Good Friday E-votional

Good Friday is a tricky day.  A lot of people skip Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.  They miss the betrayal and arrest of Jesus.  They miss the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross.  If we haven’t watched Christ suffer and die on the cross, where is the joy in the resurrection?  If we don’t see our God dead, then where is the power of the resurrection?

However, Good Friday loses a lot of it’s impact for us.  We know the end of the story!  We know that Christ will rise.  We know that death is not the end.  We don’t know what it is like to be Simon, carrying the cross of Jesus.  We don’t know what it is like to be the beloved disciple watching his teacher and friend die.  We don’t know what it is like to be Nicodemus, having to help bury the person who changed the course of his life.  We don’t know what it is like to be Mary, watching her son cruelly executed right in front of her.  We don’t know the pain of thinking that our savior is killed and our hope along with him.

Does our knowing the end of the story diminish the power of Good Friday?  There is no denying that some of the emotional heft, some of the loss of hope, some of the despair is lost.  The impact is not lost.  It is not lost that Jesus would suffer on the cross for us.  It is not lost that Jesus would die for us.  It does not die that even in his last moments, Jesus would say, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

So we gather on Friday.  We put our hope on the back burner.  We forget that death has no victory.  We enter into faux despair.  We remember the pain and agony suffered by a man on our behalf.  We remember that Christ died, willingly, for us.  We remember that God died for us.  Nothing can lessen the impact of that.

John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

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Maundy Thursday E-votional

I heard a new song this week, “Come to the Table” by the Sidewalk Prophets.  You can listen to it here.   I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of a lot of “contemporary Christian” music.  So much of it is either poorly written, had poor theology, or is just plain bad.  I am not dismissing all of it, by I tend to approach much of it with skepticism.  “Come to the Table” really spoke to me, though, and I felt it was especially fitting for Maundy Thursday, the day we remember the Last Supper.

“He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table

Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There’s no one unwelcome here, no
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
And let mercy draw you near”

These lyrics remind us that when we gather around Communion, it is Christ that invites us.  Christ welcomes us.  Christ welcomes all, nobody is unwelcome.  We must remember that in the Gospels, Jesus broke bread with the disciples, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the pharisees.  Jesus sat at the table with people from all walks of life.  In fact, that was one of the criticisms of him by religious officials – he must be a glutton and a drunkard because of the company he kept.

The most powerful part of the song is:

“To the thief, to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young, to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last, all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you’ve been forgiven
All who dream, all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained, all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who’s been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who’ve been labeled right or wrong
Everyone who hears this song”

We are reminded who was there at the Last Supper.  Judas, who would betray Christ that night.  Peter, who would deny Christ that night.  Thomas, who would doubt Christ a few days later.  As well as other disciples who would fall asleep in the garden or abandon him at the cross.  The disciples all let Jesus down in one way or another, yet Jesus loved them, welcomed them, broke bread with them, and ultimately, died for them.  That should give us great comfort, knowing that even when we let Jesus down, he still loves us, he still redeems us, he still welcomes us to the table.

As you remember the Last Supper today (or anytime you celebrate Communion), remember that Christ took the bread and declared it to be his body, broken for us.  Remember he took the cup and said it represented the new covenant, sealed in his blood that was poured out for us.  We remember that he invites all people to the table, even those that disappoint him, betray him, deny him or doubt him.    We remember that he invites sinners and saints.  We remember that he invited the “thief and the doubter, the hero and the coward…”  We remember that he invited me and you.

 

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

 

March 28th News and Notes

 

Maundy Thursday

Mandy Thursday is March 29th.  We will celebrate communion during a potluck meal, beginning at 6:00.  You can sign up here.  Plan on joining us!

Good Friday

Good Friday is March 30th this year.  We will have a worship service at 7:30.

Thank You

Thank you to all who contributed to the Easter Baskets for the Food Pantry and who helped out with the Easter Egg hunt last Sunday!

Mission Giving

April is the traditional time for the collection of One Great Hour of Sharing.  This Sunday, our mission giving will go towards One Great Hour of Sharing.

 

 

Neutral Pulpit

We will be hosting a neutral pulpit on April 8th.  A neutral pulpit is when a pastor nominating committee invites a candidate to preach at a neutral location and is one of the final steps in the pastoral search process.   We will welcome a PNC and the Rev. Gloria Yi that morning.

