Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah
Holocaust Memorial Day 2017
  • begins Sunday, April 23
    • at sunset
  • ends Monday, April 24
    • at nightfall

Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah, known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day. It was inaugurated in 1953, anchored by a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. It is held on the 27th of Nisan, unless the 27th would be adjacent to the Jewish Sabbath, in which case the date is shifted by a day.

SPIRIT VS EGO

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“God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:24 kjv  (emphasis is mine)

Perhaps the most difficult trek through our faith journey is the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Have you ever witnessed or even heard of a person returned from hours or days of death?  The only recourse we have is to think that a God who is as omnipotent as our God can surely do such a thing.  This past week the Christian world observed Holy Week with traditional services leading up to Easter Sunday.

“He is risen! Indeed, he is!” we exclaimed excitedly to one another.

Yet silently we wonder, “Yeah, and how many of you really believe that?”

The mystics do not have that doubt.  Those who believe that God is within, without, and all about in every breath, every whisper of wind, every creature, every ripple of water, every flower, every fellow human companion, every thing which was created know for certain that we are not our bodies; rather we are God spirit in a vessel of flesh and bones.  Mystics do not doubt the passages which exclaim the resurrection of Jesus the Christ because they have realized that Jesus was the Spirit, Jesus lived the spirit controlled life.  Everything Jesus thought, said, did was directed by the God spirit within whom He called Father.  Yes, Jesus of Nazareth was human, but, had transcended the dominance of human ego to be at one with the Oneness described as God.  His body was mutilated, scourged and beaten; but the Spirit within arose from the fleshly death, i.e. resurrected.

The human ego is not spirit.  It is the opposite of love and unity.  It is self-serving and it cannot tolerate the concept of being left behind when it’s dwelling place, our body of flesh, dies and decays.  It will do whatever is necessary to ensure the separation of man from man, man from earth, man from God.  It thrives on self adulation.  In its state of egomaniacal control it wants to be greater than Spirit, greater than God.

We were created by God from God’s very breath and in God’s image.  John 4:24 tells us that God is spirit.  In Genesis 1:26-27

26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…… 27 God created man in God’s own image, in the image of God man was created…..” Genesis 1:26-27

Read that verse again.  The writers of Genesis tell us that we are created in God’s image; the writer of John tells us that God is Spirit; are we not therefore spirit dwelling within a body of flesh and bones?

Jesus said,

“Verily, verily I say unto thee.  Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5-6

UNTOMBED

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“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”
Matthew 28: 2 NIV

Entombed in the world, lost and shattered,
awaiting my eternal destiny.
My body, broken, suffering and battered,
anticipates with resignation the coming darkness.
Where are my angels? Who will save me
from the emptiness of my soul’s distress?

My life’s demons dance merrily about me,
seek to put the final seal on my tomb.
“There is no solace or reprieve,
we have bought your soul for ungodly desire.”
Oh, how my heart grieves;
Why did I transgress God’s burning fire?

The love affair with lust and wine, a faithless tryst,
a demanding and jealous mistress.
To satisfy her, I entertained limitless risk,
wanting more, desiring fulfilment, seeking love.
In the end she laughingly abandoned me;
“Where now is your God from heaven above?”

Indeed, God has deservedly cast me aside,
just as I cast Him aside so many times before.
I have no hope that with Him again I’ll reside;
my life in sin and darkness has been vainly spent.
My days in the far country have been grievously long;
how could He ever allow me to repent?

Surely the stones in my life are beyond removal,
firmly set in place awaiting death’s seal.
A life spent apart from God has fated my fall;
there shall be no eternity filled with joy and bliss.
Yea, as I walk through my valley of the shadow
how deep is my pain for the Lord I shall forever miss?

But wait! A tiny shaft of light begins to stream in,
casting a patch of hope on my tomb’s dark wall.
“Reach to me, touch me, I will still forgive your sin;
Love me; follow me; for even now it is not too late.
Always I have walked with you to the depth of your hell;
Your stone is placed, but why think you I have sealed your fate?”

