Lent has begun! Ash Wednesday reminded us that from dust we have come and to dust we shall return, but through Jesus, the Christ, our sins become as dust. We become new creations in Christ; the past is finished and gone. Everything has become new! What hope lies in these words from 2nd Corinthians. What assurance we gain in our need for Jesus forgiveness.
The season of Lent like that of Advent, challenges our secular calendars. Stop. Be still. Enter in to the ways of Jesus. Follow more closely in his footsteps once again. We are to set our sights on the life of Jesus and put ourselves in tune with his priorities. Instead of being caught up in aaaallll our demands and plans, we are invited to take on a new spiritual discipline or to discover the gifts that come from giving something up sacrificially.
The Lenten season 2018 gives us the opportunity to discover the biblical role of mercy, as well as what it means to apply mercy in our daily lives. Because we don't really use this word in our average daily conversation, important questions have emerged.
Why is it important to 'know' mercy?
- What is the definition of mercy?
- What is the difference between grace and mercy?
Stories of God's mercy are found throughout scripture. We first hear of mercy in Genesis in the story of Joseph and his brothers. In the end, Joseph offers compassion and forgiveness to the family who left him for dead. At the end of the Bible, the little known book of Jude has 4 references which offer mercy almost as a blessing.
To 'know' mercy is to have received it and in turn, be able to share it. To know it means someone has "walked a mile in your shoes", shown you understanding and patience. Mercy includes action toward another - consider God's actions of mercy or provision which are "new every morning".
The word mercy describes the action of extending grace. Grace is a gift which precedes mercy and mercy becomes grace enacted. Mercy is the daily acting out of grace upon others. Mercy begins with God as an action of care, provision and compassion. Once we have received it, we are compelled to share it!“The Gospel of Mark is all about learning to see clearly,” writes John Blackwell in his book A Whole New World. “Mark’s Gospel is all about insight. His ultimate goal is to open our eyes so that we can see the world that is right before our eyes, recognizing the Christ who is right in front of us.”
Wednesday, February 14 - Ash Wednesday Service in Sanctuary - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 17 Saturday's@5
Sunday, February 18 "I am the Lord of the Dance” Cantata
Saturday, February 24 Saturday's@5
Sunday, February 25 "Whose Mercy"
Psalm 25: 6,7,11,16,17 ; Jonah 4
Saturday, March 03 Saturday's @5 "To Be Merciful"
Sunday, March 4 "Wisdom & Mercy leads to Power"
Proverbs 3:1-5; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Saturday March 10 Saturdays@5
Sunday, March 11 "Travel Mercies"
Numbers 21: 4-9; Ephesians 2:4-7; John 3:10-15
Saturday March 17 Saturday's@5
Sunday, March 18 "Marciful Partnership"
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 18:23-33
Saturday, March 24 Saturday's@5
Sunday, March 25 Palm Sunday - "A Life of Mercy"
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; John 11: 55-12:28
Palm Sunday brings us to the edge of Jesus’ journey to torture, arrest, trial, rejection and finally crucifixion. We, who follow, will forever stand at this juncture with roiling emotions. What began as joyous celebration ended at death's door. A day that began with shouts of "Hosanna" soon moved to cries of "crucify him".
HOLY WEEK BEGINS
Thursday, March 29 - 7:30 pm in Lehman Hall
Maundy Thursday Communion "This is my Body" Mark 14:12-50
The recognition of this time with Jesus and his disciples in the upper room is built upon Jesus’ commandment (mandatum in latin) to "love one another as I have loved you". Jesus demonstrates compassionate love in washing his disciples’ feet. He teaches them to serve others with the same loving humility. Their celebration of the Passover Meal has become our Lord's Supper.
Prayer Vigil begins at 8:30 pm in The Chapel (ends Good Friday at 7:30 pm) We invite people to sign up in the Commons for 30 minute time slots as a way of keeping vigil in prayer, with Christ, for Christ and because of Christ having entered our world.
Friday, March 30 - 12:00 noon in Sanctuary
Good Friday Service "That We May See and Believe" Mark 15:16-39
We may always wonder how Good Friday got its name given that this was the day Jesus died. It becomes 'good' as we understand why Jesus dies...to take upon himself our sin and to offer us the gift of abundant life.
Sunday, April 1 - Easter Sunday
6:30 am Sunrise Service at Veteran’s Park
9:00 am & 11:00 am services at Knox
"He is Risen!" Mark 16:1-8
Resurrection! The lasting gift of eternal Life! Let the church bells peel and the people rejoice!
He is risen, risen indeed!