April 17th News and Notes

 

Maundy Thursday

Mandy Thursday is tomorrow, April 18th.  We will celebrate communion during a potluck meal, beginning at 6:00.  Plan on joining us!

Good Friday

Our Good Friday service is April 19th at 7:30.  Plan on joining us as we remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us.

Warm Nights

The Mission and Service Committee will be organizing the food for the Warm Nights program on May 2nd, at All Saints Lutheran Church at 6pm.
The food will be Walking Tacos. Please sign up in the Narthex if you would like to serve or provide food.

Christmas in April

Christmas in April will be Saturday, April 27th.  We will be working on a house in Lanham.  There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.

Church in the Park

On Sunday, May 19th, we will worship at Allen Pond park instead of in the sanctuary.  Following worship, we will have a potluck cook-out.  Mark your calendars!

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, April 17th

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, April 18th

  • Maundy Thursday Potluck, 6:00

Friday, April 19th

  • Good Friday service, 7:30

Sunday, April 14th

  • Easter!
  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, April 24th

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, April 25th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:15, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Ladies Night Out, 6:30, Rips Country Inn

Saturday, April 27th

  • Christmas in April

Sunday, April 28th

  • Easter!
  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, May 1st

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • April 21st, Easter
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • May 19th, Church in the Park
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp
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April 21st Lenten Devotion

Rattling Cages

Cristine Warring

Matthew 28:11-15

 Jesus’ resurrection sure has interesting effects on people. Earlier, the Marys experienced something amazing at the tomb and ran – in fear AND joy – to tell the disciples the news. When Jesus himself met the three women, they worshipped him.

Switch scenes to the guards. Only some of them went to report what had happened. Surely they were terrified, for Roman guards simply did not fall asleep on duty. Perhaps this – and the angel descending from heaven – is why the guards went to the chief priests instead of their military supervisors. Or perhaps the chief priests had a reputation for handing out hush money. It seems a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” scenario was at work.

Except attempts at sweeping Jesus’ resurrection under the rug failed. Not just because walking out of the grave turned death upside down. Resurrection turned *power* upside down. And people in power do not like getting their cages rattled one little bit. No wonder the chief priests instructed the guards to lie – if the truth escaped, the chief priests would lose their tenuous hold on what little power the Roman government gave them. They weren’t afraid of Jesus or his resurrection – they were scared of Rome.

What keeps us from running to tell everyone – in fear AND joy – about the resurrection? What are we afraid of losing? Pride? Control? Position? Will we pretend that Jesus is still dead or will we fall at his feet, worshipping him?

 

O God who resurrects, grant us wisdom to see the powers we cling to. Grant us strength to let these go. Grant us joy to fall and worship at Your feet. Amen.

 

 Cristine Warring is the pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – Girard in rural southeast Kansas.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 20th Lenten Devotion

Waiting with Holy Saturday

Andrea Allan

Matthew 27:62-66

God will have the last laugh over death! Even the chief priests and the Pharisees had a feeling that Good Friday was not the last they would hear from this trouble maker Jesus or his devoted followers. After much work and fancy foot work they had achieved their goal of getting rid of the one who was turning their lives upside down, so they were not going to let a few mischievous disciples take that away from them. They were not leaving anything to chance, and so ensured that he was sealed up well inside the tomb.

Holy Saturday is an awkward time. We have just had the somber and contriteness of Good Friday, and since we know how this story ends, we are waiting with anticipation for the next day. We are used to getting whatever we desire right away – groceries are ready to go, buy something with the click of a button. However, there is no speeding past Holy Saturday on the way to Easter. We simply have to wait, just as Jesus waited while sealed inside the tomb. The forced waiting feels like a punishment and yet, I believe it is a gift from God. We so rarely have times where we must sit and wait, so God gives us this time in the form of Holy Saturday. A day when we can rest, or read, or pray, or enjoy the springtime before we head into the joy filled celebrations that are just around the corner.

Gracious and Loving God,thank you for a time of waiting. Help me to slow down and enjoy this gift of time with You so that I may fully experience the joy when the morning comes, and you Son rises again. Amen.

 

Rev. Andrea Allan is a United Church of Canada minister in Southern Ontario. She lives with her husband and daughter in Stratford Ontario.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 19th Lenten Devotion

What Remains

Matt McCaffrey

Matthew 27:24-26

When I get out of bed in the morning. Before and after each meal. Definitely twice, or more, in the course of a dirty household job. At least once during a restaurant meal. Before I brush my teeth.

I would love to say you’ve just read a list of my regular prayer occasions. I would love to say that’s how often I live up to my ordination vows and set a good example for those who watch my spiritual leadership.

That list is something we are more likely to hold in common. It’s a list of how often I wash my hands on a typical day.

Sometimes, hand washing is a ritual. Sometimes, it’s a necessity. And sometimes, I perform it as part of a sacrament.

