The events of Christ’s Passion, which take place during the last week of Jesus’ life, often don’t receive enough time in our worship and study. These stories are important to our faith journey and our identity as followers of Jesus. And yet we often move too quickly from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday with little time to take in the dramatic story of that last week. Throughout the six weeks of Lent we will “freeze-frame” moments in Holy Week so we might put ourselves in the picture, thereby “Entering the Passion of Jesus.” How might taking a closer look at the ancient story open us to deeper conviction for our role in its ongoing message? Inspired by Amy-Jill Levine’s book by the same name
Ash Wednesday, February 26th — Preparing the Canvas “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” — Psalm 51:10-12 So much of life happens around us, even to us, that we take little time to notice. The amount of stimulation and news and ideas and expectations coming at us can outweigh our ability to process all of it and so we stop looking too closely, we filter in order to survive. While this is necessary, it can also dull our senses for seeing the things that matter deeply. In this season of Lent, we will intentionally put a “frame” around the scenes of Jesus’ last week and also frame our own lives in a way that we can see what really matters. In this Ash Wednesday service, we will ready ourselves for this journey by preparing the canvas of our lives, reapplying a base coat on which to create new works of art.
Please see the following letter from the Church Council and Pastors. In it you will find information about activity cancellations and proactive worship options we've enacted, as we seek to be good stewards of your health and well-being.
Mid-Week Lenten Opportunities: NOTE CHANGES
Evening Prayer: Wednesdays, March 4th - April 1st
SOUP SUPPERS HAVE BEEN CANCELED
Evening Prayer Services at FLC have been cancelled, but online resources will be made available here.
Sundays at 8:15 a.m. (Chapel) & 10:00 a.m. (Sanctuary)
Week 1, March 1st — The Parade: Risking Reputation Matthew 21:1-11 Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week was full of risk. Rather than a nice impromptu celebration, it can be seen for the carefully planned and significantly symbolic event that would rub those in power the wrong way. In a moment already filled with tension, this “victory parade” had many implications, and as we know, many consequences. We will stop the action just at the beginning of the parade to take stock of all the players, including the role the city itself plays full of pilgrims for the Passover.
Week 2, March 8th — The Temple: Risking Righteous Anger Mark 11:15-19 Jesus’ response to a visit to the Temple in the midst of this busy, noisy, Passover “tourist season” is utter frustration turned to anger. With so much at stake, “business-as-usual” seems obscene. This can be true for us today. The banality of our everyday lives sometimes seems ludicrous in the face of such suffering around the world. But taking a moment inside the scene where Jesus is overturning tables in this “house of prayer for all nations” can offer us a way to see what we actually might do to reassess our own actions and make our own corner of the world (our “temples”) a more welcoming place for all people.
Week 3, March 15th — The Teaching: Risking Challenge Matthew 22:15-22 That last week, Jesus doesn’t “lay low.” He puts himself out there, susceptible to those who want to trap him, twist his words, get him to say something damning. He cannot turn from his vocation—he is not only a master teacher, but prophet and voice of the Divine. It is his ability to draw the people to his teachings that pose a threat, a challenge, to the authorities. We place ourselves in the crowd this week, to be moved and motivated by Jesus for our lives—to get a faithful perspective. What would we have seen, heard and felt? What do we do now?
Week 4, March 22nd — The First Dinner: Risking Rejection Mark 14:3-9 Besides the Last Supper, Holy Week contains another important story that happens at dinner. Earlier in the week, Jesus and his followers gather for a meal, and a woman shows up unexpectedly to anoint Jesus in an extravagant show of devotion. To say she caused quite a “stir” might be understating it a bit. We imagine ourselves in the room and we see the looks of judgment and even outrage on the faces around us. Are we ourselves moved by her generosity and outpouring of emotion? Or are we uncomfortable as Jesus refers to his own death? Does our complaining or anger really serve to hide our own fear? Jesus invites us to tell this story “in remembrance of her.” What uncomfortable stories are we called to tell in our time?
Week 5, March 29th — The Last Supper: Risking the Loss of Friends John 13:1-16 Jesus’ words at the Last Supper were shocking to those in attendance. His words can seem familiar, even comforting to us because we hear these words every time we have communion. But at the moment of their utterance, they were anything but “usual.” This week, we enter the scene of that last supper long enough to get a grasp of the shock that would have rippled through Jesus’ friends. Partaking of body and blood? Not kosher! A “Lord” washing feet like a servant? Unbelievable! Breaking bread with the enemy? What?! But Jesus knew his time was up. And it was time for the disciples to get the message, even if it came in a shocking way: love one another as I have loved you— by serving, forgiving, freeing, communing—becoming one with—God.
Week 6, April 5th (Palm Sunday) — The Garden: Risking Temptation Mark 14:32-52 Gethsemane is the moment when a chain of events begins that cannot be halted. Once Jesus is taken into custody, there is no going back. So we pause a moment with him in the garden just before his arrest, and we feel with him the temptations that arise when facing difficult circumstances—to run, hide, use whatever power we have to change things, fight it, perhaps even bargain with God. We walk among the sleepy disciples who just can’t grasp what is about to happen. And we open to let the story remind us that no matter what we face, or how we fail to meet the demand of the moment, second chances are possible.
Holy Week Worship
April 9th (Maundy Thursday) -- 7:00 p.m.
April 10th (Good Friday) -- “In Remembrance of Me” Moving to various places in the church, this “stational” service will journey through the whole of the six scenarios we have visited during the six weeks of Lent: The Parade, The Temple, The Teachings, The First Supper, The Last Supper, and The Garden. Then we will move to The Cross to reside there, taking in the sorrows of this moment, our own sorrow, and the sorrows of the world. Having entered into the Passion, how will we respond?