Christmas in April

Christmas in April is April 28th.  This is a longtime mission project of UPB where we spend one day working on and repairing a home for someone in need.  Please see Herb Sheppard for more information or you can sign up in the Narthex.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, March 28th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:15

Thursday, March 29th

  • Maundy Thursday Potluck, 6:00

Friday, March 30th

  • Good Friday Service, 7:30

Sunday, April 1st

  • Easter
  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, April 4th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:15

Friday, April 6th

  • Book Club, 7:00

Sunday, April 8th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Chat & Chew following worship
  • Sunday School following worship
  • CSF committee meeting after Sunday School

Looking Ahead

  • April 1st, Easter
  • April 28th, Christmas in April
  • May 6th, Church in the Park
  • June 2nd, Bowie Fest
  • June 9th, SMA walk
  • Mars Hill Mission Trip, July 8th-14th
  • Art and Music Camp, July 23rd-27th

March 22nd News and Notes

 

 

Thursday Night Activities

Ladies Night Out is cancelled tonight.  The choir will rehearse at 7:15 this evening.

Palm Sunday

This Sunday is Palm Sunday.  We will celebrate with Palms during the worship.  The children will join with the choir for a special anthem and we will have an Easter Egg hunt after church!

Easter Baskets

The Mission and Service Committee will be collecting for 15 Easter Baskets for the Bowie Food Pantry. All donations need to be put into the basket by March 25th. Acceptable items are: Individually wrapped candies, pencils, crayons, little books, etc. We will provide the baskets and grass. Children from the Sunday School classes will help assemble.

Easter Egg Hunt

We will have an Easter Egg hunt for the children of the church after worship on March 25th.

Maundy Thursday

Mandy Thursday is March 29th.  We will celebrate communion during a potluck meal, beginning at 6:00.  You can sign up here.  Plan on joining us!

Good Friday

Good Friday is March 30th this year.  We are looking for readers for the Good Friday service.  If you are interested and available, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Christmas in April

Christmas in April is April 28th.  This is a longtime mission project of UPB where we spend one day working on and repairing a home for someone in need.  Please see Herb Sheppard for more information or you can sign up in the Narthex.

Two Week Outlook

Thursday, March 22nd

  • Choir Rehersal, 7:15

Sunday, March 25th

  • Palm Sunday
  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship
  • Easter Egg Hunt

Wednesday, March 28th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:15

Thursday, March 29th

  • Maundy Thursday Potluck, 6:00

Friday, March 30th

  • Good Friday Service, 7:30

Sunday, April 1st

  • Easter
  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, April 4th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:15

Looking Ahead

  • April 1st, Easter
  • April 28th, Christmas in April
  • May 6th, Church in the Park
  • June 9th, SMA walk
  • Mars Hill Mission Trip, July 8th-14th
  • Art and Music Camp, July 23rd-27th

March 15th News and Notes

 

 

 

Lenten Dinners and Devotions

Our final Lenten Dinner is next Wednesday.  The meal will be pasta..  We will begin dinner at 6:00 and have an inter-generational devotional activity afterwards.  The them will be exploring Lent through African American Spirituals.  You can sign up to share in the meal or let us know you are coming here 

Easter Baskets

The Mission and Service Committee will be collecting for 15 Easter Baskets for the Bowie Food Pantry. All donations need to be put into the basket by March 25th. Acceptable items are: Individually wrapped candies, pencils, crayons, little books, etc. We will provide the baskets and grass. Children from the Sunday School classes will help assemble.

Easter Egg Hunt

We will have an Easter Egg hunt for the children of the church after worship on March 25th.

Maundy Thursday

Mandy Thursday is March 29th.  We will celebrate communion during a potluck meal, beginning at 6:00.  Plan on joining us!

Good Friday

Good Friday is March 30th this year.  We are looking for readers for the Good Friday service.  If you are interested and available, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Christmas in April

Christmas in April is April 28th.  This is a longtime mission project of UPB where we spend one day working on and repairing a home for someone in need.  Please see Herb Sheppard for more information or you can sign up in the Narthex.

