April 2, 2019

Greetings, everyone -

THIS THURSDAY AT CENTRAL

Our Lenten midweek evenings continue with soup supper (6pm), bell choir rehearsal (6:15pm), worship (7pm), and chancel choir rehearsal (7:35pm). We don’t have folks signed up for soup this week so you can come and “take your chances” or you can sign up below to bring something.

In case you were wondering, both the bell choir and chancel choir would welcome you to join them! Even if you have never rang or sang before, you are invited to come check it out. This is a perfect opportunity to do it!

You can sign up to bring soup or bread by clicking here

THIS SUNDAY AT CENTRAL

Council Lock Up: Stan Drumm 

Education Hour: We begin a six-week series on the “Shroud of Turin.” The shroud is purported to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus which was imprinted with his image by the glory of the resurrection. The authenticity of the shroud has been debated for decades. Leading the series for us is Dean Schultz. Dean is a member of Communitas and an avid scholar of the shroud. His research has led him to conclude that the shroud is authentic and he is going to share his research with us.

Coffee Hour: Rebecca Circle

In Worship: The Lord our God makes all things new. In the first reading God promises it. In the gospel Mary anticipates it, anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume in preparation for the day of his burial. In the second reading we recall the transformation of Saul, the persecutor, into Paul, the apostle. In baptism, God’s new person (you!) rises daily from the deadly mire of trespasses and sins. 

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 43:16-21

The Lord gives water in the wilderness to the chosen people

Psalm 126

Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy. (Ps. 126:5)

Philippians 3:4b-14

To know Christ and his resurrection, to share in his sufferings

John 12:1-8

Mary anoints Jesus for his burial

Facing Death

Mary of Bethany recognizes Jesus’ mission: he has come to die. Perceiving the new thing God is doing, she embraces his death and pours out her devotion to Jesus in an extravagant act. The prophet beseeches the Israelites to forget the old pattern of salvation—the dry way through the Red Sea. Now God will make a new way, a wet way, in a dry, barren, and death-filled place. 

On this Sunday in Lent, salvation lies not behind us but before us, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Mary’s action in the face of death is bold. She anoints a corpse, and in so doing honors Jesus’ vulnerability and his life. She models love for the other disciples and for us. 

By honestly facing the reality of death, we are more fully able to live honoring our own vulnerability and the humanity of others. We live with gratitude. We are more able to love one another and God extravagantly. However, in our culture, mortality is often avoided. The stench of death is removed through chemicals, and deceased bodies are cosmetically enhanced to appear as life-like as possible. 

Each day, we the baptized boldly face death, trusting that God has made a new way, a wet way, to travel from death to life. God in Christ has honored human vulnerability by becoming flesh and by laying down his own life. He is the new way through a dry, barren, and death-filled place. Because Christ Jesus has made them his own, the baptized walk wet through the desert places of this life, pouring out the whole of their lives, down to the very last hair, in extravagant love for God and for the people God has formed.

LIVING A GOD-PLEASING LIFESTYLE

God does not command us to live in poverty. We can cite many biblical characters who were wealthy and yet pleased their Lord. God, after all, is the creator of all good things. We are foolish, however, to hoard our possessions or put our trust in wealth. Paul urges us to “put [our] hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17), and he further reminds us that God makes us “rich in every way so that [we] can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:11) with the result that glory will be given to God. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, grant me the faith I need to acknowledge you as the creator and source of all things. I thank you for all my blessings, and I ask you to forgive me when I fail to thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do for me. I am truly thankful for my material blessings, but I especially want to thank you the spiritual blessings that are mind throughout eternity. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Blessings on your stewardship journey!

See you in worship!

Peace,

Pastor Dave