Myrrh

Matthew 2:11
“On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.  Then they opened their gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”

John 19:38a, 39-40a
“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus…With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-16a
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”

Precious Lord, your Spirit lingers with invisible beauty over, around and through us.

myrrhAs a gift of honour, those who were wise brought a costly scent to your Son’s cradle and to his grave.  The aroma of myrrh adorned the unseen presence rejoicing at the incarnation, rising within the dead.

Accept our lives as a fragrant offering to your glory, though it costs us all we treasure  May we be the aroma of Christ in a dying world.

It is in His name that we pray, and because of the rich and beautiful power of his presence.

Listen to ‘Were You There’ by Sherry Muchira

 

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Palm Branches

John 12:12-13
“The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’  ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’  ‘Blessed is the King of Israel!’”

Revelation 7:9-10
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

Isaiah 55:12
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Blessed King, to worship you is to join in the song of creation.

palm branches With one accord we welcome your redeeming entrance into our world.  Until the trees celebrate in your new earth, we will wave their branches to honour you.

Open our eyes to see how all green things bend down under your breath to give you glory.  May we know the joy of unified praise as we anticipate the King’s restoration of all things under heaven.

All glory be to Jesus Christ; creator of the tree he died upon and saviour to those who nailed him there.

Listen to ‘All Glory, Laud and Honor‘ featuring Matt Grimsley

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Curtain

Matthew 27:50-51a
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

Hebrews 10:19-22a
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new a living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…”

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Most Holy God, you dwell in a sacred and pure place.

curtainWith feet that have waded through the filth of this world we cannot enter the sanctuary reserved only for you.  In order to become the way, Christ absorbed the barrier into his perfect body.

Unveil your face and bring us boldly into the realm of your holiness. Reach from the heights and pull to the depths the curtain that separates us from knowing your love.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who through the torn fibres of his hands, feet and side has given us union with God.

Listen to ‘Man of Sorrows’ by Eric Graef

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Thirst

John 4:13-14
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”

John 19:28
“Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I thirst.’”

Isaiah 41:17-18
“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst.  But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.  I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys.  I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.”

Living God, you cup the waters of the earth, sky and sea in the hollow of your hand.

thirstLike the course of a dry riverbed our lives are drawn in dust.  To quench this thirst your lips were parched upon the cross.

Pour the overflowing stream of your Spirit into our dry souls.  Fill us with the drink that cost your Son his life.

This we ask in the name of the Son, the water of life that thirsted for us, the eternal pool emptied for us.

Listen to ‘In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross’ by Sojourn

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Marks

Genesis 4:10-11, 13, 14b, 15b
“The Lord said, ‘What have you done?  Listen!  Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.  Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand…’  Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear…whoever finds me will kill me.’…Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.”

Luke 23:18, 20b, 24-25
“With one voice they cried out, ‘Away with this man!  Release Barabbas to us!…Crucify him!  Crucify him!’… So Pilate decided to grant their demand.  He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.”

Isaiah 53:5
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Lord of all life, your mercy extends further than we are able to run from you.

marksYou marked a guilty man to save his life.  You marked an innocent man to redeem the souls of all who sin.

When we have offended, set us free in the knowledge that Christ has taken the murderer’s place, and our hope is found in the nail marks of his hands.

In the name of the Son we ask this, who made blood payment to release the rebel and save the unworthy.

Listen to ‘O Sacred Head’ by Michael O’Brien

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In the Morning

2 Samuel 11:2-4a, 14-15
“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.  From the roof he saw a woman bathing.  The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her.  The man said, ‘Isn’t this Bathsheba…the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’  Then David sent messengers to get her.  She came to him, and he slept with her…In the morning David wrote a letter…‘Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest.  Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.’”

Matthew 26:69-70, 73b-74, 27:1
“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him.  ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said.  But he denied it before them all.  ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said…‘Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.’  Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’  Immediately a rooster crowed…Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.”

Isaiah 44:21b-22
“I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you.  I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.  Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Righteous God, we have stained the image of perfect faithfulness that you designed for us.

in the morningBecause of David’s night of sin, an innocent man was sent to his death.  After Peter’s night of betrayal, your innocent Son was put to death, securing a pardon for all our offences.

Forgive us for our failures in the dark hours.  May the rising light of the morning renew our hope for redemption.

For Christ’s sake we make our plea, who took our guilt upon himself to offer us a pure and blameless dawn.

Listen to ‘Just As I Am’ by Danny Donnelly

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Clay Jars

Judges 7:19-21
“Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard.  They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands.  The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars.  Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets there were to blow, they shouted, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’  While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they ran.”

2 Corinthians 4:6-7
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, and not from us.”

Psalm 27:1, 3
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?…Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”

Mighty God, you advance into the territory of the enemy with the power of your unconquerable light.

clay jars2When we use the weapon of our weakness, your strength shines and overcomes.  Hidden in the shattered clay lies your brilliant victory.

Lead us forward as we grasp the torch and seek the treasure.  May we battle the darkness by breaking our trust in ourselves and thus reveal your radiance.

We ask this in the name of Christ who covered his glory in the mud form of a man, and was broken to fight for our salvation.

Listen to ‘Jesus the Lord My Savior Is’ featuring Sandra McCracken

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