Pastoral Post 3.31.2017

This post was also included in this week’s First Words:

We are moving ever deeper into Lent on our journey toward Holy Week. How’s the journey been for you? Like all journeys, there have been for me twists and turns, high points and not-so-high points.

I still reflect on Ash Wednesday, and the reminder to all of us—including me!—“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Lent is a time to remember our mortality and our dependence upon Christ for eternal life. There have been too many reminders of mortality for our church family lately…too many deaths of church members and their loved ones…some expected, some feeling all too premature. We grieve them all as we are confronted by that harsh reality, “you are dust…” But we hold fast to the promises.

We have still before us the drama of Holy Week. We’ll wave palm branches and cry “Hosanna” on Sunday, April 9, before remember what is to come in the week ahead. We’ll have opportunities every night of that week here at the church. Monday evening it’s a focus on the labyrinth. If you did not walk the labyrinth last year, please don’t miss it this year. There’s something very special, beyond what I can explain, in walking a labyrinth, and the one Scott Taylor built for us in the sanctuary was amazing. Tuesday night will be film night. We’ll have our regular schedule on Wonderful Wednesday. Then we observe Maundy Thursday, gathering around the Lord’s table as the disciples gathered with Jesus for the Last Supper. Join me and others on Friday morning at 10:45 at First Presbyterian for the Good Friday cross walk, as we travel up Main St. stopping to read the Passion Story with friends from other churches. The service that evening back in our sanctuary promises to be very special. All evening services are at 6:30. The services of this week help us recall and, in a sense, relive the central drama of our faith.

Then on Sunday, April 16, we will hear that triumphant cry, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!” And we’ll blow the trumpet and sing for all we’re worth that, “Christ the Lord is risen today!” The victory is won over sin and death, once and for all!

OK. That’s ahead. But we still have some journeying to do. We’ll take a look this Sunday at the closing verses of Matthew’s Gospel (28:16-20). The story is a bit out of sequence, as far as Lent goes, as it is set after Easter. We read it this week as another one of those passages unique to Matthew, and as perhaps the text most often quoted as a reminder that we as Christ’s followers are to go “into all the world.”

So let’s continue on the journey, reading Matthew, being inspired by our daily devotions (Thanks again, writers!), and gathering to worship together. The more intentionality we give to the observance of Lent, the greater our joy on Easter. I promise!

See you Sunday on the Lenten Journey,

Sandy

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