Dear Church Family and Community,
Holy Week is here.
We have journeyed together through Lent. On Ash Wednesday we repented, remembering that from dust we were made and to dust we shall return. In the six weeks following, we have prayed. We have fasted. We have repented. We have served. And we have focused more deeply and more intently on Jesus, our Christ.
During Lent, we have denied the self to be fed by the Spirit of God. We have joined with sisters and brothers the entire world over in giving up our wants to know our truest need, the Lord our God. We have sacrificed and practiced spiritual disciplines that have grown our awareness and reliance on God.
And now, Holy Week is here.
This past Sunday, we started the week’s journey with Palm Sunday. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was a prophesied and planned announcement of His kingdom come. The Prince of Peace arrived for a coronation that demanded His people’s complete allegiance. Jesus is God and has always existed; He can forgive sins, is righteous and fit to judge, and asks us today: Am I your King?
Jesus, the Lord our God, came not for our hopes and dreams, but to fulfill the Father’s will. Jesus, the Savior and our King, came to save the world and to set us all free. If you missed hearing this message, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our sermon podcast on Soundcloud, Google Play or iTunes.
This week, we remember our Jesus who was betrayed, hunted down, arrested, falsely accused, and beaten. We remember that Jesus suffered, was crucified, and died on Calvary’s cross. To help us remember, we will gather as a family and community to worship in several unique ways.
On Good Friday, Jesus hung on the cross and was executed like a criminal. He suffered, bled, and died at Calvary. To help us remember why this day is good for us, we offer prayer stations. In the sanctuary, there are stations for children and families. This is a great time of learning and reflection, and it runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. For adults and youth, we offer a self-directed time of worship and reflection in the Youth Area from 6 to 8 pm. This time of quiet reflection also includes experiential elements that aim to take us back to Calvary and remind us of the deep, deep love our God has for us.
And then comes Sunday. Your family may have called it Easter Sunday, but in our house, it was always Resurrection Sunday! Yes, Jesus came into this world because God so loved us. Yes, Jesus lived to show us how to please God. And yes, Jesus went to Calvary’s cross to show that the blood that He shed there matters more than even the blood that flows in our veins. But after Good Friday comes Resurrection Sunday. The weeping, the sorrow, and the darkness are all washed away when Jesus is raised and leaves that tomb empty!
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
This Sunday, we join with Christians all around the world to celebrate that Christ has been resurrected. Please take time to read and pray through Matthew 26-28, and 1 Corinthians 15. On Sunday, we celebrate that sin has been defeated, death has been swallowed up in victory, and that in Christ Jesus our Lord, we have the hope of glory. It is Easter, so please do enjoy time with loved ones, good food and fellowship, and perhaps lots of sweet things. But always remember, Christ was raised from the dead, and the work has been done so that the dead can come to life, your sins can be forgiven, and you, God’s child, can come home again!
As part of our celebration service on Sunday, our Children’s Choir (directed by Angela Jefferies) will be singing a few numbers. Please keep them in prayer and come ready to give them all our love and support. Please also note, that early childhood classes will be closed until after the children sing and that there will be no Youth Sunday School on Sunday as well.
Holy Week is here. May this week of prayer, reflection, praise and worship lead you back to Calvary. May Calvary’s cross remind you of how much our God so loves. And may God’s love dwell in your hearts and lives, for our Christ who came, lived, and died…is risen indeed!
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!
Pastor Hank (1 Corinthians 15)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104