March 24th E-votional

Today is Maundy Thursday.  Many people, especially regular church-goers, know that the Thursday before Easter is Maundy Thursday, but a lot of them don’t know what Maundy means.  Maundy is a Latin word meaning “commandment” or “mandate”.  Today is “Commandment Thursday”.

But what is the commandment that was given on the original Thursday?  Matthew, Mark, and Luke recount the Last Supper when Jesus broke the bread and poured the cup and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  Is that the commandment?

John’s Gospel does not mention that meal, but instead recounts Jesus washing the disciples feet.  After doing so, he said, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  Is this the commandment?

Both of these are instructions to his disciples, and to us by extension.  These are also the two things often highlighted in Maundy Thursday services, but I don’ t think they are specifically the focus.  I think  John 13:34 gives us the actual commandment, though when Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

Jesus gives us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us.  What does that mean.  How does Jesus love us?  Let’s go back to both the foot washing and the Last Supper.

In washing the disciples’ feet, he was putting himself in the position of a servant.  He was humbling himself before them.  He was also putting himself in a vulnerable position.  He was providing the disciples with something they needed.

During the Last Supper, Jesus showed love without judgment, as well as forgiveness, when he broke bread with Judas who betrayed him, Peter who would deny him, and Thomas who would doubt him.  The Last Supper also exemplified the sacrificial nature of Christ’s love.

So today on “Commandment Thursday” we are given a new commandment.  We are to love one another, putting others needs first.  We are to love one another in a way that makes us vulnerable.  We are to love one another in a way that humbles ourselves.  We are to love one another with a nonjudgmental and forgiving love.  We are to love one another with a sacrificial love.  We are to love one another as Christ loved us.

Matthew 22:37-39  37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  38 This is the greatest and first commandment.  39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

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March 17th News and Notes

Easter Egg hunt

We will have an Easter Egg hunt following worship on Palm Sunday, March 20th.  We are looking for volunteers to help stuff eggs at 10:00 on March 19th.

Family Crisis Center Easter Baskets

UPB will provide 15 filled Easter Baskets for the children at the Family Crisis Center on Palm Sunday, March 20th.  We are looking for donations of individually wrapped candies, small toys and games, crayons, and plastic Easter eggs.  If you would prefer to make a monetary donation and let the Committee do the shopping, please see Judy Farrell or put a check in the offering basket and designate it for the Easter baskets.  Note:  The Committee has already provided the baskets, grass, and coloring books.

 Maundy Thursday

We will have a Maundy Thursday potluck, Thursday, March 24th at 6:15.  We will celebrate communion as part of the meal.

Good Friday

We are looking for participants for the Good Friday service.  If you are interested in reading, please let Chris knowor sign up here.

Children, Youth, and Family Outing

On May 15th, following Sunday School, we will be going out for lunch and bowling.  Everyone is invited, so plan to join us!

Coloring Group

There is a coloring group forming for adults interested in coloring.  It will be the third Monday at 7:00.  Please bring a snack to share!

 Two Week Outlook

 Thursday, March 17th

  • Men’s Night Out, 6:30 pm

Saturday, March 19th

  • Egg Stuffing, 10:00

Sunday, March 20th

  • Palm Sunday
  • Easter Baskets fro Family Crisis Center
  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship
  • Easter Egg hunt following Sunday School

Monday, March 21st

  • Coloring Group, 7:00

Wednesday, March 23rd

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, March 24th

  • Maundy Thursday Potluck,6:15

Friday, March 25th

  • Good Friday Service,7:30

Sunday, March 26th

  • Easter Sunday
  • Worship, 10:00
  • No Sunday School after worship

Looking Ahead

  • March 27th: Easter
  • April 30th: Christmas in April
  • June 4th: Bowiefest
  • June 26th: Church in the Park
  • July 10th-16th: Mars Hill Mission Trip
  • July 25th-29th: Art and Music Camp

March 10th News and Notes

Risen

Saturday, March 12th, we will go to see the Movie “Risen” at 3:45 in Bowie.  We will then go to TGI Fridays for dinner and to discuss the movie.

Daylight Savings

Don’t forget to Spring ahead this Saturday night!

Lenten Dinner and Activities

Our Lenten dinners and interactive devotionals wrap up next Wednesday.  The dinner them tonight is corned beef and cabbage.  Dinner will start at 6:00 and we will wrap up by 7:15.  During Lent, we will be looking at different ways to interact with the Psalms.  We still need people to provide salad.  Please sign up here.

