It is a joy and an honor to journey with you this Holy Week. There are so many opportunities to gather this week and we want to make sure you have everything you will need. Today is Maundy Thursday and our worship is at 5pm. For this worship you will need communion supplies (not the Bloom Bag Communion), a basin of water, and the towel from your bloom bag. On Good Friday our worship is at 12:30pm and you will need your pocket cross from your bloom bag. Holy Saturday is a day of reflection and anticipation. Then Easter Sunday is at 11am and be sure to have your Bloom Bag communion and your Bloom Bag chocolate dove on hand. There are so many ways to give thanks to our God for this beloved community, I hope that you will join us in these moments of reflection and celebration.
As is our tradition, this week’s newsletter offers you the passion of Christ Jesus. I have broken it up into three sections so that you can see how we will use this text in our worship life this week. At each pericope, I offer a reflection prompt. These should be questions that you are familiar with by now, but I invite you to reflect on how you have changed, grown, or bloomed with God during this season of Lent. Friends, these are the stories that inform the foundation of our faith. May these words live forever in our hearts and may they inform all the ways we see and build community as followers of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Maundy Thursday: John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Question: How have you followed Jesus during Lent?
1 It was before the Feast of Passover, and Jesus realized that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to Abba God. He had always loved his own in this world, but now he showed how perfect this love was.
2 The Devil had already convinced Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. So, during supper, 3 Jesus—knowing that God had put all things into his own hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God— 4 rose from the table, took off his clothes and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 He then poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and dry them with the towel that was around his waist.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Rabbi, you’re not going to wash my feet, are you?”
7 Jesus answered, “You don’t realize what I am doing right now, but later you’ll understand.”
8 Peter replied, “You’ll never wash my feet!” Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Then, Rabbi, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus said, “Any who have taken a bath are clean all over and only need to wash their feet—and you’re clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who was to betray him. That is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After washing their feet, Jesus put his clothes back on and returned to the table. He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13 You call me “Teacher,” and “Sovereign”—and rightly, for so I am. 14 If I, then—your Teacher and Sovereign—have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
16 “The truth of the matter is,
no subordinate is greater than the superior;
no messenger outranks the sender.
17 Once you know all these things,
you’ll be blessed if you put them into practice.
“Now is the Chosen One glorified
and God is glorified as well.
32 If God has been glorified,
God will in turn glorify the Chosen One
and will do so very soon.
33 My little children,
I won’t be with you much longer.
You’ll look for me,
but what I said to the Temple authorities,
I say to you:
where I am going,
you cannot come.
34 I give you a new commandment:
Love one another. another.”
And you’re to love one another
the way I have loved you.
35 This is how all will know that you’re my disciples:
that you truly love one another.”
Good Friday: John 19:16b-18 Question: How have you lead with Jesus during Lent?
So, they took Jesus, 17 carrying his own cross, to what is called the Place of the Skull—in Hebrew, “Golgotha.” 18 There they crucified him, along with two others, one on either side of Jesus.
Easter Sunday: John 20:1-18 Question: What new thing is God calling you to do?
1 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance, 2 so she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple—the one Jesus loved—and told them, “The Rabbi has been taken from the tomb! We don’t know where they have put Jesus!”
3 At that, Peter and the other disciple started out toward the tomb. 4 They were running side by side, but then the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He didn’t enter, but bent down to peer in and saw the linen wrappings lying on the ground. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and entered the tomb. He observed the linen wrappings on the ground, 7 and saw the piece of cloth that had covered Jesus’ head lying not with the wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the disciple who had arrived first at the tomb went in. He saw and believed. 9 As yet, they didn’t understand the scripture that Jesus was to rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
11 Meanwhile, Mary stood weeping beside the tomb. Even as she wept, she stooped to peer inside, 12 and there she saw two angels in dazzling robes. One was seated at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus’ body had lain.
13 They asked her, “Why are you weeping?” She answered them, “Because they have taken away my Rabbi, and I don’t know where they have put the body.”
14 No sooner had she said this than she turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” She supposed it was the gardener, so she said, “Please, if you’re the one who carried Jesus away, tell me where you’ve laid the body and I will take it away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned to him and said, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher”.
17 Jesus then said, “Don’t hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to Abba God. Rather, go to the sisters and brothers and tell them, ‘I’m ascending to my Abba and to your Abba, my God and your God!’”
18 Mary of Magdala went to the disciples. “I have seen the Teacher!” she announced. Then she reported what the savior had said to her.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian
Last week, our children finished our close reading of all the Events that led to Easter. We revisited the Palm Sunday Story and discussed the ways each story we had read plays out in Holy Week. This week, we arrive at Easter Morning to celebrate.
At 10 AM, our older students met to read John Luke 19:28-44,. We talked about how this started the week, how Jesus might be feeling and the ways each story after this fits into Holy Week.
At 10:30 AM, our younger children followed this same practice. We read “Jesus’ Last Days” in our Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible, and discussed the ways each time in the story led to Easter Morning. We sang, prayed, and said goodbye with a blessing.
This week, our students will read the Easter Story along with our congregation. The older children will read John 20:1-18, and the younger ones will read “Jesus Comes Back” in the Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible.
As we prepare for this Sunday, I sit with you in Good Friday, and hold on to the hope of Sunday where we will wish one another a Happy Easter!
Joyfully yours, Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian
(Illustration from Page 202 of the Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible)
Well, it isn't food for your stomach (though when we are able to meet again in person, we will share a brown bag lunch right after church), but it is food — almost a banquet — for your soul.
SoulFood Fellowship is a gathering of The PARK members and friends who get together from near and far after worship on the third Sunday of each month. We engage in conversation that is bound to get you thinking and talking. We discuss and reflect on books, articles, documentary films, or plays —in light of our faith, Bible Study, and concern for social justice.
Right now we’re focusing on Juan Gonzalez’sHarvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Don't worry if you haven't read the book. It is a slow read that calls forth loads of discussion and reflection on our country, racism, colonialism, and what God requires of us. We would love to have you join us and share your perspective, experience, hopes, and concerns.
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.