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Lent & Easter

Doris Stensland writings regarding Lent and Easter:

The Animals of Holy Week 

The Fragrance of the Cross 

I Was There 

The Centurion 





Animals were present at Jesus' birth, 

and also during His last days on earth. 

In the Bible we get a peek 

at some animals present during Holy Week. 


There was the donkey colt who led a parade. 

"The Lord has need of it," Jesus had said. 

This animal never had been ridden upon,  

yet gently, 

 this donkey carried Jesus on His triumphant entry. 

An excited crowd followed behind and alongside. 

"Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!" they cried, 

The people waved palm branches along the way. 

How do you think the donkey felt to be needed Palm Sunday? 


Then there was the rooster that made a man cry.           

It was perched on the Courtyard fence way up high. 

That day its "cock-a-doodle-doo" rang out loud and clear, 

but it fell like a thunder bolt on Peter's ears.         

Immediately he recalled Jesus' advice, 

"Before the cock crows twice, you'll deny me thrice." 

"Now the guilt was too heavy.  What have I done? 

My dearest friend I tried to shun!" 

With "cock-a-doodle-doos" still ringing in his ears,  

Peter went outside and shed bitter tears. 


by Doris Stensland - April 2011 





There at Golgotha that day, the smell of death was everywhere,

until a whiff of sweet fragrance came from the cross.

It was the fragrance of love,

as Jesus so extravagantly poured Himself out for the world

and for you and me.

And this poignant scent reached even to the heavens,

for it says this sacrifice was a fragrant offering to God the Father.


"Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave Himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins.  And God was pleased, for Christ's love for you was like sweet perfume to Him."  Ephesians 5:2    (The Living Translation) 


"Lord Jesus,

May the love fragrance of the Cross fill my life today,

and may I never forget Your life-giving love for me.



by Doris Stensland - March 2014 



                I  was there.

                I saw it all.

Yes, I am just a stone, and too large for women to move, but late Friday afternoon Joseph of  Arimathea rolled me in front of the entrance to the tomb.  There was quietness that night in this land of graves, but Saturday things changed!  A soldier came and placed a seal on me.  It was the government's way of saying "Keep Out"!  A guard of Roman soldiers was stationed in front of me.  I heard them talking and laughing all day and during the next night.

Before dawn early Sunday morning the whole world shook!  The ground moved under me, and at the same time lightning appeared, and then I saw an angel, in clothes that gleamed, come down from heaven.  He took hold of me and rolled me back away from the entrance, and then He sat on me.  In fear the guards fell to the ground as dead men.

And then I saw HIM!  He came forth with the look of a Winner!  A Hero!  One Victorious!  No longer a dead man.  He was ALIVE!  As He stepped out of the tomb, He turned His face upward.  I heard Him shout to His Father, "I did it!  Your plan has now been completed."

Several angels, clad in clothes as white as snow, were moving here and there around Him, and I heard them uttering words of praise.  In that blessed holy time, I too had to shout my praise.   

I was there.  This was the greatest event of all time, either in heaven or on earth, . . . . .and I was there!

By Doris Stensland - April 2013



My name is Petronius, the Centurion,

a battle-hardened soldier.     

Although for years I've watched men die horrible deaths,

and put many to death,

I've never been able to forget that Friday at Golgotha,

or these words - "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." 


It was the job assigned to us that day -  three men to be crucified.

We'd done it many times before.

Nails were driven into them and soon silhouetted against the sky

                the world could see 3 men hanging on 3 crosses. 


One of them was different -

not the usual ruffian that struggled, fought and swore.

They said He called Himself the Son of God.

The sign over his head read - THE KING OF THE JEWS.


As we watched and waited we could hear His words.

His answer to the robber by His side puzzled me.

Could a mere man promise, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise?"

I heard His agonizing cry as He was abandoned by His Father,

And the special words,  "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." 


Soldiers can usually cope with fear, but happenings that day terrified us.

The sun went dark at noon. The earth was quaking under our feet.

The whole Creation seemed angry with what we were doing.

When I heard Him shout, "It is Finished" as He gave up the ghost,

I knew with certainty, "Truly, He was the Son of God." 


Now every day these words are my comfort  . . . . . . .

"Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

Certainly this was a righteous man, the very Son of God.


By Doris Stensland - March 2014

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