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Easter and Holy Week Updates

Here we are, halfway through Holy Week, between the "Hosannas!" of Palm Sunday and the "Alleluias!" of Easter morning.

The next two days, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, offer some of the most moving worship experiences of the year.

On Thursday, we will gather around tables to share the Bread and Cup, remembering Jesus' Last Supper in the upper room, and the love he offered in that meal to all who would receive it. We will meet in the sanctuary for this experience at noon, 6:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.

And on Good Friday, we will gather in the sanctuary at 7:30 p.m. for what some in our congregation describe as being, for them, the most meaningful service of the year.

In a candlelit setting, we will hear scripture segments that carry us through the last hours of Jesus' life, and all he faced to be faithful to God and true to his love for all humanity. The Chancel Choir will share powerful anthems that illuminate the story of Jesus' Passion, Pastor Greta will give a message, and we will end in the service in quiet reflection.

We hope you will make plans to attend - and to bring along a friend! - these two services that will help us to truly receive the gift of Christ's Life and Love anew on Easter. We hope you will share in these two services that will help us to truly receive the gift of Christ's Life and Love anew on Easter.

Ready for a Journey

This morning, when I walked into the church entryway, I was met by a suitcase.   I wasn't surprised. I knew, by the name label carefully attached to the handle, that it belonged to an adult working with our Chapel Choir.  Later today, many more suitcases will be appearing in the church parlor, as members of the Choir drop off their luggage in preparation for beginning an important journey.

Power and Lent

This Sunday, our scripture will be John 10:17-18, and I will be using that passage to focus on how power relates to Lent, and how Jesus changes our human propensity to grab for power.

I will mention some of the "church despisers" over the years, like Marx, Freud, Michel Foucault, and Nietzsche as those who laid bare much of our contemporary understanding of Atheism. Then I will share what has come to be my view of the Cross.

It's supposed to be in the 50's this Sunday! -- but like all things Illinois, we will have to wait and see.

The Gift of Choice

Last week I traveled to Massachusetts to attend my uncle's funeral service. He was a giving, thoughtful, faithful person in his long life, and I was grateful both my son and I were able to make the trip.

As expected, as we were buckling in for the flight to begin, the announcer noted that we have many airlines to choose from, and thanked us for choosing theirs.

A Parable and Lent

This week I will be discussing the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24). This was one of my most difficult sermons, but I thought about this passage recently.  I will relate how the story of the man who had to widen the circle of those invited to his banquet might pertain to Jesus' final days.

Now is the time!

On Valentine's Day morning this past week, I played a phone message from Kim Coffing, Director of Community and Faith Relations of ChildServ. ChildServ is that Northern Illinois United Methodist agency we help support with our fifth Sunday special offerings.

It was a message of thanks - to you.

Transfiguration

What a week it's been! - cars with mannequin drivers being launched into deep space; yet another budget impasse debate in Congress; people standing up and speaking up to protect the rights and well-being of others; athletes gathering in South Korea from around the globe - and now, on this Friday morning, thick layers of snow covering our part of the world, changing how everything looks, and making us slow down and notice what is right before our eyes.

Souper Bowl of Caring

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, and a lot of people are pretty excited about it.

The National Chicken Council is excited. They project that 1.33 billion chicken wings will be eaten before and during the Big Game.

Pizza restaurants are excited. Super Bowl Sunday is their third biggest day of the year, following only Halloween and New Year's Eve, and over 4,000,000 pizzas are expected to be picked up or delivered from the top three chains alone.

About Last Sunday...

Those of you who were in worship last Sunday know the service had some eventful aspects.

Gifts in Haiti

It was great to get word this week that Maggie Roth had arrived back safely, and inspired, from her mission trip to Haiti, with Watts of Love.  Those of you who were in worship on December 31 were able to "commission" and bless Maggie as she prepared to go on this journey January 2-9.

 We're eager to hear more details about her time in Haiti, but here is her first "report":

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