The Unexpected Glory of Easter

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). – John 20:16

Christ is Risen!

Jesus’ followers were all mourning for his death. Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to visit Jesus’ tomb to anoint his dead body but she was so shocked to see the tomb open and the stone was rolled away. She thought somebody took the Lord’s dead body so she ran to the apostles to inform them. Although, the Lord Jesus had said even before his arrest that He would die but would rise up again on the third day, nobody among the apostles’ and His closest followers seemed to remember those words. They were not expecting it to happen.

As Peter and John heard what had happened from Mary, they raced toward the tomb to see. When they found out that, it was true but they went back home. Mary on the other hand remained outside the tomb weeping. She was looking for her Master. Two angels had appeared to Mary and talked to her but she was too full of sorrow that she did not even recognize them. She turned around and saw the Lord standing but she did not recognize Him too.

Indeed, unexpected events, or problems can cause irreparable sorrow to us that we could not see clearly from our human perception. We search for comfort and solution but we could not comprehend our situation and we ask God why such things are happening to us. Christians are not free from such experiences. However, our deep relationship with the Lord will allow us to understand that the mighty hand of God has never forsaken us.

In our deepest sorrow, God attends to us. In her deepest sorrow, Mary has found that what she is looking for is just beside her when Jesus calls her name. God knows each one of us and loves each one of us personally.

God is with us even in the midst of our darkest sorrow. We have enough reason to rejoice in His living presence. We can see the unexpected glory of Easter, the power of His resurrection and redemption alive in our lives. As Christians, may we be able to spread the good news that the Lord is risen. May we all be a living testimony to the glory we have beheld in His resurrection.

Digested from a “Resurrection Sunday” sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, April 24, 2011

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Forgiveness from the Cross

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. And they parted his clothing, and cast lots.  –Luke 23:33-34

a cross on a hill

As the Lord was being crucified, He uttered the words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (KJV2000). He prayed for forgiveness for those who were crucifying him on a cross. He was asking his Father not to count as sin all those things against them because they did not know Him as the Son of the Most High God.  They were not aware that were hurting God so severely.

Perhaps at that point, the Father could have sent ten thousand angels to destroy those ruthless people but the Lord mediated for them. He imparted grace and mercy in spite of the pain and agony they had inflicted on Him and all just to save the world from sin and hell.

The cross offers forgiveness of sin. Many times, we do many things that have hurt God so severely. Many times, we are not aware yet there are times when we know it is wrong yet we continue to do it as if there is no God who sees.

How many times have we asked God to bless us, answer our prayers and grant our wishes? Yet, many times, we are breaking His heart. Have we ever asked ourselves what pleases the all-giving and gracious God?

This is the time to search ourselves and see all our hidden faults and shortcomings. God offers a boundless grace for you and me. He wants to relieve us of all the miseries that we bear. All we need to do is to come to Him in prayer, ask Him to come into our lives and renew us by His loving grace. Let us accept Him as our Lord and Savior and ask Him to forgive us and save us from sin and death.

God is gracious. He forgives you.

Digested from the “Good Friday” sermon- “Seven Last Words Service”, April 22, 2011 by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church

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Which Basin Would You Choose?

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” –John13:3-5

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.”I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” –Matthew 27:24

The above verses speak about two kinds of basins: the Lord’s basin and Pilate’s basin. They represent two ways of living: the former, a life of love and service, the latter, a life of indifference and slothfulness.

Jesus, washing the disciples' feet

The washing of the disciples’ feet is reflective of the Lord’s great love. If we will remember Mary Magdalene, she has washed the Lord’s feet with her tears and has dried them with her hair, then has poured perfume oil on his head. She has shown great devotion to her God and Master.

By washing the disciples’ feet, the Lord Jesus has left us an example to follow. He wants his disciples to serve one another in brotherly love and not to lord it over anyone for glory’s sake. The basin of the Lord is a symbol of meekness and servant-leadership. He is teaching his disciples to reach out to one another with a faith that cares, a faith that seeks the welfare of the brethren and works toward their good; showing love by helping, sharing, encouraging and building up the brethren toward maturity.

Pilate, washing his hands

Pilate’s example is one of selfishness, avoiding the responsibility and passing the blame to others. The basin of Pilate is a symbol of gross indifference and slothfulness in seeking after what is right and just. Pilate does not want to involve himself in conflict even if an innocent will suffer unjustly.

Sometimes, we do not want to get involved because we fear that certain activities would tie us down and we are afraid to give our time. Let us remember what the Lord has taught us. The Lord wants us to serve one another just as He has done.

In our Lenten reflections, maybe we can ponder, “Which basin would you choose?”

Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church

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The Lord Needs You!

And when they came near Jerusalem, unto Bethpage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sent forth two of his disciples, and said unto them, “Go your way into the village opposite you; and as soon as you are entered into it, you shall find a colt tied,  on which never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do you do this? Say that the Lord has need of him; and immediately he will send him here”. –Mark 11:1-3

Truimphal Entry into Jerusalem

The Lord had entered Jerusalem like a conquering King. People spread garments on his way and waved branches of palm trees as they shouted, “Hosanna; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!” However, He did not come as a political figure to lead Israel against Roman occupation but as the King of Peace who had brought God’s peace to the Jews and to all men.

In this reflection, I would like to give emphasis on the colt and its owner. The Lord has needed the donkey and her colt and the owner has readily given them because, the Lord who has needed them.

It is easy to give something, if

  • It does not cost too much- “It’s too little to hurt”… “I can manage a few hundred…”
  • It will be returned- “Anyway, I can have it back.”
  • Not really theirs- “It’s not mine anyway.”
  • Because he loves the Lord and His mission- “I want to be a part of the work of the Lord at any cost.”

The owner of the donkey and colt had no second thoughts of giving or lending the m to the Lord. There was no mention as to who he was, if he had been with the Lord in the past or if they had any previous understanding. Perhaps, he knew the Lord, a believer and a follower too. Whoever he was, he was ready to follow the Lord’s request.

In the same way, may we all be ready to obey the Lord’s will in any aspect of our lives when we hear His call- “The Lord needs you”.

Digested from a Palm Sunday sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church

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Holding On To A Promise- Genesis 12.1-4

Abram was an old man when his heart was inflamed by faith

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. -Genesis 12:1-4

God is a personal God

Abraham has received word from God asking him to leave his hometown and go to a place He would show him. It would have been difficult to leave a place where he has grown and have settled for 75 years. It must have been difficult to start anew in a land where he is totally a stranger. However, Abraham has received a personal command from God with a promise of eternal blessing. He has chosen to obey without a doubt that God will lead him to a wonderful place.

God relates through His promises

God speaks to us through His word. His promises are as real today as they have been in time past. We only need to fill ourselves with His words, memorize his promises in the bible verses that we read and claim them as our own so that his principles will be guide us in our daily living and for us to receive strength in times of trouble.

God is faithful

God is always faithful even when we are faithless. He who believes in Him will never be disappointed. Of course, this is not a reason to remain in our faithlessness but a constant assurance that He will never forsake us in any way.

God is at work

God works in the lives of those who put their trust in Him. Like Abraham, he did not ask God to explain to him every detail of the journey. He was not sure where to turn, whether right or left. He just placed his life under the Lord’s care in each day. He trusted that God would never fail him. He moved based on God’s call and he hanged on the divine promise.

Similarly, let us trust God in every way. Let the principles he has laid for us in the Bible guide us in the decisions that we need to make whether little or big on a daily basis.

Digested from a sermon by Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church- March 20, 2011

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