Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-31-13

Scripture: Romans 6:10
The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Thought for the Day: As we reflect upon Christ’s resurrection, it is easy to leap to our own mortality and the desire for there to be something beyond this life.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe God brings us into the divine presence at death!  But often the passages we point to as hope for our home beyond this world are in fact passages about new life in the here and now.  In light of the resurrection, we have a life to live.  It is the new life found in Christ, who has broken the cycle of sin through his act of love.  It is important for us to find peace in regard to what happens at the point of death, but let’s not delay our resurrection to new life.  Let us not wait until our life on this planet comes to an end.  Today is the resurrection day, and it is time for Christians everywhere to live resurrection without delay.

Prayer: Hallelujah!  Christ is risen!  Now God, let me go beyond celebrating what this means for me at the point of my death, and begin living a life of resurrection on this Easter day, 2013.  Amen.

Join us this morning…

Easter-FB

Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-30-13

Scripture: Job 10:18-22
Why did you bring me forth from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me, and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave.  Are not the days of my life few? Let me alone, that I may find a little comfort before I go, never to return, to the land of gloom and deep darkness, the land of gloom and chaos, where light is like darkness.

Thought for the Day: The words of a confused and heartbroken Job are difficult to hear.  They convey the inclination of a person who has fallen into the abyss where there is nothing to which one can cling.  Dark Saturday offers us the opportunity to engage the despair of this moment.  Death has come!  The Saving One of God has been killed.  Divine love lies still inside a tomb.  Where is your hope?  Where is your God?  Those lonely words, often spoken by the Psalmist, communicate the utter loneliness of this moment.  There is a tendency to move through this day quickly, but try to stay in the moment; reflect upon those feelings of despondency; feel the yearning within yourself for hope and deliverance.

Prayer: It is finished!  The cross is empty!  The tomb is closed!  I wait and listen, I openly question my fears and insecurities in this dark moment, yet I do so in your name, O Holy God.  Amen.

TONIGHT – SATURDAY
Easter Eve Concert & Service
Provided by our contemporary band

TOMORROW – SUNDAY
EASTER

Sunrise Service at 7am
Quiet Traditional Service at 8:15am
Contemporary Service at 9:30am
Full Traditional Service at 11:00am
Children’s Easter Celebration at both 9:30 & 11:00

Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-29-13

Scripture: Luke 23:42-47
Then [one of the criminals hanging on the cross] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”

Daily Devotional: In a college art appreciation class, I saw Rembrandt’s etching, “The Three Crosses” for the first time (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/rembp/ho_41.1.31.htm#).  I can’t lie and say the class had been all that interesting before that moment.  Yet that image not only grabbed my attention, but it haunted me.  I had seen so many paintings of the crucifixion that somehow didn’t portray much suffering or pain.  There tended to be a pleasant aura around the crucified Christ, and the colors gave a sense of calm…or even happiness.  In Rembrandt’s etching, the darkness and contrasting light were challenging and somewhat intimidating.  The first time I saw it, I found my breathing to be labored and heart rate increasing. I know it is only one person’s opinion, but I don’t know of too many other pieces of art that have captured the crucifixion so powerfully.  Other pieces of art might portray excellent techniques and methods, but I believe most of them fall short of embodying the events of Good Friday.  I am not one to dwell on the suffering or bloodiness of this day, yet it is impossible to truly embrace resurrection if no one has died.  We must remember that Easter isn’t just a celebration of a new and improved life.  It is life coming from death.  Period!  End of story!

Prayer: Help me, O Creator God, to find the courage to praise you as the centurion did…even in the ugliest and most difficult of times.  Lead me to find hope and possibility when everything else indicates despair.  Amen.

TONIGHT–FRIDAY
Experiencing the Stations of the Cross – 6:30pm
Good Friday Service – 7:30pm
Children’s Good Friday Experience – 7:30pm

SATURDAY
Easter Eve Service – 7pm

SUNDAY–EASTER
Collecting canned goods for NAM all morning
Sunrise Service – 7am
Quiet Traditional Service – 8:15am
Contemporary Service – 9:30am
Full Traditional Service – 11:00am

