Each year we enter the Lenten season with the intention of being a little more thoughtful of our need for God’s presence, grace, and mercy.  We determine some way we might carve out a little more time, make a stronger effort, commit to a deeper discipline. It is our hope that in doing so, we draw near to our Creator, acknowledge our small but valuable lifespan, and consider ways to offer ourselves most fully to the loving works of Christ.

The work of Christ is loving, yes. And, it is entirely sacrificial. Our God, having taken on flesh in Jesus the Christ, willingly loves without limit to the point of being crucified on a Roman cross. As we look not only at Christ’s life and love, but also at his death, we are compelled to consider the sacrifices it may require of us as we seek to live God’s will and way.

During Holy Week each year, we shift our focus to those last days in the life of our Lord, from the entry into Jerusalem in great fanfare to the dark, damp innards of the tomb. This journey can be hard, bringing to mind the very worst in humanity and within ourselves while revealing the results of brutal behavior standing strikingly before backdrop of divine surrender, a holy gift.

Easter resurrection celebration is around the corner –yet can only be celebrated in the heights of joy by those who have been to the pits of loss and despair that precede it.  It can be a challenge to explain, but all who have despaired the setting sun understand the fullness that comes with the new days’sunrise.

You are invited and encouraged, so that you might walk more deeply with Christ, to participate in the Holy Week services and opportunities you will find outlined below.

Palm Sunday Service
Sunday April 14, 2019, 11:00 a.m.

A celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the hope of Israel that he would become a new worldly king, dethroning the oppressive powers of their governing rulers, bringing freedom, power, and a new way of life for God’s chosen people. Palm branches are waved and songs of praise are offered, even as people did long ago as Jesus descended into Jerusalem in humility.

Labyrinth Walk
Monday-Wednesday, April 15-17, 2019, 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Come during these hours to the Fellowship Hall for a quiet walk of prayer and thoughtfulness. If you have never done this before, don’t worry. Each experience of walking the path is different than others. There are helpful pages of devotional thoughts and scriptures available for you to use as you wish, which can help one focus. There isn’t a right or wrong way or experience. It can be done in 30 –50 minutes.

Maundy Thursday Dinner and Service
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

After family dinner shared over the tables in the Fellowship Hall, we will move to the Sanctuary to consider the last night of Christ’s life and the exchanges shared with his disciples, including the last supper. The service will shift to a Tenebrae (service of darkness) as we his observe Jesus betrayal, and shift to grieve with those who loved and lost him. This is a solemn, funeral-type of service, during which we consider the depths of evil capable through human hands, and reflect on the generous suffering and love of our Lord. We leave in the darkness that reminds us of the days in the darkened tomb.

Easter Sunday Service
Sunday, April 21, 2019, 11:00 a.m.

A Worship Service–Christ’s Resurrection Celebration!
Darkness is overcome by light, sadness by joy, grief by hope!

We will sing and share with strong, bold voices that Christ is a deliverer and king for all people, bringing in a new kingdom that overcomes sin and death. The one who was crucified is alive again!

Having entered the weeks’ journey, the parade into the city of Jerusalem, the unfair trials, and to the hill at Golgotha, with Christ–we may be overcome with awe, wonder, gratitude, and hope as we shout, “He is risen!”

Consider the gifts this week holds for us and embrace the full journey.

Written by Anna Perry Miller