courage and strength to boldly go forth in whatever capacity You ask. Lead us to love You and love others with a love that speaks truth and perseveres, just as You faithfully and relentlessly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified Lord God, as we share of all the good things You have done for us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

When Darkness Fell

When Darkness FellAbout the sixth hour,

the sun ceased to shine;

whole land in the dark,

at death of Divine.

There in the temple,

the curtain was torn;

no more division,

He removed our scorn.

As Christ hung in pain,

He extended grace;

to repentant heart,

He promised a place.

As He breathed His last,

the people did see;

He was who He’d claimed,

hanging on that tree.

Faithful requested,

to prepare His tomb;

to wrap and anoint,

in burial room.

Such sorrow and loss,

His followers knew;

yet they’d forgotten,

He’d rise again soon.

Early the third morn,

the women did go;

yet what they would find,

awe they would behold.

(Responding to Luke 23:44-56)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live, die and rise again, so that we might come to know the depth of Your love for us. Jesus, thank You that You willingly laid down Your life for ours, and made the way for us to be forgiven and called worthy before You. Forgive us for not accepting all that You offer, and help us to receive Your grace so that we too, may extend grace to others. May we love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.