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-28-13

Scripture: Matthew 26:1-2
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Thought for the Day: It almost sounds as if Jesus offered these comments as a passing thought.  “Oh by the way, I’m going to be executed later this week.  Would someone pass the mustard?”  Within the scriptures, we often don’t find the reaction of the people or a discussion of the larger context.  We must always be cautious not to read into the passage an idea, conclusion or a personal feeling that is not there.  At the same time, it is okay to ask the question, “I wonder how the disciples reacted to those comments,” while always admitting that our ideas are conjecture…nothing more.  With that said, I picture the disciples flustered by these ideas.  The road they thought they were on didn’t end with an execution, but a coronation.  Maybe there was some anxiety among a few who, for the first time, began to question whether their commitment to this Jesus would lead to their own demise.  Others might have been squirming in their seats.  Even though there is no mention of the disciples’ response, I can only imagine the discussion was lively…and probably ended with Jesus telling a parable that both comforted and challenged.  He had a way of doing that.

Prayer: I shall listen to your spirit, O Gracious God, as it inspires my imagination with the questions of faith.  Amen.

 TONIGHT – THURSDAY
Maundy Thursday Service
7pm in the Forum

Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-27-13

Scripture: Malachi 2:10
Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?

Thought for the Day: On this day in 1886, Geronimo surrendered to bring an end to the major conflicts of the Apache Wars.  Geronimo was known for his spiritual awareness, and I am reminded of a quote I had hanging on my wall for quite some time.  It read, “I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us.  There is one God looking down on us all.  We are all the children of one God.”  For me, Jesus is the entry point for this truth, but I’ve got to believe there is something deep within the universe that hints toward this single creative force.  With that said, you’d think we would be a less violent species with a bit more respect for our sisters and brothers who were created by the same God.  Yet for some unexplainable reason, we get defensive when someone arrives at a very similar idea, but does so from a different starting point.  People feel threatened (a strange response in my opinion), and the only reaction of some is to dismantle and destroy the other…all in the name of this one God whose creative and loving power appears to be found in the very fabric of creation.  In this Holy Week, a time of deep reflection, how are we like those who were threatened by Jesus to the point of executing him?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me ever so gently to that place where I can respectfully listen to a fellow traveler who happened to arrive at a similar destination, but did so by a different path.  Amen.

Don’t forget…
Maundy Thursday Service at 7:00pm
Stations of the Cross beginning at 6:30pm (Friday)
Good Friday Service at 7:30pm
Easter Eve Service at 7:00pm (Saturday)

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-26-13

Scripture: Matthew 9:10-12
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”

Thought for the Day: I recently heard a sports commentator suggest that he was witnessing “the resurrection of Tiger Woods.”  The language of resurrection struck me, and part of me cringed at the use of that word.  Did I think Tiger was less deserving than others?  Did I view his poor choices as something that put him beyond the power of God to redeem?  I’ll need to prayerfully struggle with why I was initially bothered by that language, for in these dark and holy days, shouldn’t we all celebrate even a glimpse of new life.  And it is important to remember that Jesus came, not to heal those who are already healthy, but those who are sick…and I should include myself among that latter group.

Prayer: Prepare me, Lord, to experience the resurrection I need to experience, while also celebrating the resurrection moments in the lives of others.  Amen.

 THURSDAY EVENING
Maundy Thursday

Worship Experience at 7:00pm
Nursery & Child Care Provided

Ecclesiological Etchings: 03-25-13

Scripture: Matthew 6:9
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

Thought for the Day: A year ago or so, I was doing a little search at the iPhone App Store when I came across an App entitled, The Pocket Prayer Pro.  Though I didn’t look closely at what the App actually did, my attention was drawn to the name of the App.  Personally, I was intimidated by the use of the word, ‘Pro’.  I may have the title of someone who has completed graduate work in theological studies, but I’m far from a professional in any aspect of Christianity.  I did a quick search and was a bit disappointed when I did not find The Pocket Prayer Primer.  Maybe you are in a different place, but I find most of us like the simple approach of Jesus who did not present a three page reading list in his course syllabus on prayer.  All he did was give us an example of an intimate and honest conversation.  That’s my Pocket Prayer Primer.

Prayer: Thanks God for the simple invitation to converse with you.  Amen.

HOLY WEEK AT CCCC
THURSDAY
Maundy Thursday
Service at 7:00pm
(Children’s Program from 7-8pm)

FRIDAY
Good Friday

Stations of the Cross from 6:30-7:30pm
Worship Service at 7:30pm
(Children’s Program from7:30-8:30pm)

SATURDAY
Dark Saturday

Easter-Eve Service at 7:00pm