Branching-Out

Easter Basket Prayers

Posted by Sharon Krause on Apr 5, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Come Easter morning when I was a little child, there would usually be a good-sized, fancy-wrapped Easter basket waiting for me on the dining room table. Through the colorful cellophane wrap I would see a rainbow of yummy jellybeans half-circling marshmallow yellow chicks, small chocolate eggs, and a fair-sized hollow chocolate bunny decorated with little candy flowers. I think it is a safe guess that many of my readers share a similar memory. A perennial question is, what part of the chocolate bunny you eat first? All these thoughts about the Easter basket and its contents have inspired an Easter basket prayer.

The Easter basket, possibly made of woven wicker, is the container that holds the colored plastic grass; it is the foundation or base holding all the good stuff! I think of the foundation of my spiritual life: the religious instruction I have had, the materials I have read, the teachers I have had, and the spiritual experiences I have had in my decades of life. What holds my spirituality together? What keeps me together and supports me?

Risen Savior, I acknowledge and appreciate how You lift me up and lovingly keep me from losing my way to You. Sometimes I feel like I cannot “keep it all together,” but You are always with me, and ready to help me through my tough times.

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Topics: Easter, Jesus Christ, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: Easter Sunday

Posted by Bill Ayres on Apr 3, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 

(Chapter 10: 34a, 37-43)

The Acts of the Apostles is really a continuation of Saint Luke’s Gospel, completing the story of what happened after the Resurrection. Peter speaks for the community and recounts the major events in the life of Jesus: his anointing with the Holy Spirit, his ministry of healing and doing good for people, his death and resurrection, and his eating and drinking with the disciples after he conquered death. Peter wants everyone to know that he and the other apostles have been “commissioned” by Jesus to preach the Good News and that “everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Imagine how difficult all this was for Peter and the other apostles. They had lost their friend and leader in whom they had placed all their hope. They had given up everything to follow him, and then they lost him to a horrible death. They could have called it quits and returned to their former lives. There were probably many who encouraged them to stop risking their lives and lead a “normal” existence, but they persisted. Why? Somehow, in ways we cannot understand, they still experienced the presence of Jesus. He was still there for them, and they continued to answer his call. Because of those relatively few courageous people, we have a community, a Church today. Let us be thankful for them.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 118)

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” The next line is so important: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.” God’s mercy is always there, no matter how far we may have strayed or how much harm we may have done. Please pass that on to someone in your life that really needs to hear those words of everlasting mercy. That is something we can all “rejoice and be glad.”

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Topics: Easter, The Resurrection of the Lord, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, Jesus Christ, RENEW International

Zeke's Story

Posted by Sharon Krause on Mar 29, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Here’s a little fantasy about Easter. Reading it to youngsters might help them share in the joy of the holy day:

Zeke, the donkey, was looking rather sad. His little son, Jojo, was concerned and said to him,”Papa, why are you so sad?”

Zeke replied, “I just heard that a very gentle and kind man they called Jesus was scourged and crucified a couple of days ago.”

Jojo responded, “But why does that make you so sad?”

“Well, it is sort of a family story. It was not that long ago that your cousin, Bleat, was called upon to carry on his back that man, Jesus, into Jerusalem to fulfill what the prophet had said:

   ‘Tell the daughter of Zion,

   Look, your king is coming to you,

   humble, and mounted on a donkey,

   and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ (Matt 21:5 NRSV)

Zeke went on, “And a large crowd had assembled and even put their many cloaks and tree branches on the road to smooth the way for Jesus. They all shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ They were all excited and jubilant about the arrival of this prophet who was there, coming in the name of the Lord! And he was riding on your little cousin’s back! What an honor for Bleat! It made the whole stable family so proud!”

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Topics: Easter, RENEW International, resurrection, Sharon Krause, Children's Easter story

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