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Countdown to Easter!

“The crowds that went ahead of [Jesus] and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”

(Matthew 21:9 NRSVue)

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the starting of Holy Week, where we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We know the crowds that celebrated his arrival were likely the same people who called for his crucifixion a few days later. They determined he was not the warrior messiah they expected, and their disappointment turned to revenge. Despite their turn toward anger, the Jews in Jerusalem first sensed Jesus’ true power as he entered the city, and they sang, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” only to miss the fact that he came to bring love, not war. They couldn’t conceive that what they had expected for so long did not reflect the heart of God. In my message for the day, we’ll explore the challenge we all face when confronted with the reality of Jesus’ mission and what he expects of us who follow him. Please note that the children will also have their Easter Egg Hunt following Family Worship on Palm Sunday.

We’ll continue to observe Holy Week with our Wednesday evening study of Luke’s gospel. Join us for dinner between 5 and 6 pm, then stay for the lesson at 6 pm. On Thursday at 6:00 pm, we’ll remember the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples in our Maundy Thursday service. This time of worship is a service of Holy Communion, and all are welcome to receive the sacrament regardless of church membership. On Good Friday, our Adult Choir presents “The Shadow of the Cross,” a contemporary Tenebrae Service (a Service of Darkness). We’ll have an orchestra to accompany the Choir, and it will be a moving and inspirational time of remembering Jesus’ sacrifice on behalf of our sins. Focusing on Jesus’ suffering on Good Friday prepares us for the extreme joy of the resurrection!

Finally, on Easter Sunday, we’ll have our regular worship schedule with Traditional Worship at 8:15 and 11:00 am and Family Worship at 9:00 am. We’ll have some guest musicians to accompany our Adult Choir and a brief message on the story of our redemption from sin as we reflect on John 20:1-18. Bring fresh flowers cut from your yard to place on the Resurrection Cross near the Garden, and then pause with your family or friends for a quick photo to remember the day. Don’t forget to stop by Koinonia Café between 8:15 and 11:00 am to visit with old friends and make new ones. The refreshments are always good (and free!), and the chatter will warm your hearts.

You may have noticed that we’re receiving several new members into the church. If you want to become a member, please call the church office, and we’ll schedule a time to discuss church membership. If you or any of your children haven’t been baptized, we can also discuss the United Methodist perspective on baptism. We love celebrating the grace of God through baptism and church membership.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, and don’t forget to invite a friend!

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