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Resurrection Sunday Prayer

Here’s my prayer I read at church this morning.  Happy Easter!

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed.

 

Yahweh, we come before you on Easter Sunday, the most significant day of celebration for us, your followers.  Although many hundreds of  years have passed since the first Resurrection morning it is still so easy to see ourselves in the Easter story.  We, your people have learned much, and yet so little.

 

We are the crowd on Palm Sunday, hearts full, cheering for Jesus when times are good.  It is easy to have faith, to believe and to be thankful when everything’s going right.  Father, forgive us for how quickly we turn on you when things go wrong.

 

We are Judas, for many of us have done or said terrible things to people we love that we come to regret.  We have schemed and betrayed, we have been false.  We have presented a bright smile when our hearts were filled with treachery and deceit.  Many of us are still selling out our fellow man in the pursuit of money.  Mother, forgive us.

 

We are the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, sleeping while so many around us are in peril, or in need of our support and comfort.  Father, forgive us when we fail to see what is happening around us, for when we do not respond as we might.

 

We are the soldiers in the garden of Gethsemane, bringing swords and clubs to quash rebellion, even when that rebellion speaks of nothing but peace.  We are quick to assume that those who seek to live differently to us are dangerous, and that those who challenge our society are wrong.   Mother, forgive us.

 

We are Peter denying Christ, when we feel embarrassed to admit we are a Christian; or when we fail to speak up when a workmate disparages religion as being for the weak-minded; or when we feel like we don’t have all the answers so we shy away from debating the tough questions from those who don’t know you.  Father, forgive us.

 

We are Pilate, confused and unsure what to do, going with the wishes of the crowd, afraid of their anger.  We do not always do what is right when the circumstances around us mean that doing right is hard.  Mother, forgive us.

 

We are the mocking soldiers when we fail to see Jesus in the face of the mentally ill lady muttering violently to herself on the bus, or the tattooed Black Power member, or even in the angry, orange hue of Donald Trump.  We fail to remember that all are worthy of your love and grace, and that we all have that God-spark within us.  Father, forgive us.

 

God, with every Easter I wonder why the symbol of your followers is the cross, that bringer of pain and death, when I wish it was the empty tomb instead, with its promise of new life and hope.

 

Help us to be like the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb, who were so struck by the power and might of Jesus, that they fell down immediately.  Help us to see you at work in this world.  Help us to be so amazed and awestruck by your creation that we fight to protect its splendour, and help us to be inspired to join in when we see people being your hands and feet to those in need.

 

Help us to be like the women at the tomb on that Sunday morning, so full of joy that we tell others about you, even when we are not believed.

 

Help us to be like the men on the road to Emmaus.  Open our eyes to the truth around us, help us to see what you need us to see, help us to recognise Jesus every day.

 

Christ is Risen!

He is risen, indeed.

 Copyright: A Gordon 2017
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Dollar Diet: Week 14, in which I fail to plan

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We had a wonderful surprise this week, one that means most of our future Dollar Diet savings for 2015 can be put towards paying off our new car (we still haven’t sold the old one) instead of paying for D and Sausage’s trip to the Netherlands.  D’s Opa gave him $1000 euros towards the flights (so, so generous)!

Annoyingly, my ninja meal planning skills failed this week, resulting in several trips to get groceries instead of the usual one.  I didn’t get quite enough breakfast and lunch food for myself.  This meant I found it hard to stick to Trim Healthy Mama on the days the supermarkets were shut.  Ah well, I’ll do better next time.  We came in under budget, even with splashing out on a leg of lamb for Easter Sunday.  That leg of lamb went the distance as I eked out generous portions of roast lamb for our special dinner, lamb sandwiches, a gorgeous lamb curry (I even used leftover veges from the Easter dinner – I am so Dollar Diet), and I made stock from the bones.  Leftover kumara (sweet potato) was pureed into yummy solids for Chip.

A big savings this week is D tightening his handyman belt and getting stuck into making fences himself.  We need a couple of fences at the sides of our house so the children can play in the backyard and be safe from cars coming and going in our front yard.  We could have paid someone to do it, and D did look at getting prefabricated panels, but it was much cheaper (of course) for him to do it all.