When I witness Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea and representative of Roman justice, washing his hands, my own hands tingle. I sense his exasperation with the unwanted, irresolvable situation in front of him. I empathize with his guilt at having ordered the interrogation and torture of a human being who is accused of no crime he recognizes. Above all, I identify with his need to separate his identity, his reputation, and his career from the cruelty that has washed up on his doorstep.

In the stream and splash of water dripping from his palms and fingers, the face of Jesus is distorted. The words and bloody actions of the long night could burble into the gutter.

But the gentle words; the look in his eyes; the intersection of humanity and divinity? Pilate could never wash that away. And, neither can I.

 

Jesus, who suffered and died for me, may my prayers of gratitude for your sacrifice flow like a renewing stream today. Amen.

 

Matt McCaffrey is Interim Minister of North Madison Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Connecticut.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 18th Lenten Devotion

A Disturbing Dream

Robert Stutes

Matthew 27:11-23

It is only in Matthew’s gospel that we encounter her.  But through the centuries, many have found her story quite intriguing.

We’re talking about the wife of Pontius Pilate.  Only one short verse is devoted to her story.  Jesus has been arrested, and then handed over to the civil authorities.  Pilate, the Roman governor, finds himself in a no-win situation.  It appears he would just as soon set Jesus free, but he perceives that the crowd is out for blood.

And then his wife brings a message to him.  She boldly pronounces Jesus “not guilty,” and advises her husband not to have anything to do with him.  “I have suffered a great deal in a dream today because of him,” she says. Pilate disregards her advice, and he yields to the crowds who yell “Crucify.”

But what became of his wife?  Some early Christian traditions suggest that this dream was not an isolated incident, and that she eventually converted and became a believer.  Some Orthodox traditions even recognize her as a saint – with the name of Procla or Claudia.

Whether legendary or factual, the story of St. Procla can teach us much.  Though this dream caused her great suffering, and could not avert the suffering of our Savior, it may well have led to her greatest joy.  Something within her was ready to receive the message that others could not have begun to perceive.

Her story causes me to want to pay more attention to the messages I might otherwise ignore.

 

Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see.  Open my heart, Lord, that I may receive the direction you would have for me, even if it might first seem unpleasant.  Amen.

 

Robert Stutes is pastor of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 17th Lenten Devotion

Teach us to Pray

Julie Holm

Matthew 26:36-46

Sitting on a hill, in the beginning of this gospel, Jesus taught us how to pray, giving us what we now think of as the “Lord’s Prayer” or “Our Father.”   And throughout the gospel, Jesus teaches and shows us how to pray, going off by himself for silence, teaching in depth throughout the gospel on prayer, and modeling it himself.

Here, at the end, Jesus again models prayer for us, taking his pain and his emotion to God, and through it all asking that God’s will be done.   It’s all going wrong, as it does in any human life.  If you have not had to suffer in this life, just wait, it’s coming.  All manner of terrible and horrific things happen in our lives, cancer, the death of loved ones, lost jobs and incomes, homelessness, abuse, addiction, violence.  We all have our own experiences of agony.  Sometimes it leads us to question God’s love.

Jesus, here, reminds us to keep our connection with God, even when we are in pain, even when the unthinkable happens, even when we must drink from a cup we would rather have pass away.  Even when we would rather have relief than have to live through it.  And as Jesus reminds us to pray, again and again, “Your will be done.”  Because God’s will wasn’t ultimately achieved on that hill on Calvary.  That was human sin.  God’s will was done three days later, at an empty tomb.  God’s will was, and is, love.

 

God of Prayer, give us courage, and remind us that you walk with us through all our Agonies, and that you continue to love us even if we cannot see it.  And your will be done. 

 

Julie Holm is the pastor of three small rural churches in central Pennsylvania, and works within both UCC and ELCA traditions.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 16th Lenten Devotion

Peter

Peter Hamm

Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75

I am so glad my name is Peter. No joke. It’s a comfort to me to know that God found such an amazing use for a blockhead who never seemed to get anything right, and I share his name.

In John’s Gospel, right near the end, we learn that Peter is so disgusted with himself that he decides to return to a life of fishing, because he’s no longer good enough to serve Jesus.

That’s where Jesus restores Peter. And his eventual penance for those acts of denial, which should be harsh by human thinking perhaps, is simple… to follow Jesus (again) and to take care of those Jesus has put in Peter’s care.

When we fail, when we deny Jesus through the choices we make, it is important to reflect on this passage, and perhaps weep over our own sinfulness. But do not forget that Jesus asks us not to dwell on our failings and give up, but to follow Jesus and do whatever work God has put in front of us.

 

Lord, we know we fail, and we know we will fail. We fail ourselves, we fail our loved ones, and we fail you. Restore us, Lord, each time, and remind us how very much we are loved and cherished, and how much you love having us as part of your work in this world.

 

Peter Hamm is a husband, father, and bi-vocational pastor and worship leader who is delighted and honored to serve Grace United Methodist Church in Norwood, Ohio.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author.