Friday, May 29, 2009

Sunday is coming...

A great Pentecost service at Colonial Heights. We're going to have a Father blessing, Spirit descending, Saints hoping, Jesus glorifying good old time. This Pentecost we will celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples to make the church a reality, and the way the Spirit still blesses and directs the church. In particular we will reconsecrate our sanctuary with the improvements of the past several months: new technology additions in sound, video, recording and lighting, new paint, new floors, new chancel space and Spirit filled folks. Insipired by the scriptures of John 4.23-34; Revelation 21.10-11, 22-25; and Psalms 100 and 122, we will be blessed with the Spirit's presence and fed by Word and Sacrament. A prayer for Sunday:

Holy Spirit of truth, you proceed from the Father and the Son and we glorify you. Fill our worship with your presence, pour out on us the fire of Pentecost in this place, and in our lives, so that we may proclaim the glory and honor of God and of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. All praise to you, our one Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Recently the Knoxville District secretary sent out a notice that she is in the process of compiling an on line directory for all the UMCs of the district. She requested a current picture of each local church to be sent for this purpose. I took this picture on a mostly cloudy May afternoon. I am not sure when the district directory will be done, but I wanted to share this picture now. Colonial Heights is, and will always be, one of my favorite places in the world. The end of June will see a change in pastoral leadership for the congregation and these past 9 years have been such an important time for me. I hate to leave! But it is a blessing to leave on good terms when we are all wanting more time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Worship on Easter Sunday Three

Now in the midst of the Easter season we continue to consider scripture where Jesus encounters the disciples and they try to come to terms with the Resurrection. Consider what the Resurrection means to us. It's not just the 'happy ending' to the story, but should have direct implications on how we understand ourselves and our lives today. Jesus tells the disciples, 'you are witnesses of these things.' What do we give witness to? Consider Luke 24.36-48. We will also read Acts 3.13-15, part of Peter's interpretation of a healing in Jesus' name. Here is the prayer for the day:

Almighty God of goodness and grace, you have set us apart to be witnesses to the new life of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Lead us in the ways of righteousness to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit: One God. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Prayer for Easter Sunday

Almighty God our Father, on the first day of the week you raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We praise you that in Christ, the shroud of sin and death has been cast off the world. Fill us by the Spirit to be witnesses throughout the world to the good news of new life and the forgiveness of sins. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns forever in the unity of the Holy Spirit: One God. Amen.

Easter Sunday Worship

Easter Sunday begins the holy season of Easter--not a day, but a season of 50 days, including seven Sundays and the Day of the Ascension, remembering when the Risen Lord gave the Great Comission to the disciples before ascending to God. Every Sunday in this season is an Easter and it is a time for true joy and celebration. Our Easter Sunday schedue includes a Sunrise Service in the Pavilion, led by the youth at 7.30 am; Easter breakfast at 8.30 am; Sunday School at 9.30 am and Easter Worship at 10.30 am. Our Scripture for Sunday includes Acts 10.34-43: Peter addresses Cornelius' household about Jesus. Cornelius is a Roman Centurion and a 'God-fearer,' a term used for a Gentile who is interested in the Jewish God. God directs the gospel to be shared with this man, and by extension, to all Gentiles. The Old Testament reading, which we will use as an Act of Praise is Isaiah 25.1, 8-9: praising God for his plan to 'remove the shroud cast over the nations;' finally, the gospel is John's Resurrection story where Jesus addresses Mary in John 20.1-18.

Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen, indeed!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Prayer for Palm-Passion Sunday and Holy Week

Almighty God of steadfast love and salvation, blessed are you and blessed is the One who comes in your name, Jesus Christ our Lord. Accept our thanksgiving for his passion and anoint us with the Holy Spirit so that we may rejoice and proclaim your goodness, Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Worship this week

Palm-Passion Sunday is one of the most interesting Sundays of the year. We remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem in the Palm part. Traditionally this is done with our use of palm branches and a processional hymn into the church. Weather permitting, we will do this on Sunday morning. All the gospels record this event, and we will use Mark 11.1-11, which includes a quote of Psalm 118, the often quoted: Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord...

The Passion part of the Sunday recognized the rest of the week, which ends with the Crucifixion of Jesus. It is appropriate to remember all of this together in one worship service lest we simply go from the glory of Palm Sunday alone to the greater glory of Easter Sunday. We need to recall and, in our own way to relive, the Passion of Jesus' Last Supper, betrayal, rejection, trial, humiliation and Crucifixion for it is in these events as well that our salvation comes. To focus on all of this our worship will also include the reading of Jesus' Anointing in Mark 14.1-11.

Of course we will have other opportunities for worship this week: Holy Thursday service remembering the institution of the Lord's Supper and a Good Friday service with a dramatized reading of the Passion Story plus Tenebrae. Both of these services are at 6.30 pm. In addition we welcome the Ballet Gloria to a short performance on Wednesday, also at 6.30.