Worship for Lent and Easter for 2018
Ash Wednesday, February 14
• 6:30 p.m. Worship with Holy Communion and the Imposition of Ashes
• NOTE: Worship on Ash Wednesday will last approximately one hour. 7th and 8th Grade Confirmation students are required to attend worship that night and they may fill out a worship note at this service.
Wednesdays during Lent • February 21 & 28, and March 7, 14, & 21
• Lenten Worship from 6:30-7:15 p.m.
• 7th and 8th Grade Confirmation students are required to attend worship each week and must complete a special Lenten Worship Note each Wednesday.
Holy Week Worship Services
Þ Liturgy of the Palms • 5 p.m. Saturday, March 24 and 9 a.m. Sunday, March 25
Þ NO Wednesday Worship or Confirmation Classes on March 28
Þ Maundy Thursday, March 29 • 6: 30 p.m. Worship with Holy Communion
Þ Good Friday, March 30 • 5:30 p.m. Worship
Þ NO WORSHIP on Saturday, March 31
Þ EASTER SUNDAY, April 1 • Worship with Holy Communion at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Pastor Bob's February Message
Note: The Season of Lent begins with worship at 6:30 p.m. on Ash Wednesday, February 14. The service will include Holy Communion at the altar railing and The Imposition of Ashes. Confirmation Students (7th and 8th Grade) are required to attend and may fill out a Worship Note at this service. Worship will last about an hour.
A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is. ~ Martin Luther
Does the Season of Lent scare you? Exhaust you? Confuse you? I don’t believe it should. Our spiritual practices during Lent should be solemn, but they are useless if they cause us to cower in fear or skepticism.
Justifiably, we can be uncomfortable about Lent due to the subject matter: Sinful humanity; the hardships Jesus encountered during his earthly ministry; Judas’ betrayal of his rabbi and friend; Pilate’s sham of a trial; and most discomforting of all: Jesus’ murder at the hands of those he loved and came to save.
So, I contend we enter the season of Lent with the boldness of Martin Luther. As Lutherans, we claim to be Theologians of the Cross. That means the Cross of Christ is central to how we talk about God and Jesus Christ. Why does it take boldness to be a Theologian of the Cross? Because it can seem countercultural, even illogical. As Luther said in the quote above, it beckons us to call a thing what it actually is, and there are many in the church and the world that simply don’t like that…and some days, I don’t like that either!
As Theologians of the Cross, we boldly acknowledge that what happened to Jesus during his journey to the cross was barbaric, hateful, and antithetical to his message of transforming hope, mercy, and love. Those in power – in the Roman government and the leadership of the church – thought Jesus was going to usurp their power, so they wanted him dead. Those without power – which included most of Jesus’ followers – could do nothing against the political and religious powers of their day, so they could not prevent his death. We must also admit that we continue to treat Jesus – and his teachings – in ways that are barbaric, hateful, and antithetical to his Good News.
Theologians of the Cross believe that Jesus’ power is revealed in the weakness of the cross. Sin and death had apparently won on Good Friday, but the opposite was true. The power, the Divine Power, of Jesus was hidden in the form of weakness, the cross. Easter morning disclosed that God had turned the cross – a human symbol of the most sadistic form of torture – into the Cross of Christ, the symbol of God’s victory over sin and death.
I believe that when you “name” something, when you call evil things evil and good things good, you have a better understanding of those things, and may disempower them. You take away their power to scare, exhaust, or confuse you. That which can scare, exhaust, or confuse us during Lent can be stripped away. We don’t change these things, ignore them, or sugarcoat them. We name them, own them as part of our response to Jesus’ presence among us, and then we disempower them. And in so doing, the Cross of Christ shines forth, not as an instrument of torture and death, but a symbol of Jesus’ gifts of the forgiveness of sin and eternal, abundant life.
During this Lenten season, we will explore, expose, and exult in the Cross of Christ, and we needn’t be afraid. Luther believed that the cross was the only source of knowledge concerning who God is and how God saves, and so should we.
The Cross of Christ is empty. The Tomb of Christ is empty. And so, our lives are full of God’s grace and mercy. Let us boldly move on to Easter and share the Good News of Jesus. One more thing…as Theologians of the Cross, let’s learn to embody our church’s mission statement: In Christ we preach, teach, and live God’s Word.
Wishing you a Blessed Lent and a Happy Easter,
Pastor Bob Friese, Interim
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