Stories in Stone – devotional readings before Easter

Day by day devotionals, featuring painted stones by Anja Knöpfli

This year Anja Knöpfli, one of our parishioners, is painting story stones to illustrate the events of Holy Week. Each morning we will feature one of these stones with a Bible reading and a special prayer that can be used as a devotional while observing the days of Holy Week. Many thanks to Anja for sharing her artistic gifts!

Monday: Jesus cleanses the temple

April 6th, 2020

Matthew 21:12-12 (ESV)

“And Jesus entered the Temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the Temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the Temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to Him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”

And leaving them, He went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.”

Holy Monday Prayer

My Lord Jesus, as You entered the Temple in Jerusalem enter my heart and cleanse it now. Drive out the money changers that are my sins, and break their power by Your grace and truth. Lord, let me walk in freedom and confidence in God’s great love; the love which led You to the cross to give Your life that I might live. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday: Jesus curses the fig tree

April 7th, 2020

Matthew 21:18-22 (ESV)

“In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, He went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Holy Tuesday Prayer

My Lord Jesus, though I try my best to serve You I am often like the fig tree. Sometimes it feels as if my faith is leaves without any fruit, and I fear that You will curse me and cast me away from Your presence. But through Your Word I learn that You are gracious, merciful, and filled with love, and that serving You is not about the condition of my faith. Lord, to serve You is all about Your faithfulness; the faithfulness which You displayed while going forth to Calvary. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday: Jesus laments over Jerusalem and is anointed at Bethany

April 8th, 2020

Matthew 23:37-39 (ESV)

37 While looking over the city, after speaking to the crowds and His disciples, Jesus cried out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Matthew 26:37-39 (ESV)

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have Me. 12 In pouring this ointment on My body, she has done it to prepare Me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Holy Wednesday Prayer

My Lord Jesus, when the crowds saw that You would not bring war they rejected You and made You weep, but the woman at Bethany anointed You while accepting Your humble way of peace. I ask that You give me grace to live in ways that bring You joy, and to anoint Your head with the sweet perfume and oil that is obedience. May my thoughts, words, and deeds be a song of praise to Your great name; a song that says with sincerity, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord”. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Thursday: Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples

April 9th, 2020

Matthew 26:17-25 (ESV)

17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will You have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

20 When it was evening, He reclined at table with the twelve. 21 And as they were eating, Me said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to Him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with Me will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray Him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Maundy Thursday Prayer

My Lord Jesus, though death passed over Israel in Egypt it would not pass over You in Jerusalem, and as You wrestled with its shadow Your eyes beheld the shadow of betrayal by a close friend. You could have run away and saved Yourself from all the pain, but You took courage and faced the cross that the world might know God’s deepest love. Lord, give me courage to not pass over the coming days, but to stay with You until the grave where You will rise on Easter morn. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Friday: Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemene

April 10th, 2020

Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV)

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, My betrayer is at hand.”

Good Friday Prayer

My Lord Jesus, as You cared for the disciples when they failed to keep watch with You, You also care for me in my times of failure. Like them I have fallen asleep to the realities around me, and especially the reality of Your marvelous strength. The strength which was made perfect in Your weakness, from the weeping of Gethsemane to the anguish of Golgotha. And the strength which is made perfect in my weakness, and calls me to stay awake and trust in You when all seems lost. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Saturday: Jesus is buried and the tomb is sealed

April 11th, 2020

Matthew 27:57-66 (ESV)

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while He was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Holy Saturday Prayer

My Lord Jesus, I stand within a strange place; the place between Your death on Good Friday and Your resurrection on Easter morn. Like the Roman soldiers, who were charged to guard Your stony tomb, my worship today is a vigil where I keep watch with the Word of God. Lord, may I rest within the hope that You have conquered sin, and may I trust within Your promise that death is not the final word. In this silence I know that life will spring forth with the dawn and ask, “O death, where is your sting? And grave, where is your victory”. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.


The concept of Stories in Stone is © All Souls.
The images for Stories in Stone are © Anja Knöpfli.