Easter Sunday, March 27

Read Matthew 28:1-10

Nature from her sleep is waking,
From her icy bondage breaking,
Vernal life and beauty taking,
Lo, the winter is past.

Birds their carols sweet are singing
Trees and flow’rs their fragrance bringing,
Lo, the winter is past,
Lo, the winter is past.

In our hearts new joy is dawning,
On this happy Easter morning,
Every life with hope adorning,
Lo! the winter is past!

Gone are Lenten gloom and sadness,
Bright our path with Easter gladness,
Lo! the winter is past!
Lo! the winter is past!

Christ with pow’rs of Death hath striven,
To the world new life hath given,
Op’ning wide the gates of Heaven,
Lo! the winter is past.

Sing we to our Lord most glorious,
Rising over Death victorious,
Lo! the winter is past!
Lo! the winter is past!

After a long cold winter, we welcome new birth! Hallelujah!
We praise you, risen Christ! Amen.

Arthur F.M. Custance, 1902

Posted in Holy Week

Saturday, March 26

Read Matthew 27:57-66

What preparations are you making today? Do you have eggs to dye, baking to do, a lawn to mow, a house to clean? Pastor Max and I probably have some finishing touches to make on our sermons, Tim is probably rehearsing some music. I know there are lilies to place in the sanctuary, and clean up to do after the Community Resurrection Celebration today.

Whatever our plans for tomorrow, we have preparations to do today.

In our busyness, let’s not forget the preparation that took place so many years ago.

Joseph of Arimathea prepared a tomb, wrapped Jesus’ body in cloth, and tucked him away behind a large stone.

It’s not unlike the way Mary, just 33 years earlier, wrapped Jesus’ body in cloth and tucked him away in a manger.

Such a difference, though. In the manger, Jesus had his entire earthly life ahead of him. In the tomb, Jesus had our eternal lives ahead of him!

As we prepare for tomorrow, let’s remember the most important thing: Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again!

Savior, Remind me what matters most. Amen.

Pastor Anna Gillette

Posted in Holy Week

Good Friday, March 25

Read Matthew 26:47 – 27:56

In my sixty plus years there have been times that I have been accused of not hearing even though I was listening.

Sorry to say they were usually right.

I wish I knew why, maybe it is because I am a man, a father I am not sure.

When I hear the ones I love tell me of impending problems my mind shifts to the fix it mode; when this happens I do not hear the rest of the of the story.

I think Peter was guilty of this shortcoming.

Sometime in the middle of Christ telling his disciples that he would be betrayed, Peter must have been shifted to fix it mode … “This will not happen. Not on my watch!”

Peter did not hear the rest of the story, when Peter pulled his sword to protect his friend.

He could have caused a massacre which in turn could have caused a rebellion.

Judah was right at this time for such a rebellion.

Christ stopped him. This time Peter had heard.

How often have you listened but not heard.

How often have you tried to fix it for God. If we learn one thing it is to hear the “Plan” the “Whole Plan”

We do not need to fix God’s Plan

We simply need to follow.

Lord help me too listen to you.
Help me to hear you.

Help me to trust your “Plan.” Amen.

Dan Todd

Posted in Holy Week

Maundy Thursday, March 24

Read Matthew 26:26-30

When we moved from Texas to New Jersey, it was hard.  We were surrounded by so many people and yet terribly lonely.  It was difficult to navigate new paths, new relationships, and what’s the deal with all of those jug-handles?  There was a place where we found peace and connection in our new chaos — the dinner table.  When we gathered to eat we not only shared bread and meat, but we shared our lives with one another.

The disciples couldn’t have fully understood everything that Jesus was saying or what it would mean for their lives.  We too come to the table of grace unable to comprehend all that Jesus has done for us, but when we gather we have the opportunity to share in the true life of Christ.  We are connected with one another and with God through this mighty act of salvation.  In God we find peace, in Christ we find forgiveness, in the cross we find everlasting life.  Thanks be to God!

God, thank you.  By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet.  Through your Son Jesus Christ, with your Holy Spirit in your Holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever.  Amen

Trey Gillette

Posted in Holy Week

Wednesday, March 23

Read Matthew 26:17-25

Surely you don’t mean me, Lord!

I am not the betrayer.

I have not wronged you, have I?

You couldn’t mean me!

Yet the psalmist writes, “Against you, and you alone have I sinned.” (Psalm 51:4)

So, when I judge my neighbor, I sin against you.

When I overlook somebody’s pain, I sin against you.

When I spend what I have on my wants rather than sharing with those in need, I sing against you.

When I gossip, I sin against you.

When I don’t say a word to stop hateful jokes or talk, I sin against you.

When I delight in somebody else’s failure or pain, I sing against you.

When I let jealousy overrun my thoughts and choices, I sin against you.

When I want my way, and my way only, I sin against you.

When I seek to exalt myself rather than exalt you, I sin against you.

Yes, Lord. I have betrayed you. I’m sorry.

Forgive me, Lord. Amen.

Pastor Anna Gillette

Posted in Holy Week

Tuesday, March 22

Read Matthew 26:14-16

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Ah holy Jesus, I crucified thee, God interceded for my salvation – not my deserving. And so, Lord, I adore you and will praise you forever.  Amen!

‘Ah Holy Jesus’ with John Ferguson accompanying,
Excerpt from evening worship at the Calvin Symposium on Worship 2007.

Johann Heermann, 1585-1647
United Methodist Hymnal #289
© 1980 The United Methodist Publishing House

Posted in Holy Week

Monday, March 21

Read Matthew 26:1-13

I have never poured perfume on a person’s head, but I have gently washed my sons’ heads with baby shampoo, dressed their wounds, and even rubbed lotion on their dry winter skin. The things I applied to my boys were not expensive, but I did apply them with great care. Especially for their first baths when they were infants, I remember just how precious those babies were to me. As I washed them, I thanked God for them. As I gently dried them with the softest of towels, I remember cherishing the opportunity to care for them.

Jesus tells his disciples that this woman was doing much the same. She was cleansing him with something often reserved for the tender and special work of preparing a body for burial. You see, at this time in history, great care was given to cleanse the skin of one who died, to pamper the body one last time. She was, Jesus said, giving him great care, while they were preoccupied with the wrong things.

Years later, my boys are grown, and I realize the sweet days of their infant baths were short lived. Jesus was trying to tell his disciples their time with him was also short lived.

Lord, help me to take time to be with you, and to savor every minute. Amen.

Pastor Anna Gillette

Posted in Holy Week

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