Message from Pastor Carol: April 1, 2014

Pastor CarolHello Church,

With the imposition of ashes on our foreheads March 5th, we began a 40-day journey crossed by six Sundays to Easter, April 20th. So, we are in the midst of our Lenten journey. How is it going for you? How have you faced the temptations? How have you handled defeat? What have you learned about God? What have you learned about yourself? Tough questions for sure but we are better for having asked them. Lent is not just a Christian exercise on the calendar of darkness and sacrifice. It is also a time of discovery, intimacy and hope! The more we engage this spiritual process, the more we come to know God and be known by God.

Holy Week is another opportunity to submit to the process of spiritual transformation. Paying attention to the power of the events of the last week of Jesus’ life has the potential to open our spirits for reflective meditation on Christ’s perseverance to and release from the cross, the fear and response of the political and religious leaders, and the difficulty of the disciples to maintain allegiance to a martyred leader. These events of the past become profoundly contemporary as we recognize God’s commitment to love us at all costs and the fragility of our resolve to be faithful.

Following is a proposed progression of the events of Holy Week as found in three of the four gospels. There are many more details and happenings but this is designed to give you a focal point for your time of prayer and meditation. (Matthew 21+; Mark 11+; and Luke 19:28+) I look forward to watching your faith grow through these scriptures and your conversations with God. What a celebration we will experience as we come through these experiences to stand confidently on Easter Sunday morning to sing the alleluias to a risen Lord victorious over hatred and fear! We will truly be ready to receive the unfailing love of God that cannot be eradicated.

Sunday: Jesus entered through gates of Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey. The people spread their garments on the road, waved palms and cheered “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Monday: Once inside the city walls, Jesus went directly to the Temple and turned over the tables of the moneychangers. “Because you are cheating those who came to offer sacrifices to God, you have turned my Father’s house into a den of thieves!”

Tuesday: Jesus returned to the temple to teach. The Jewish leaders asked questions of him in order to trick him into saying something so they could have him arrested.

Wednesday: Judas plotted with the priests to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Thursday: Jesus met with his disciples in the upper room for the Passover Feast. At the end of the meal, Jesus served his disciples by washing their feet (John 13:1-17) and offering bread and wine as symbols for his body and blood. During this meal, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial and Judas’ betrayal. Later that evening, Jesus went to the garden to pray and the authorities came and arrested him. Jesus stood before Caiaphas and was declared guilty of blaspheme.

Friday: Jesus went before Pontius Pilate. When he found him without guilt, Pontius wanted to free him to fulfill the Passover custom of freeing one prisoner but the people called, “Crucify him!” Jesus was beaten, forced to carry his cross and then hung at Golgotha. In the afternoon, Christ released his spirit to God and died.

Saturday: Jesus’ family and friends mourned his death.

Sunday: Mary Magdalene entered the tomb where Jesus was placed and it was empty. Christ spoke to her and she realized that Christ had risen!!

Palm Sunday
April 13, 2014
8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m.

This service embodies the sharp contrast of Holy Week. With the children entering waving the palms, we experience the joyous demonstration of loyalty to Jesus as he enters Jerusalem and then we are confronted by the story of Jesus’ passion through the reading of scripture and the sermon.

Maundy Thursday Service
April 17, 2014
7:00 p.m.

We call the Thursday of Holy Week, “Maundy Thursday”. The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum novum, which means commandment. For this service, we will remember Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples in which he instituted Holy Communion through the offering of the bread and wine and he wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the disciples’ feet. By doing both of these things, his sacrifice became the sign of the new covenant God was making with humanity and with this new covenant came a new commandment. “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).

Good Friday Service
April 18, 2014
7:00 p.m.

This service scripturally walks us through the passion of Christ. Each of us will be confronted by the sacrificial love of Christ and how we often find ourselves running in the opposite direction of that love.

Easter Services
April 20, 2014
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m.

He is ALIVE! This service focuses on the resurrection of Christ. It is a joyous day of celebration and jubilation that Christ has overcome death!

Pastor Carol