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D reports that he’s really enjoying the process of fence building so far, and is delighted his high school classes of technical drawing and woodworking have come in useful after all.  There is a great deal of pleasure to be had in making something yourself, and this creativity can get squashed out of us due to the demands of daily life.  Who has the time or the mental energy to devote to hobbies when you are working 40+ hours a week at a job you don’t like just to scrape by?  I’m sure this is why many people waste their evenings blobbed out in front of the TV.

Our Easter break activities were very frugal (barring the roast lamb!).  We spent most of it either at home, church or with family and friends.  A friend held a wonderful Easter egg hunt/pizza night at her place, thereby introducing Sausage to the joys of chocolate eggs.  I was a bit sick over the weekend so D and I kept our evenings really low-key.  We downloaded a couple of movies (we thought How to Train Your Dragon was great; Guardians of the Galaxy not so much), and I did something I rarely do – I watched a TV show.  I loved, loved, loved the Carrie Underwood version of The Sound of Music (who knew Stephen Moyer could sing?!).  I read several books.  We took the kids to a nature reserve so we could enjoy a walk in the ‘bush’, as we call it.  It did not disappoint.  The reserve was small, but the birdsong was lusty and sonorous.  It was a great end to the week.

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Easter

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Easter.

What a special, special time.

I think Easter is often treated like the poor second-cousin to popular ol’ Christmas.  But as a Christian, Easter is the biggest religious event of the year for me.   Easter is the cornerstone of my faith.  I often think it’s odd how the cross became a symbol for Christianity when really it should be that empty tomb.  It’s the resurrection of Jesus that is, and should be, the show-stopper.  For me, Easter is a time of contemplation, ceremony and gratitude.  And the occasional chocolate egg.

Now I have tots of my own – and one is old enough to start learning what Easter is all about – this Easter was the first one where I had to think about what I wanted Easter to ‘look like’ for my family.

Rest.  Worship.  Reflection. Celebration. Togetherness.  Outside.  These were the words that resonated with me the most this Easter.

I resolved to have a screen-free Easter to give myself a rest and to spend more time connecting with my family. I switched my cellphone off, and only logged on my computer once to check Facebook to see photos of my cousin’s wedding that I missed due to being sick on Good Friday.  Going phone-free was brilliant.  Instead of checking my emails or surfing the net, I read books.  In fact, I read three novels in two days.  I spent more time playing with my kids.  I liked being phone free so much if my smart phone wasn’t such a useful tool for our budgeting, I would be tempted to get rid of it altogether.

I forgot to take my camera to church on Good Friday (due to feeling like death warmed up, stupid head cold) so I don’t have any photos of D being Jesus in our church play.  Our church combines with four other churches at Easter and the members walk from church to church to see the stations of the cross.  As I have two wriggly children we only made it to our church, but it was amazing to see the place so full up that people had to stand in the aisles.  The play was very moving, and D may have to consider a new career in acting.  Easter Sunday’s service was a beautiful time of worship and reflection – complete with a baptism, flowers, candles, singing, and resurrection eggs.

As we had plenty of room in our grocery budget D and I decided to have a special dinner on Easter Sunday – roast lamb.  My MIL joined us, and we lit candles, read the Easter story (I thoroughly recommend the Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers) and enjoyed our feast.

We even managed to get outside.

Here is what Easter looked like for us:

Making Easter chocolates to give away to friends and family

Making Easter chocolates to give away to friends and family

Sausage forgets the chocolate is not for her...

Sausage forgets the chocolate is not for her…

Now Chip is crawling the world (or his sister's bedroom) has opened up for him

Now Chip is crawling the world (or his sister’s bedroom) has opened up for him

Fun and games

That’s not how you do it, Daddy!

Chip is delighted with his Easter gift

Chip is delighted with his Easter gift

At last... Sausage with her very own chocolate egg

At last…
Sausage with her very own chocolate egg

Three rascals

Three rascals

Feijoa crumble - part of our Easter Sunday dinner

Feijoa crumble – part of our Easter Sunday dinner

Out for a walk

Out for a walk

Chip loves the great outdoors

Chip loves the great outdoors

How do you celebrate Easter in your house?