Family Crisis Center Easter Baskets

UPB will provide 15 filled Easter Baskets for the children at the Family Crisis Center on Palm Sunday, March 20th.  We are looking for donations of individually wrapped candies, small toys and games, crayons, and plastic Easter eggs.  If you would prefer to make a monetary donation and let the Committee do the shopping, please see Judy Farrell or put a check in the offering basket and designate it for the Easter baskets.  Note:  The Committee has already provided the baskets, grass, and coloring books.

Ladies Luncheon

The Ladies will meet for lunch at the Olive Garden on March 11th at 11:30 am.

Coloring Group

There is a coloring group forming for adults interested in coloring.  It will be the third Monday at 7:00.  Please bring a snack to share!

 Easter Egg hunt

We will have an Easter Egg hunt following worship on Palm Sunday, March 20th.  We are looking for volunteers to help stuff eggs at 10:00 on March 19th.

Holy Week

Holy Week will soon be here.  We will have an Easter Egg hunt on Palm Sunday, March 20th after an abbreviated Sunday School.  We will have a Maundy Thursday potluck meal on Thursday, March 24th at 6:15.  Our Good Friday service will be Friday, March 25th at 7:30.

Good Friday

We are looking for participants for the Good Friday service.  If you are interested in reading, please let Chris know.

Children, Youth, and Family Outing

On May 15th, following Sunday School, we will be going out for lunch and bowling.  Everyone is invited, so plan to join us!

 Two Week Outlook

 Friday, March 11th

  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30, Olive Garden
  • Book Club, 7:00 pm

Saturday, March 12th

  • Risen, 3:45. Bowie Theater

Sunday, March 13th

  • Daylight Savings – Spring Ahead!
  • Worship, 10:00
  • Chat and Chew following worship
  • Sunday School following worship

Monday, March 14th

  • Worship Team, 4:00

Wednesday, March 16th

  • Lenten Intergenerational Devotional, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, March 17th

  • Men’s Night Out, 6:30 pm

Saturday, March 19th

  • Egg Stuffing, 10:00

Sunday, March 20th

  • Palm Sunday
  • Easter Baskets fro Family Crisis Center
  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship
  • Easter Egg hunt following Sunday School

Monday, March 21st

  • Coloring Group, 7:00

Wednesday, March 23rd

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, March 24th

  • Maundy Thursday Potluck,6:15

Looking Ahead

  • March 27th: Easter
  • April 30th: Christmas in April
  • June 4th: Bowiefest
  • June 26th: Church in the Park
  • July 10th-16th: Mars Hill Mission Trip
  • July 25th-29th: Art and Music Camp

March 8th Weekly E-votional

Every once in a while, a sermon really sticks with me.  I continue to think about it and it just won’t let me go.  Usually, there is a convergence of events that go along with the sermon and I realize that God is trying to say something to me.  Hopefully, you have experienced something like that.  If you have, you know it is a powerful, but frightening experience.

Over the past few weeks, I have seen some horrible things.  I have witnessed people, who I had previously thought were reasonable, say terrible things.  I have seen somebody say “white lives matter more, we pay your welfare”.  I heard somebody say that the Black Lives Matter movement is no different than the KKK.  This was in response to criticism that a presidential candidate had to think about it before denouncing a white supremacist.  At the same candidate’s rally a few days later, a young African American woman, was pushed, shoved, spit upon, and cursed at, bringing to mind images from force integration.  On the other side of the aisle, presidential candidates treat African Americans as if they are a commodity instead of people.  They are more than willing to say “Black Lives Matter”, but too often, they act as if they should be saying “Black Votes Matter.”

At the Academy Awards, host Chris Rock pointed out the lack of diversity of the #oscarssowhite, but at the same time, made some terrible, stereotypical jokes at the expense of Asians.  Everywhere we turn, people are being marginalized, mistreated, and oppressed due to their race.

During Lent, I have been preaching a sermon series on how Christ transforms us.  This is a sermon series that was planned months ago.  The past two weeks I preached on how we should use our strength, especially our voice, to serve others and how we should use our power, our influence, to ensure justice, equality, and right relationships with and for all.   These sermons wouldn’t let go of me as I reflected on the sheer amount of racial injustice in our society right now.   In preparation for another sermon, I was reading theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil: God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”

How could I preach on using our strength and our voice to serve others and stay silent while witnessing these events?  How could I preach about using our power and our influence for justice and not do anything?  I can’t.  Something must be said.  Something must be done.

