Holy Week: Death and Life

easter_cross.fwIt is the middle of Holy Week and with it comes that sad news of the death today of Dr. Paul Martin, President of the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Paul led the school through some difficult times with grace, good humor and a big heart. He will be sorely missed. We will keep his family and the seminary community in our prayers in this challenging time. I will personally miss his good humored teasing and the warmth of his welcome.

Tomorrow night I invite you all to attend a simple soup supper and Maundy Thursday Communion Service in the Parlor. In this service we will extinguish the last of the Tenebrae candles as we anticipate the pervasive darkness of Good Friday. On Friday,  from Noon to 3:00 PM, we will open the Sanctuary for prayer and mediation. We will have resources on which you may reflect as well as contemplative music playing. You may also choose to walk the labyrinth as you recall the events and power of Christ’s passion.

Saturday morning at 10:00 AM we will gather to prepare the Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary for the Easter celebration. Don’t forget to bring blossoms for the flower cross on Sunday. As always, Jan has planned extra music for Easter. We will have several people helping out the choir as well as Daniel Ramirez on saxophone and Daniel Ramirez on cello. I want to alert you that worship will begin at 10:00 AM. The welcome and announcements will not come until later in the service.

The service will begin in the “darkness” of that first early morning when Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb to grieve, only to find the sealing stone rolled away and the grave empty. She was at a loss. She didn’t know what to make of it and rushed off to tell the others what had happened. As we confront the empty tomb we, too, are left to wonder what to make of it all.  What does Easter and Resurrection mean to you? How would you tell the story and to whom?  What have we learned from walking in the darkness that will help us walk in the emerging light of an Easter dawn?

After worship, we will hold our annual Easter Egg hunt for children and brunch for everyone. Please bring finger food to share. Come Sunday morning at 10:00 AM for reflection on and celebration of the new life that is offered in Jesus, the Christ. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us in the joy of this Easter Sunday.

love quiltTogether, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick

Palm Sunday to Easter

This Sunday will be filled with all the drama of the Passion of the Christ as we look forward to Holy Week. We will begin with the traditional procession of palms and end at the foot of the cross. It is a lot to cover in one service but it is not good for us to skip directly from Palm Sunday to Easter without remembering the pain and struggle of the week between. The service will be for the whole family as we remember together.

In Adult Spiritual formation we will continue our exploration of “Who Jesus Was,” following the video series Saving Jesus Redux. This material has generated lively and meaningful discussion. We’d love to have you be part of it if you aren’t already.

The other events of Holy Week include a simple soup supper on Maundy Thursday followed by communion around the tables and extinguishing the last of the Tenebrae candles. Our tradition on Good Friday is to open the sanctuary from Noon to 3:00 PM with recorded music and written resources for contemplation. It may also be a good day to walk our labyrinth. We will gather at 10:00 AM on Saturday to set up for Easter service and brunch. Your assistance would be much appreciated. Then, of course, Easter Sunday will be a celebration of the Resurrection with extra music and the creation of the flower cross.

Join us Sunday at 10:00 AM for worship, study and the sharing of community. Bring someone along share in the experiences of the day.

Together, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick

Holy Week

meditation_table.fwJust a note to say thank you for allowing me to be with my family last week at the time of my brother-in-law’s death.  It was very meaningful for our family to be together.  I presided over a committal service and a memorial service while in Boise.  Our entire family is grateful for your concern, prayers, cards, emails and calls.  You are a caring and generous congregation.

Now once more we have come to Holy Week.  In cooperation with Covenant Presbyterian Church, we are offering a number of opportunities to worship and commemorate this blessed time that leads toward Easter.  Tomorrow night we will host the Maundy Thursday service with a simple soup supper, Communion around the tables and a visit to some of the “stations of the cross.”  Friday night, Covenant will host a lovely an d moving service of Tenebrae, which includes a reading of the Passion account from Luke’s gospel interspersed with music, prayer and an extinguishing of the light, as we recall the Crucifixion and its aftermath.  Saturday, Covenant will host an Easter Celebration for Children of the community to which we are invited.  We can also use a number of helpers on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM to set up for the brunch and get the church ready for Easter.

And then Easter Day itself!  As we find again our alleluias, we will gather for Sunrise worship in the bowl in Mitchell Park (where we held joint worship last summer.) Dress warmly to greet the Easter dawn.  This will be followed by a pancake breakfast at Covenant.  Then at 10:00 AM we will gather at First Baptist to celebrate Easter in music, prayer and proclamation, followed by an Easter Egg Hunt and our annual Easter Brunch, for which we are all encouraged to bring finger food to share.

This is a beautiful, intense, and ultimately joyful time in the life of the Church and in the life of our congregation.  I hope to see you – as well as your families, friends, colleagues, neighbors and anyone else you might ask to come along – at any and all of these events.

May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.

Pastor Rick