Yes, God, yes. Take me as I am and wrap me in your arms,
My sin is great, yet I surely know now your love is greater.
I repent, I kneel at your feet, remove my demons’ charms;
renew my heart, cleanse my mind, crucify my life of deceit.
I bow in obedience to your will;
but Lord, why would you want to save me from this tomb of defeat?

“I gave my beloved Son to you, allowed him to suffer on the cross,
abandoned him to the wrath of all that is despicable and wicked.
He alone suffered the weight of my punishing albatross,
whereby you and all who believe shall be spared eternal damnation.
The price has been paid; His blood was shed for you on Calvary;
can you now believe my love for you has no limitation?”

My stone has been rolled away;
my love for my Jesus has resurrected.
Rescued from the gates of hell where demons play;
entombed in debauchery and depravation, yet made whole.
Untombed, made alive, forgiven, redeemed;
Satan, “Were you watching, did you see that stone roll?”
AMEN

HE IS RISEN

smiley-face-2Luke 24:1-8New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Has Risen

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.

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1 Corinthians 15:54-55New International Version (NIV)

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[a]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[b]

 

THE TOMB

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And so it ended. The hope of the Jewish peasants, the radical Jesus who was to be their new king, the friend of the sick and oppressed was laid in a tomb without fanfare. His betrayer was dead, his opponents were victorious and his disciples were shattered. The Roman soldiers had followed their orders and crucified a commoner just as they had done to thousands of other insurrectionists who threatened the empire.

Christ followers will say that this was God’s plan, that the prophets had foretold of the death of their messiah, that the divine Jesus Christ, son of the virgin Mary was born to die for our sins in a very bloody and ignoble ending.

Non-believers will say that Jesus was just a man, albeit a very good man, who challenged the authority of the Romans and of the Jewish elite and lost. They will say his body was stolen from the tomb and that accounts of his resurrection and appearance again to his followers were acts of hysteria and hallucination.

Whether the Jews lost a savior and messiah or whether the world lost one of God’s messengers is a debate that will remain a part of God’s mystery until the end of time. What is a certainty is that Jesus of Nazareth was 1) a historic fact supported by numerous independent sources, and 2) a man with hope, truth, and tolerance for a hurting Jewish nation. He was murdered by a society of hatred and intolerance. His message of love and compassion was buried in the tombs of religious tradition and inflexible doctrine. And thus the world’s humanity continued in its blinding darkness waiting for God to reveal to us his next messenger.

JESUS, keep me near the cross

 

 

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John 19:38-42New International Version (NIV)

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 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.[a] 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

 

“JESUS, KEEP ME NEAR THE CROSS”

Text: Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915
Music: William H. Doane, 1832-1915

Verse 1:
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
there a precious fountain,
free to all, a healing stream,
flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Chorus:
In the cross, in the cross,
be my glory ever;
’til my raptured soul shall find,
rest beyond the river.

Verse 2:
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
love and mercy found me;
there the bright and morning star
sheds its beams around me.

Chorus

Verse 3:
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day,
with its shadows over me.

Chorus

Verse 4:
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
hoping, trusting ever,
’til I reach the golden strand,
just beyond the river.

Chorus

crucified

Were you there,
did you see it,
the cross, the nails, the soldiers?
Were you there?
He called himself the Way:
the truth, the life.
They mocked him,
tortured him,
nailed him to a cross.

Sign said ‘King of the Jews’,
they did not believe then,
why should we believe now?
Were you there to see it?
Did you talk to Mary…..
or John or Peter,
see Jesus on the road to Emmaus,
witness his ascension?
How do you know?

Were you there?
Did you see what I saw?
In spirit we witnessed,
in spirit we collaborated
to murder God’s messenger.
We did not defend or shield
as the soldiers raised him.
Did you weep,
did your turn your head away?

Jesus – my conscience, my spirit, my soul.
The world did not know him,
does not believe him,
mocks and ridicules him,
says he doesn’t exist,
wants to crucify him.
Where will I be?
At the foot of his cross watching
or nailed with him to the crossbeam?

O, Supreme God, save us from ourselves.
Give us faith,
fill us with trust,
let us revere the unseen,
show us the Way.
Nail our doubts
to the cross,
crucify our unbelief.
Let us be redeemed.

“……I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [Matthew 17:20]

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