Easter is just a couple of Sundays away now, and that means that we are about to enter into Holy Week - the week in which we remember the events of the last week of Jesus' life before the Resurrection. As we remember, we also reflect on the depth of God's love for us - a love that would sacrifice so much for our sake. During Holy Week, we will have several opportunities to worship together as we make the journey to Easter together.
We begin this Sunday - Palm Sunday - by remembering the expectation and celebration as Jesus entered into Jerusalem. Children will have a chance to lead the celebration with a gift of palms - the branches that people waved in excitement along Jesus path.
On Thursday at 6:30 pm, we will join with our brothers and sisters at Grottoes UMC for a Living Last Supper. Come experience what the disciples experienced in sharing a last meal with Jesus. A light dinner will be provided. If you are interested in playing the role of one of the disciples, please let me know. On Friday at 7 pm, we will gather again with Grottoes UMC at our church for a service of Tenebrae - a reading of the story of Jesus' crucifixion as we reflect on the darkness of that day.
On Easter Sunday, we will have two opportunities to worship together. At 6:45 am in Bradburn Park, we will gather with other churches for a community Sunrise Service. Refreshments will be provided, so come out to worship and stay a while to visit with your neighbors! We will have our regularly scheduled service at 9:30 am exploring the power of Jesus' Resurrection for our lives today and finishing with communion.
We hope to see you in the next week for these worship services!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Forgiven: 1, 2, ..., 490 (Matthew 18:21-22)
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Three strikes and you're out. In conventional wisdom, we have a low threshold for tolerating wrongs by other people. If someone wrongs us a time or two, we are advised to write them off in pretty short order. So we keep count of rights and wrongs (mostly our rights and other people's wrongs) and hold grudges when we feel the two are out of balance. Should it be this way? How many times should we forgive someone who sins against us? Peter asks on our behalf. As many as seven times? In comparison to our conventional wisdom this seems a generous number that Peter offers. Yet, in reality, is it that many? Who that is a regular part of your life has wronged you seven or less times? We sin against each other often - it is a part of living alongside one another. If we only forgave seven times, we probably wouldn't have many people left as a part of our lives. So what does Jesus say? Not seven times, but seventy times seven (or seventy plus seven - either way, a much larger number). Jesus' answer points out that Peter is asking the wrong question to begin with. Could you actually keep count long enough to reach 491 (or 78, depending on whether we go with multiplication or addition) without losing track? When you reached that threshold, could you be certain that you had not miscounted and still needed to forgive? The truth is that once we pass the number of fingers (and maybe toes) that we have, we begin to lose track of the exact number. Would we actually try to keep an accurate count until 78 or 491? If not, why would we begin counting anyway? Why would we keep track of #1, #2, #7, #19, ...? That is the point Jesus' answer makes. The real question is: should we keep count of the wrongs of others in the first place? Jesus answers with a resounding "No!" Forgiveness means that we quit keeping score of rights and wrongs and just love people no matter how many times they may have wronged us. What sins are we keeping count of today? What grudges do we need to let go?
Stairs Repair Update
After a few weeks of demolition, restoration, and preparation, the new metal stairs have been installed. They are ready for use in entering the upstairs office and classroom area as is the now accessible fellowship hall entrance. While this finishes the work we contracted out, we still have a few final touches that we will be handling in-house in the coming weeks including landscaping, cleaning the brick, and reinstalling lighting. Thanks to all of our Trustees for leading this project, especially to Keith for giving regular oversight! Thank you, everyone who helped support this project through your generosity and your patience! We are excited to finally have an accessible entrance and safer stairs!
Living in Community
Welcome to our newest member Brad who officially joined our congregation on Sunday!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, March 21
Office Hours and Events cancelled due to weather
Thursday, March 22
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
7:00 pm - Keeping Children Safe: Drugs in Our Community
Sunday, March 25
9:30 am - Palm Sunday Worship: "Forgiven: For Real"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Monday, March 26
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, March 27
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Maundy Thursday - Worship with Grottoes UMC, March 29, 6:30 pm
Good Friday Worship at Port Church- March 30, 7 pm
Easter Sunrise Service, Bradburn Park - April 1, 6:45 am
VBS tentatively scheduled for June 25-29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!