April 7, 2020
A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
"Again they came to Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him and said "By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?" "When they realized that Jesus had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away."
Mark 11:27, 28 and Mark 12:12
According to the Gospel of Mark, on the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus once again made his way into the city of Jerusalem after spending the previous night in Bethany, presumably at the home of his friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary. As he would do each day he went to the temple where he engaged in teaching. Some of his teaching was directed towards the disciples in particular, other teaching was directed towards the crowds that were gathered there and still other teaching was directed towards the religious leaders who presented him with questions that were intended to "catch him up" in such a way that they would be able to bring some charge against him. They were finding Jesus' teaching to be disturbing and they wished that they could put it to a stop, but clearly the crowds that were gathered to hear him were finding his teaching to be worth listening to.
We see in these events the movement from acceptance to rejection of Jesus' teaching and his actions as he continued to challenge the status quo thus putting himself and his disciples in jeopardy. Nevertheless Jesus persisted in speaking "truth to power" even though it put him on course to be confronted not just by the religious leaders (who had very little legal power) but by the Roman authorities as well. Jesus seemed to know what he was doing and where his words and actions would lead but decided to continue down that path no matter what. Clearly Jesus believed that, as God's anointed this was what he was called to do.
As we enter more fully into Holy Week we find ourselves confronted by a very different experience. We are living out our faith and our calling from a safe place as we do our work from the confines of our homes. We find ourselves having to confront the evil in our midst not on the front lines of battle (although surely some of us are doing just that as we work in various health care facilities or in service areas such a grocery stores), but rather from a distance. How does this very different experience of life in Holy Week change our understanding of Jesus' own path towards crucifixion as one whose words and actions were considered a threat to the ruling powers of Jerusalem and Rome? What does it mean for us to walk with Jesus along the Via Dolorosa (the way of glory) at a time when we are being told that the best course of action we can take is to stay put in our homes and protect ourselves and our loved ones?
We have never been in the situation that we now find ourselves in. Both on a personal level, as individuals and as Christians, and as the church, we are facing challenges that we have not had to face before. As we do so may we continue to look to Jesus' way of living in the face of challenging times as a model of how we should be living as well. May our journey through Holy Week enable us to have a greater appreciation for what Jesus experienced as he lived his life faithfully and obediently to God.
Journeying Together Through Holy Week,
Phone calling: Volunteers have been reaching out to our membership by making phone calls. To date just about everyone whose last names begin with "A-T" have been called. I am still looking for other volunteers so that everyone is called during this time. We are finding though that so many of the land line numbers that we have in our church data base are no longer in use. If you no longer have a land line but would still like your number to be in our data base please provide your cell phone number to our Administrative Assistant, Debra Zagaeski and she will add it. Thank you for your assistance.
Pastoral Care Needs: While we are checking the church voice mail boxes daily please do not hesitate to call Pastor Rich on his cell phone if there is a need for pastoral care during this time. His cell phone number is 207-577-7915.
Worship Videos- Holy Week Schedule
Wednesday live stream: Beginning on Wednesday, April 1st Pastor Rich will be sharing a brief (20 minute) live streamed devotional. It will be live at 10:30am but will also be posted to our facebook page and website home page for later viewing.
Maundy Thursday live stream: On Thursday evening at 7:00pm we will have a brief Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae service. The Tenebrae readings will be read. If you have eight candles available please light them at the appropriate time in the service and extinguish them as the readings are read.
Good Friday live stream: At noon on Friday a brief service will be offered featuring prayers and the reading of the Passion of Our Lord according to the Gospel of John.
Sunday live stream: Although we are no longer able to do the live streaming of our worship service from the sanctuary, Pastor Rich is live streaming a service from home which is available on-demand on Facebook shortly after the service. You can use the Facebook app on a smartphone, or a web browser on a computer. "Like" our page and you will be notified when we go live each Sunday.
If you choose to not use a Facebook login, you can still access the live stream during the service time from our web site home page by going to the box to the right (you may need to refresh the page if you arrive early). Previous worship services are available by scrolling down through the postings.
Please note that phone access to all of our live streamed services is also available. Please e-mail Pastor Rich to get the access # and password. It changes for each service so please be clear as to which service or services you are intending to call in for.
Giving During This Uncertain Time
While your on-going support of the church and its ministries is appreciated during this time of uncertainty we recognize that most of us are facing challenges that have impacted us financially. Please give as you are able and do not worry about maintaining your pledge or regular giving until you are more comfortable with your financial situation. Thank you.
Although we are scaling back most of our church activities which will reduce our expenses during this time, we still have staff who will be working- cleaning the church thoroughly; providing office assistance from home; offering music for our "virtual" worship services; providing pastoral care remotely, etc.- so we will still be incurring expenses that will need to be covered as best we can. To the extent that you are able please maintain your financial pledge or give regularly. Contributions can either be mailed in to the church (154 Main Street, Nashua, NH 03060) or you can utilize our on-line giving options by going to the following web address:
Thank you for your on-going support, for your prayers, and for your faithfulness to God and one another.