Pastoral Post 4.14.2017

We sang “Hosannas” as the children paraded with their palms at all three services on Sunday morning. But, just as the tone quickly changed when Jesus entered Jerusalem, when he cast the moneychangers out of the temple, the tone of our service made a turn as we remembered the events of that Holy Week.

 We’ll talk about the importance of memory and remembering on Thursday evening at our Maundy Thursday service at 6:30. Jesus was sharing the Passover with his disciples, remembering the story of the deliverance of their people from slavery in Egypt, when Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body…” and then took wine and said, “This is my blood…Do this in remembrance of me.” He told us to remember. The Greek word is anamnesis; it is about remembering, but also about something more…this kind of remembering is also, in a sense, a re-living of the story, when its depth and meaning are once again real. We’ll remember on Thursday evening, and we’ll receive the bread and cup differently than on our regular Sunday communion services. We’ll end with the “stripping” of the church and an awareness that the Story is not yet complete.

Good Friday morning, I encourage you to meet me and other members of our church and sister downtown churches, for a “crosswalk” up Main St. We’ll gather at First Presbyterian Church at 10:45 and walk up the street with a large cross, stopping along the way for readings from the Good Friday Passion Story. We’ll end at our church. First Baptist invites us to a simply lunch following. It’s a great experience for parents and kids—or for anyone.

On Friday evening at 6:30, we’ll have a quiet service of readings and music from our chamber choir. The lights will dim, in the tradition of the Tenebrae (“shadows”) service. Once again, we will depart with an awareness that the Story is not over….

 I hope during these next few days each person will find time to walk the labyrinth in the sanctuary. The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual “tool” (my word) for experiencing the presence of God in the context of a journey. It is believed that in the Middle Ages, some Christians considered the labyrinth an alternative for those who could not visit the Holy Land. If you’ve walked it, come by and walk it again. Every time is a different experience, depending on whether there are others walking at the same time, outside noises, and your own state of mind. The labyrinth will be disassembled following the Good Friday evening service. Thanks to Scott Taylor for conceptualizing and building this labyrinth.

Holy Saturday is a kind of empty pause in the Story. Maybe it’s a day to come to terms with some things…to let realities set in…to understand what tombs we might be trapped in.

 Sunday is Easter! Our cries of “Alleluia” will resound as we sing Charles Wesley’s words, “Christ the Lord is risen today” to the joyful sounds of brass and organ. We’ll read Matthew’s account of the Easter Story (28:1-10), and consider the fact that twice the women at the empty tomb were told, “Do not be afraid.”

It’s Easter! We complete the Story of the central drama of our faith on Sunday morning! See you there!


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