Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blogging toward Sunday

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Our Lenten journey comes to an end as we travel through the last week of Jesus' earthly life. Maundy Thursday we will sit around tables to enjoy fellowship and good food. Then we will sing hymns, read Scripture, and partake of Communion. 

Good Friday we will gather at the church once more to ponder the last hours of Jesus' life. It will be a somber and holy occasion. Yet, how can we truly celebration our Lord's resurrection if we do not first sit and gaze at our Jesus, hanging from a cross?

As Christians on this side of Easter, we know there is hope for Sunday is coming! Praise God! With hope flooding our hearts we will worship together Easter morning. In preparation, spend some time this week prayerfully reading John 20:1-18. I encourage you to read it through several times, reflecting on the following:
  1. At what time of day does Mary come to the tomb?
  2. How is this significant?
  3. Who else is mentioned in this narrative?
  4. Are you surprised that Jesus first appeared to a woman? 
  5. What does Jesus tell Mary to do?
  6. In your spiritual life, how do you show the world that you "have seen the Lord"?
Image via Wikimedia Commons
As your pastor, it is my hope that you will participate in our Holy Week services. It is my prayer that each service will bless you, encourage you, and through the Holy Spirit, empower you to go forth as bold disciples of our Risen Savior. 

May you never forget that you have been blessed to be a blessing. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blogging toward Sunday

Bowed and plucked lutes from the Cantigas de Santa Maria manuscript

This Sunday, April 13, 2014, the CHPC Choir will present our annual Easter Cantata. In preparation, reflect on the importance of music to your own life and faith. Consider the words of the psalmist found in Psalm 98.  

River Image via Creative Commons

Sing to the Lord a new song,
                for he has done marvelous things.
With his right hand and his holy arm
                has he won for himself the victory.

The LORD has made known his victory;
                his righteousness has he openly shown in
                                                the sight of the nations.

He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to
                                                the house of Israel,
                and all the ends of the earth have seen the
                                                victory of our God.

Shout with joy to the LORD, all you lands;
                lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.

Sing to the LORD with the harp,
                with the harp and the voice of song.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn
                shout with joy before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,
                the lands and those who dwell therein.

Let the rivers clap their hands,
                and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD,
                when he comes to judge the earth.

In righteousness shall he judge the world
                and the peoples with equity.

How do these words speak to you about the intertwining of worship and music? Might the following prayer written by Walter C. Sutton be your prayer for today?

Today, I delight in your works, great Maker of Music. Music is one of your greatest gifts. Thank you, God, for melody, harmony, conterpoint, and syncopation. Music makes me laugh, or cry. It gets me up to dance, or compels me to sit quietly before its majestic passage. Music touches me in ways that words cannot. Thank you, God, for music. Amen.
Blessings on your week. As always, I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Blogging toward Sunday

"Raising of Lazarus"; Dimitar Vishanov Molerov; Wikimedia Commons

In preparation for worship this Sunday, April 6, 2014, read John 11:1-45 and consider the following:
  1. Herein, what does Jesus do that puts him in danger?
  2. What is the most important message of this story to you?
  3. Taken as an historic event, the story has great power. How might it also have power if considered metaphorically?
Continuing your reflection on this text, I invite you to meditate on the following poem, "Lazarus," written by Joy Cowley. May it bless you on your journey toward Sunday.

I don’t intend it to happen.
It just sneaks up on me
and before I know it
there’s been a kind of death,
part of me wrapped in a shroud
and buried in a tomb
while the rest of me stands by
wondering why the light has gone out.
Then you, my Friend, all knowing,
seek me out and knock
at the edge of my heart,
calling me to come forth.
I argue I can’t.
Death is death and I’m too far gone
for story book miracles.
But you keep on calling,
“Come forth! Come forth!”
and the darkness is pierced
by a shaft of light
as the stone begins to move.

My Friend,
I don’t know how you do it
but the tomb has become
as bright as day, as bright as love,
and life has returned.

Look at me!
I’m running out,
dropping bandages all over the place.