March 19, 2018
Words from the Pastor
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.
Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." John 12:23-26
If there is one theme that is found in most world religions it is the theme of death and new life. In other words, apart from death there can be no new life. Jesus expresses this belief when he reflects on his own impending death with these words, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit." Jesus understood that out of his own unjust and cruel death new life would spring. This is not to say that Jesus' death was in any way necessary. I do not believe that it was in any way required by God for the salvation of humanity. That said, out of Jesus' death sprang new life for Jesus' followers and in many ways, for all of humanity.
This past week thousands of students from all over the United States participated in an act of remembrance and protest in order to bring attention to the need for change that would, hopefully, result in the safety of students in the future. Out of the senseless and violent death of seventeen individuals in Parkland, Florida there is hope of new life for our nation's schools. These students deserve our applause for refusing to back down from anyone who is more fearful for their own rights than they may be for the safekeeping of our children.
As Jesus goes on to note, "Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." We too are called to act in ways that, although they may not be in our own self-interest, nonetheless insure that life is extended to all. What selfless acts is God calling us to make in order to extend the gift of life to our neighbors? What do we need to die to in order that we too might bear much fruit for the kingdom of God? Are we ready to follow Jesus through death to new life?
3/18 Palm Sunday
Scripture: Psalm 118:1, 2, 19-29; Mark 11:1-11
Theme: Choosing the Way of Humility and Peace: When Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey surrounded by peasants he did so in contrast to the arrival of Pilate riding on a stallion and surrounded by Roman soldiers. Jesus' way was not to be construed as a way of violence and intimidation, but as a way of humility and peace. There is more than one way to rule a kingdom and Jesus modeled a better way.
Calendar for the Week of March 18
Taize Worship Service Planned for Palm Sunday
A Lenten Taizé Worship experience will be offered on Sunday, March 25th at 5:00pm. Taizé worship is modeled on that experienced at the Taizé Ecumenical Community in France. We will sing some of the music of Taizé and there will be opportunities for quiet reflection as well. The service will be held in the chapel on the first floor. All are welcome!
Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service Planned
You are invited to join us for worship on Thursday, March 29th at 7:00pm in our sanctuary for a service of Holy Communion and Tenebrae. We will be joined by our sisters and brothers from the Arlington Street United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Book of Worship describes the service of Tenebrae in this way. A Service of Tenebrae, or "Darkness," is based on a twelfth–century late night/early morning service and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ. The service includes the alternating of readings of the passion of Christ taken from the gospels with the extinguishing of candles until even the Christ candle is removed briefly. This is a very meaningful and powerful way to remember the death of Christ in preparation for the celebration of Easter joy.
Ecumenical Good Friday Service
The annual Ecumenical Good Friday Service will take place at noon on March 30th at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church here on Main Street. The service will begin at noon and last for about one hour. Rev. Andy Armstrong, pastor of the First Church, United Church of Christ will be the preacher and Pastor Rich will participate in the service along with other area clergy.
Welcome to the Finance Column
Last month I wrote about setting aside some funding to help grow the church even in these very tight budget-conscious times. I would like to describe two of these items. One is a capital investment, and the other is a continuing expense.
The first item is approving a special nursery toilet as part of our HON funded construction project. This is basically a one-time investment that upgrades our nursery to a more recent code. It allows toddlers to do their necessary matters without splitting our adult supervision. It gives the toddler privacy and provides appropriately proportioned fixtures. A young family "church shopping" and visiting us on a Sunday morning would peruse our facilities and check that off their list.
I give such construction changes very serious consideration before voting. In the end we need your full support for such growth items (about $6000 for the nursery toilet change, which could increase our long term debt.
The second item is in discussion with Mike Brown, Chair of SPRC. He requested extended nursery hours for Rachel. I approve this item, remembering in my reading of church finance books (there are quite a few!) that recommended having nursery care during all church events. A young parent wanting to participate in our events, committees, or outreach would require such care. In an almost chicken-and-egg situation, I expect many events with empty nursery care until our growth takes hold.
These items only enable growth, they do not guarantee growth. Professor Noriaki Kano would describe these as "must have" items. That if we have them, customers remain neutral. However, if we don't have them, "customers" (in our case young families) would be very dissatisfied and turn away. As a church we need to think very hard about our worship, missions, programs, and hospitality to provide those other attractive qualities for young families. With our complete package, they will continue to choose our church instead of another church or any number of alternative weekend activities.
If we are serious about attracting young families (let's have a show of hands on this one) then we need to make these investments. It's a finance committee call to help shepherd these items and use stewardship moments to get overall support from you, our congregation.
As always, I am open to your questions, comments, and prayers.
Vacation Bible School Update
Come experience the ride of a lifetime with God at Rolling River Rampage Vacation Bible School here at Main Street UMC. This white water rafting adventure includes exciting music, amazing science, creative crafts, fun recreation and memorable Bible stories that will help children know that God is always with them as they ride the rapids of life.
Monday August 6 through August 10 2018
9:00 Am till 12:00 PM
Main Street UMC, 154 Main Street Nashua, NH
Watch your Mainstreeter blasts and Sunday announcements for more details and get ready for the ride of a lifetime!
MSUMC Android App Launches!
There's an app for that! There has long been lots of Main Street UMC on-line resources including the weekly announcements, order of worship, church calendar, and electronic giving options. Now there is an easy way to have all of them literally in the palm of your hand via the Main Street United Methodist Church Android app. The free app is now available on Google Play store. Search the play store, or go to http://www.mainstreet-umc.org/worship/mobile-app.
For the Mainstreeter, the direct link to the Google Play Store page is
Health/Hygiene Kits are available in the vestry after church with instructions and a gallon bag. If you cannot shop, you can donate the value of the kit, $12, and we will shop for you. We have Sunday School classes who would be happy to assemble the kits!
Heifer animals are available in the vestry as well. Purchase your gift in honor, in memory, or in celebration of someone and hang a representative of that animal or well or tree or seeds on our Easter Tree of Life.
Easter flowers can be ordered on forms inserted in your bulletins or available from Pam in the church office.