Dear Church Family and Community,
I hope this finds you all keeping safe and doing well. You have been in my prayers. This has been a challenging season on so many levels. It has also been a chance for us to focus on being present, invest even more deeply in our relationships, and find creative ways to shine our light. I have been so blessed by how we are showing what it means to be family and community here. Y’all are a blessing.
Our HBIC family joins with followers of Jesus all around the world, to commemorate Holy Week. Holy Week is Jesus’ march into Jerusalem as the Servant King on Palm Sunday. It is Jesus going to the temple to spend time with God our Father, and then returning to flip tables, chase off money changers, and remind us all that God’s house is a place of worship and prayer for all the peoples.
Holy Week is Jesus teaching faith and the kingdom through a withering fig tree, young women awaiting the bridegroom, bags of gold, and sheep and goats. Holy Week is showdown with authorities, and Judas agreeing to betray. Holy Week is the Last Supper where Jesus humbly washes the feet of disciples who would soon forsake, even Peter who promised allegiance. Jesus loved fully and deeply, even unto death – Holy Week is the final leg of the journey.
We are invited into the Upper Room for the Last Supper. We are invited into Gethsemane not only to keep watch, but to see Jesus at perhaps his most human. We learn submission to the Father’s will, strengthening from angels, and that Christ comes to bring peace, to heal, and to set us free forever from sin and death. We sit again at the base of Calvary’s tree, to know again that the blood that flowed from Jesus makes it possible, by grace through faith, for us, God’s children, to come home again.
And then comes Sunday morning. We may know that sorrow only lasts for a night, but Jesus resurrected is joy for every morning. Scripture reminds us that just as sin and separation entered through one (for all have sinned), righteousness and reconciliation comes to all through the One – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God teaches us this lesson again and again – the very small and seemingly insignificant can grow into big and very impactful. Sperm and egg, God’s touch, and the wonder of a woman’s body brings forth children who grow into adults. Seeds grow into mighty trees, and sparks into mighty wildfires. Jesus, the promised Messiah, shows that love and obedience bring forth abounding grace.
Christians have argued ever since the beginning that without the resurrection, we have no faith. Christians have known since that fateful Sunday morning, that the work was finished, the Father was pleased, light had won over darkness.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome again to Holy Week, sisters and brothers. Welcome to the march to freedom. Welcome to light over darkness, grace abounding much more, and the love of God bringing us home again.
Let us worship Christ our Servant King together, on Maundy Thursday and on Good Friday. Let us pray together as a community through that time as well. And let us prepare our hearts for the joy that comes on Sunday morning.
God bless you all.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (1 Corinthians 15:58)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104