Two Week Outlook

Thursday, March 15th

  • SMA meeting, 6:00
  • Men’s Night Out, 6:30

Saturday, March 17th

  • Warm Nights

Sunday, March 18th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship

Wednesday, March 21st

  • Lenten Dinner and devotional, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, March 22nd

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:30, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Women’s Night Out, 6:30, Old Bowie Town Grill

Sunday, March 25th

  • Palm Sunday
  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship
  • Easter Egg Hunt

Looking Ahead

  • April 1st, Easter
  • April 28th, Christmas in April
  • May 6th, Church in the Park
  • June 9th, SMA walk
  • Mars Hill Mission Trip, July 8th-14th
  • Art and Music Camp, July 23rd-27th

March 2018 Board Corner

Board Corner – March 2018

It is important to the Board that our congregation is kept informed on discussions that are taking place and decisions that are being made for the good of the United Parish.  Minutes of Board meetings, along with agendas, monthly financial statements, and the pastor’s report, are kept in a binder in the church library.

In the past few months, the Board has been at work in several different areas including:

  • Read and discussed Sailboat Church by Joan S. Gray.  Throughout 2018, Board Members will be in prayer for each other, the congregation, committees, and worship leaders and those lifted up in prayer during worship.   Added to meetings will be a discussion of Acts
  • The Board elected its officers for the 2018 calendar year: Vice Moderator – Terry Drown; Secretary/Clerk – Sharon Doughty; Treasurer – Gene Barbato.
  • The Board participated in the Annual Leadership Retreat/Training on January 27, 2018. Reviewed and revised the Board Covenant which was then signed by each member.
  • Committee Liaisons for 2018 are: Children, Youth, and Family – Sue Kennedy; Christian Spiritual Formation – Cathie Lambert; Communication – Chris Deacon; Membership and Fellowship – Terry Drown; Mission and Service – Nancy Snyder; and Stewardship and Finance – Gene Barbato.
  • Approved Gene Barbato, Joey Drown, Roy Eades, Cathie Lambert, and Mike Mehl as counters.
  • Nominating Committee for 2018 is Shirley Bickel, Mary Bird, Russ Doughty, Roy Eades, and Cathie Lambert.
  • Began work on written guidelines for the Nominating Committee.
  • Is in the process of reviewing the By-Laws for spelling errors and inconsistencies in wording. When work is complete, the corrections will be submitted to the congregation for approval.
  • Approved using additional funds from special gifts, if needed, to cover costs of Kick-Off Sunday and using the building fund to cover the cost of roof repairs that exceeded the budget amount.
  • Updated membership rolls. In the future this will done yearly.
  • Began looking into getting a defibrillator for the church and updating the first aid kit.
  • Thanked Doug Snyder for years as serving as delegate to the Potomac Association of the United Church of Christ and Erma Barron for volunteering to serve as the new delegate.

The Board is meant to represent the membership of the United Parish.  Please feel free to contact any Board member or Pastor Chris with your ideas, suggestions and/or concerns.  Board members for 2018 are Gene Barbato, Mary Bird, Sharon Doughty, Terry Drown, Sue Kennedy, Cathie Lambert, and Nancy Snyder.

 

 

 

 

March 8th E-votional

Here is something I never thought I would write an e-votional about – a former adult film star.  However, I had an interesting article suggested to me the other day about Mia Khalifa.  She recently filmed an interview with Lance Armstrong for his webcast “New Forward.”

During the interview, Mia Khalifa talks about walking away from pornography after only three months.  In the three months, which she made adult films, she became very popular and even begin to get threats from ISIS, so she decided to walk away.  She has since decided to reinvent herself.  She has moved to Austin, TX and become as a sports newscaster.

The most interesting exchange between Armstrong and Khalifa came when Armstrong pointed out that every article he read to research her had the lead “porn star”.  Even though she was only in the industry for three months, she was carrying the brand of what she called a “huge mistake” when she was “21 and stupid”.  This particularly resonated with Armstrong who still carries the mark of past mistakes and brought up that almost every article about him carries the label, “disgraced athlete.”

Now both Armstrong and Khalifa are trying to start over, to move on from the past, and to reinvent themselves.  Four years after her short stint in adult films, Khalifa has sought a “clean slate” and started a new career.  I think that is the most powerful thing about God’s grace.  No matter what we do, God gives us the opportunity to confess, repent, and start over.  Because of God’s love for us, we are offered a “clean slate”, we are offered forgiveness.  It is important to remember though, that just because God forgives us, we still carry the ramifications of past sins and mistakes.  Like Mia Khalifa, like Lance Armstrong, we may still carry the marks and labels from things we did in our past.  However, in God’s eyes, our slate is wiped clean, we are forgiven, and we are free to start over.

There is nothing we can do to earn this clean slate.  There is nothing we can do to be worthy of a fresh start.  It is given freely.  It is given purely out of God’s love.  It is grace.

 

Isaiah 1:18 18 “Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”