As Christians, it is our responsibility to work to ensure all people are treated fairly, no matter their skin color.  Genesis teaches us that men and women are created in God’s image.  All people, no matter what they look like are created in God’s image.  The prophets told us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.  Paul told us in Christ there is no Jew nor Gentile, no slave or free, no man or woman.  We are one in Jesus Christ.  It becomes obvious that something must be done.  The question is what.  What can a church that is mostly white do about the issue of racism and racial equality?

First we have to admit that there is a problem.  As the events I listed above, it is easy to see that there are prejudiced people everywhere we look.  We have to also admit that there are systems of racism at work in our society.  Whether we consider we ourselves racist or not, we participate in this systems and need to examine the role we play.

Next we have to educate ourselves.  There are many ways to do this and it is best to take a multipronged approach.  We can go join a group, such a SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) that foucss on white allies working towards racial justice.

Another approach is that we can read.  Look for prominent bloggers or turn to books.  Currently on my reading list is “Between Me and the World”, “The New Jim Crow”, and “killing rage: Ending Racism”.  If any of you would like to form a group to read these or similar books together and discuss them, I would welcome the opportunity.  Just let me know!

An important approach is to have conversations about race with people of color.  During these conversations, it is important to do more listening to talking.  I, as a white person, can never know what it is like to live as a person of color who faces discrimination day in and day out.  If someone shares this experience with you, that is sacred space.  Treat it as such.  Do not make assumptions, do not think you can relate.  You cannot.  I cannot.  Do not be dismissive, do not think you know better.  You do not, I do not.  These conversations may be painful for you.  They may be awkward.  They could and should make you uncomfortable.   That is a small price to pay for the knowledge and perspective you will gain, for the relationships you will build.

There is so much work to be done in our society if we are to work  for racial justice in our society.   We have to work to eliminate the racism found in people’s hearts, as well as the systematic racism that is found throughout our country.  This work  must start with educating ourselves and expanding our viewpoints.  Then we can begin on the difficult road ahead.

 

Galatians 3:38  “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”

 

March 2nd News and Notes

Lenten Dinner and Activities

Our Lenten dinners and interactive devotionals continue tonight.  The dinner them tonight is pasta.  Dinner will start at 6:00 and we will wrap up by 7:15.  During Lent, we will be looking at different ways to interact with the Psalms.  To help out with future weeks, please sign up here.

Family Crisis Center Easter Baskets

UPB will provide 15 filled Easter Baskets for the children at the Family Crisis Center on Palm Sunday, March 20th.  We are looking for donations of individually wrapped candies, small toys and games, crayons, and plastic Easter eggs.  If you would prefer to make a monetary donation and let the Committee do the shopping, please see Judy Farrell or put a check in the offering basket and designate it for the Easter baskets.  Note:  The Committee has already provided the baskets, grass, and coloring books.

Ladies Luncheon

The Ladies will meet for lunch at the Olive Garden on March 11th at 11:30 am.

Warm Nights

UPB will be helping with Warm Nights on March 19th.  Please sign up to provide help here.

Theology on Tap

Theology on Tap will take a different approach in March.  On Saturday, March 12th, we will go to see the movie, “Risen” and then go out to eat afterwards.  Exact details to come.

Holy Week

Holy Week will soon be here.  We will have an Easter Egg hunt on Palm Sunday, March 20th after an abbreviated Sunday School.  We will have a Maundy Thursday potluck meal on Thursday, March 24th at 6:15.  Our Good Friday service will be Friday, March 25th at 7:30.

Children, Youth, and Family Outing

On May 15th, following Sunday School, we will be going out for lunch and bowling.  Everyone is invited, so plan to join us!

 Two Week Outlook

 Wednesday, March 2nd

  • Lenten Intergenerational Devotional, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Sunday, March 6th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship

Wednesday, March 9th

  • Lenten Intergenerational Devotional, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, March 10th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 7:45 am, Nautilus Diner, Crofton

Friday, March 11th

  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30, Olive Garden
  • Book Club, 7:00 pm

Sunday, March 13th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Chat and Chew following worship
  • Sunday School following worship

Monday, March 14th

  • Worship Team, 4:00

Wednesday, March 16th

  • Lenten Intergenerational Devotional, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Looking Ahead

March 27th…………….Easter                                                                                     April 30th………………….Christmas in April                                                June 4th………………….Bowiefest                                                                      June 26th………………Church in the Park                                                        July 10th-16th…………Mars Hill Mission Trip                                                July 25th-29th…………Art and Music Camp