From Our Pastor

Holy Week

Posted 28 March, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

I am sending this weekly pastor's letter a day early because I wish to remind you of the services of worship to be held at the church during this Holy Week.

On Thursday at 7pm, we hold a Maundy Thursday service. We find ourselves in the Upper Room with Jesus and his disciples, seated at table. We share in the New Covenant Jesus makes by way of his body, his blood, all of this in remembrance of him. The Chancel Choir will sing two anthems, "Go to Dark Gethsemane" and "Our Lord and Savior in the Night." In anticipation of grief of Good Friday, the sanctuary is stripped as this service of worship is concluded. Nursery care is provided for this service.

On Good Friday, we meet at the church at noon for the Crosswalk. The sanctuary will be open for reflection at 11:30am, as music appropriate to the day is played. We then carry a cross from First UMC to Wesley Memorial UMC, stopping at various Stations of the Cross along the way. At each station, scripture is read, a brief meditation is shared, and a hymn is sung. It is a powerful experience to join with others in this community as we remember Christ's death at noon on Good Friday. Bus transportation is available for those who prefer not to walk.

At 7pm on Good Friday, in the sanctuary, we share in a Tenebrae service (extinguishing candles.) This service will include dramatic reading of the Passion of Jesus in John's gospel. Lil Geib, Greg Crom, Kathy Dietrich, and I will read from John, and share other scripture as well. Corky Corcoran will sing, "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" Nursery is also provided for this service.

At 7am on the front lawn of the church, we will gather for the Easter sunrise service. A fire pit will be there to recall how Christ, raised from the dead, brings light to a world of darkness. Matthew's account of the resurrection will be the scripture; Corky will sing "The Holy City." I look forward to the good news of this day and to joining with you in a breakfast to be served in the fellowship hall following this service.

At 11am, we proclaim the good news of the resurrection as we worship in the sanctuary. Mark 16:1-8 will be the account of resurrection guiding us in this service. The Chancel Choir will sing "O God Beyond all Praising." This being the first Sunday of the month, we will celebrate the Lord's Supper. As we joyfully anticipate a great number of persons to share in this resurrection news, we will have additional help for the serving of the bread and the cup.

Our journey to the cross is almost complete: we have shared scripture, prayer, confession, worship; all leading us to the cross. I pray we are faithful in these services of worship, finally finding ourselves at that place where sing with all the saints in glory, "Christ the Lord is risen today!"