Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Good Friday

Wuger Kreuzigung
Christians observe Good Friday to mark the day Jesus Christ was crucified. It occurs the Friday before Easter. Good Friday services vary between the denominations, but in general they commemorate Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for man’s sins.

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He betrayed Jesus for thirty silver coins. Judas pointed out Jesus to the soldiers of the High Priest Caiaphas. Later Jesus was tried, convicted and crucified.

Jesus hung on the cross for six hours before he died. During the last three hours darkness hung over the land. Upon his death he cried out, and an earthquake shook the land and tombs broke open. A Roman centurion stabbed Jesus in the side to confirm he was dead.

Joseph of Arimathea with the help of Nicodemus took Jesus’ body. They wrapped him in a linen shroud with myrrh and aloes, and buried him in tomb. A large stone was rolled in front of the tomb's entrance.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Palm Sunday

Palm Trees Picture by Bruce G. Smith
Palm Sunday in Christianity occurs the Sunday before Easter. It marks the end of Lent, and the beginning of Holy week. It occurs roughly a week before the resurrection.

On this day Jesus returned to Jerusalem riding on a young donkey. The people waved palm fronds in the air and spread fronds on the path in front of the donkey. They celebrated the return of the King of Israel. However a few days later, they crucified Jesus.

The palm fronds represented triumph, victory and the return of the king. Jesus rode a young donkey because it symbolized peace.

Today some churches still use palm fronds in their Palm Sunday worship service. In areas where palm fronds are not readily available, they may use flowers, pussy willow branches or olive branches.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Don't be Afraid to Make Changes in Your Life

You may recognize a situation does not work for you anymore, and leaving it feels scary. But it’s not as scary as staying stuck in a situation where you don’t belong.
Silver Springs, Florida
Photo by Bruce G. Smith

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What can you do to make the world better?

Don't spend your precious time asking
"Why isn't the world a better place?"
It will only be time wasted.
The question to ask is
"How can I make it better?"
To that there is an answer.
               by Leo Buscaglia

My answer was to build an inspirational blog.

Camelia at Bok Tower Garden Florida
Photo by Bruce G. Smith

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thoughts of Spring

     Tomorrow begins the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It always brings to my mind thoughts of renewal. It signifies a new growing season, and a proliferation of flowers. In the north this means crocus and daffodils breaking through the snow. In Florida the azaleas bloom and manatees gather in the coastal springs and canals. It is a time to contemplate and evaluate where we are in life. It is an opportunity to make new beginnings.
     Are we happy with the way things are going? What changes can we make to improve our situation? It is a time of spring-cleaning. We air out our homes, and toss out items we do not use anymore.
In our lives it is a good time to free ourselves of burdens we carry around. Throw away that old baggage of past happenings that cause regret. We should not allow them to stop our future goals and desires. We should learn from our mistakes, but not allow them to inhibit our growth.
     Even though trying new things is scary, spring is a good time to try new things. We’ve all been afraid to try new things such as the first day of school or learning to ride a bike. Gym class was always good for evoking fear for non-athletes. We feared looking stupid. We feared striking out or dropping the ball, and letting a run score. Sometimes we did screw up, but we survived the humiliation.
     Most of us survive our mistakes. We may get bruised and battered, but life goes on. The important think is to be happy. Life is too short to be miserable because we are afraid to take chances or afraid to fail.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Festa Di San Giuseppe or Saint Joe's Day Festival

Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus
by Guido Reni, c 1635 
     Many people know of St. Patrick's Day, and they are probably still feeling the impact of their celebration today. However a lesser known celebration occurs on March 19th. The Festa Di San Giuseppe or St. Joe's Day honors Joseph of Nazareth.
     St. Patrick's Day involves eating irish food, wearing green, and a wee bit of drinking. Festa Di San Giuseppe is primarily an Italian celebration. People wear red, and eat rather than drink, but some red wine may be consumed.
     Since San Giuseppe falls during lent, traditionally people served vegetarian food. I'm not sure this tradition continues today. The foods also contained fava beans. In the middle ages, fava beans were a major protein source for Italian families.
     The meal is followed by a pastry called zeppole. Deep fried bread dough sprinkled with confectionary sugar, and filled with ricotta cheese. Although today, they also contain jelly or cream filling.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Prayer for Rough Times

Sauna, Baltic Sea, Photo by Bruce G. Smith

Heavenly Father,

Lately I’ve been so worried about things that are out of my control.
Help me to trust that you are working every little detail in my life out,
And that I have nothing to fear or worry about.

In Jesus name,