April 3, 2020
"The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, 'Who is this?' The crowds were saying, 'This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.'"
In just a couple of days we will celebrate Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem and the start of holy week. I think that it is safe to say that this will be the most unusual experience of holy week that any of us have ever had. That said, I also think that it is an opportunity for us to enter into this experience of holy week in a new way that might help us to better understand what it is all about. In order to assist you in this experience I would like to invite you to spend some time each day journeying from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday as you read and reflect on the events of that week in Jesus' life. The gospel of Mark is clearest in setting out what Jesus did or experienced each day of that week. Please use the passages noted below as a starting point in your reading, thinking, and praying your way through holy week. Each day of holy week I will also share some questions for reflection pertaining to the reading for that day. These will be shared on our facebook page and will appear on the home page of our web site as well.
Palm Sunday: Mark 11:1-11
Monday: Mark 11:12-19
Tuesday: Mark 11:20-13:37
Wednesday: Mark 14:1-10
Thursday: Mark 14:12-51
Friday: Mark 14:52-15:47
Saturday: No reading but there will be questions for reflection
Sunday: Mark 16:1-8
My hope and prayer for each of us is that our current situation will allow us to enter into the events of holy week in a new and meaningful way.
4/5 Palm Sunday/ The Third Sunday in Exile
Special Music: Dan McDonald and Kelly Brown
Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 21:1-11
Theme: Who Is This? What Palm Sunday Tells Us About Jesus. Each gospel writer tells the Palm Sunday story a little differently. The author of the gospel of Matthew tells the story in a way that is both humorous and meaningful. Let's see what he has to say about the question, "Who Is This?"
Palm Sunday Palms: For many of you I am sure that it is difficult to imagine Palm Sunday without palms. Since they had already arrived before the "stay home" order went into effect we do have them to be distributed. On Saturday a container of palms will be put out in front of the church with an invitation to take one. Should you be out for a legitimate reason please feel free to stop by and pick one up. Please use all of the usual precautions that you would for anything else during this pandemic.
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 Pastor Rich is also live steaming a Wednesday morning devotional reflection each week as well. Just follow the directions above to watch it live or any time afterwards.
Giving During This Uncertain Time
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 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.
Crowning Glory: Submitted by Prince and Carolyn Ekle
Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty shall shield Jerusalem;
He will shield and deliver it, he will 'pass over' it and rescue it. Is.31:5
On our dawn walk, Prince and I were serenaded by many winged ones. Though the first rays of light were beginning to ray the horizon, clouds tempered their rising. A few moments after we opened the front door, my friend, Blue Joy (no that's not a typo) announced our presence to the Universe. He was the conductor calling the orchestra to attention. He set the tempo "Joy, Joy, Joy!" and the orchestra sang the opening notes of "Crowning Glory". This was a full orchestra of many feathered species.
Their symphony seemed to follow along our path, arising from both sides of us, in front of us, behind. Though their bodies were unseen, their songs followed our every footfall. Their harmony was as if written by the Master Composer, which, of course, it had been. We walked some distance from home base and they willingly piped us along. I peered into the leafless canopy searching for a rounded shape amidst the horizontals and verticals. Though unseen by the eye, "Crowning Glory" was heard in the heart through the tympanic membrane of the ear.
The title "Crowning Glory" came to me as metaphor, derived from the fact that Corona originally meant Crown or Wreath, a sign of victory. Jerusalem can be understood as representing Mother Earth. Creation is determined to focus us in hope, in strength, in joy and so sings to each of us with personally attuned harmonics.
What majesty are you hearing this day? .