Journey to the Cross
"Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" As Jesus entered into Jerusalem, the crowds cheered him on and waved their palm branches. So we did the same this past Sunday in celebration of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem so many years ago. Palm Sunday is an exciting day and one of celebration, only just slightly less jubilant than the celebration we will have this Sunday with the Easter chorus "Christ the Lord is risen! Alleluia!"
Yet this Holy Week in between is not one long, continuous party. The days from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday grow increasingly dark as we remember the conflicts, betrayal, and abandonment that fill Jesus' last week and eventually led to his death and burial. By week's end, things are as dark as can be. The Savior is dead, and all appears hopelessly lost. Although our worship from one Sunday to the next looks like joyful celebration, the journey to get there is the journey to the cross. That is what makes the celebration of Easter so powerful - that we had to go through darkness to see the great light. That is why we have special services on Thursday and Friday. Those services remind us that the celebration of Easter is celebration of light over darkness, life over death, love over fear and hate, and they are as essential to Easter as lilies and alleluias! It is the darkness of these days and the hopelessness they instill that makes us want to get up early on Sunday to see the sun rise and celebrate the rising of God's Son. I hope you will join us for our special Holy Week services this week so that we can celebrate the joy of Easter fully, remembering the journey to the cross to get there!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Wilderness: Journey's End
Last Sunday's Sermon Snippet: Journey's End (1 Kings 19:9-18)
Elijah was hiding in a cave at Horeb - the holy mountain where God had made covenant with the people of Israel. "What are you doing here, Elijah?" Elijah recounted the ways in which Israel had fallen away from God, how he was the only prophet left, and that his life was now threatened as well. God told him to go out to the mouth of the cave as God passed by. There was a great wind, an earthquake, and fire, but God was not in those things. In the still and quiet that followed, Elijah sensed God's presence and covered his face as God passed by. "What are you doing here, Elijah?" Elijah repeated his answer that he was now alone. While his long journey through the wilderness had convinced him he was alone and abandoned, Elijah was far from it. There were still prophets hidden by the faithful Obadiah, and then there were the faithful widow and her son - foreigners to Israel but faithful nonetheless. Elijah wanted a large sign that he was not alone, but God had given him still and quiet signs instead. God told Elijah to get back to work returning the way he came and anointing new kings to bring about God's purposes and a new prophet to succeed him in time. When we come from the wilderness to God's holy places feeling lost and alone, God transforms our way of thinking and our very lives as well so that we can go out to transform the world because we are not alone.
Easter will finally be here! Join us for beautiful flowers, powerful music, and a look at why "It Takes Many Easters!"
Living in Community
Thanks to Keith for organizing our mowing schedule and to everyone who has already filled up all the weeks! We are blessed by your service!
Thanks to Jodie for reading our gospel lesson this past Sunday!
Thanks to Curt for preparing our picnic shelter at the park for use this season!
Thanks to Dinah's and Pastor Jim's classes for picking up fallen branches in Bradburn Park!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, March 23
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port - Last Session of the Spring
Thursday, March 24
9:30 am - 12:00 noon - Office Hours
7 pm - Maundy Thursday Service
Friday, March 25
12 noon - Good Friday Service at Bradburn Park
Bring a chair and reflect on Jesus' story by the river.
In case of bad weather, service will be at the church.
Sunday, March 27
7 am - Sunrise Service at Bradburn Park
9:30 am - Worship Service with Communion
"It Takes Many Easter"
11:00 am - Sunday School
11:30 am - Easter Egg Hunt
Youth Sunday - April 3
VBS Training - May 22
Vacation Bible School - June 27-July 1
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!
8525 Water Street
Port Republic, VA 24471