Preparing for Sunday, May 14 – The Fifth Sunday of Easter
with Healing Prayer
The Season of Easter: 50 days!
Why is Eastertime fifty days? The ancient cultures that gave us the Bible had great respect for numbers. They believed that numbers contained hints about God and the meaning of life. The number seven was thought to contain fullness: There are seven days in the week, according to God’s original way of ordering time, creating all that there is and resting. So if you multiply 7 times 7, you have “fullness times fullness.” But wait! 7 times 7 is 49! With God, there is always more—more than we can ever imagine. So our holy season of Easter is even more than “fullness times fullness.” It’s “fullness times fullness” and then some: 7 times 7 plus 1. That’s what love is like: more than we can ever imagine.
The fifty days are days for looking for the risen Lord among us, for hearing in each other’s stories of rising from the big and small deaths, days when we experience something of Christ’s triumphs. That’s why we look to the newly baptized, robed in bright new clothes and oily with gladness: At Easter, they died and rose with Christ! Now they take their places with us. Together, like the apostles who were so full of the Spirit that people thought they were drunk, we rush about with good and giddy news: Death is not the last word! Life and love are forever! And slowly, painstakingly, we work together, together with Christ, to change this world into the world to come. Shout, sing, whisper, live Alleluia!
1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
[Jesus said to the disciples:] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
The words of gospel for this Sunday are most often heard during a funeral service. It is a popular choice of scripture for that occasion because the words provide wonderful assurance that the one who has died in Christ has now taken up residence in their heavenly home. The gospel begins by Jesus saying that he will prepare a place for each one of us. But as the text continues, we can see that our place is not an isolated room of our own in a giant heavenly mansion. Jesus’ words are less about a place than a relationship: our relationship with Jesus and God. They tell us that in Jesus we know all we need to know about God, and just as we can have a relationship with another human person, we can also have a relationship with God that will one day be as real and obvious as are our relationships with one another. The hope of one day being with Christ fully and forever is as real as the works we are called to do in Christ’s name today.
On the second Sunday of each month we offer Healing Prayer, an ancient and powerful ritual of the church. It is a deeply personal encounter with our need for healing in body, mind, and spirit, and our turning to God for all healing, grace, and mercy. Those who desire healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil are invited to come to the Chapel of the Saints during the communion distribution.
Children and Youth Faith Formation-Godly Play: Sundays at 9:45
Sunday, May 14 (Mother’s Day) we offer Godly Play for all children through the 6th grade meeting at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints. This week we will be experiencing The Synagogue and the Upper Room. For more information, contact Jackie Chuter at email@example.com.
The last gathering of faith formation will be Sunday, May 21 at 9:45 am. In the worship services, we will bless graduates and send them with our love and give God thanks for our faith formation leaders.
Adult Faith Formation: Sundays at 9:45 am
Formation, Reformation, and Transformation
The Adult Forum at 9:45 am this Easter season focuses on the Lutheran way of being Christian. We explore some of the basic historical trends of 16th C Europe and the theological confessions that shaped–and continue to shape–Lutheran Christian people. We consider also how today’s struggles might be informed by the principles of reformation that still move in and through the Spirit. How does our global economy reflect our relationship with Christ? How does our congregation practice discernment through Scripture? Come gather in the parlor and explore these questions and others, together with fellow travelers along the faith journey of formation, reformation, and transformation. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Companion Cafe: Wednesday, May 10 at 6:00 pm
This Wednesday will be our last Companion Café of the season.
Companion Café offers a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). We serve beginning at 6:00 pm. Invite someone. Meet new friends.
The menu for May 10 is:
Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Green Beans with Garlic
Roasted Red Potatoes
This special menu includes a complementary glass of wine.
Blessing of Graduates and Faith Formation Leaders: Sunday, May 21
On Sunday, May 21 we will ask God’s blessing on graduating students and their families as they transition to a new stage in life and service. We will also give thanks for our children, youth, and adult faith formation leaders who have served among us.
“The Lord bless you and keep you.”
|Vicar’s Internship Project: Sunday, May 21, with Lunch
Join Vicar Travis for an informational session on his internship project on Sunday, May 21 from 12:30—1:00 pm, with a light lunch provided. This summer, Vicar Travis leads a project focused on making and deepening connections in Christian community. Come and participate. For more information, contact Travis Fitzgold at email@example.com.
Ginna and Merle Franke: 70th Wedding Anniversary Celebration: May 21
On Sunday, May 21 from 3:30 until 5:30 pm all are invited to join Franke kids Jim, Becky, Steve, Gwen, and Kris for a reception in the fellowship hall of FELC to celebrate Ginna and Merle Franke on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary! No gifts, please. Acknowledgements may be sent to: Ginna and Merle Franke, 4102 Avenue D, Austin, 78751.
Documentary Viewing: May 21
On Sunday, May 21, Triumphant Love Lutheran Church will be hosting a potluck lunch at 12:30 pm followed by a 1:00 pm showing and discussion of the documentary ‘Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America’. This documentary explores political events, social conditions and U.S. government actions that led millions of Latinos to leave their homelands and move to America. For more information, contact (512) 346-5683; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Schedule Begins: Sunday, May 28 at 9:45 am
On Sunday, May 28 we begin our Summer Sunday Schedule with one Word & Eucharist liturgy at 9:45 am. Faith formation classes do not meet regularly on Sunday mornings in the summer. Some summer Sunday highlights include: Worship in the Park on Pentecost Sunday June 5, Celebration of World Refugees and Blessing of Summer Trip Travelers on June 18, FELC 81st Anniversary Sunday on July 16 (with potluck lunch and ice cream making following), and a Back-to-School Blessing on Sunday, August 20. We continue with one liturgy at 9:45 am through Sunday, September 3.
Worship in the Park: Sunday, June 4
All are invited for a great Sunday on June 4 at 9:45 am as we gather across from the church in Hemphill park. We’ll celebrate the Feast of Pentecost with fire, water, languages, and an affirmation of our Spirit-empowered vocations in the world. Invite a friend or neighbor as we gather in the beauty of creation for worship and fellowship. Pets on leashes or in crates are welcome.
Ramadan Iftar Dinner: Wednesday, June 7
Join together as FELC welcomes friends from the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest for a meal and presentation. We gather at 8:00 pm in the fellowship hall. All are welcome.
Congregation Council Highlights
The congregation council of FELC gathered on Monday, April 24. Here are the highlights:
· Dave Shanks was received as a new member
· Learning Ministry Team is continuing to oversee the Godly Play ministry. They will be meeting May 11 to inventory the Godly Play materials and determine summer programming.
· An assessment of First English staff job descriptions and establishment of a staff review process is ongoing.
· Capital projects are continuing—hallway and restrooms are next.
· The First English website is undergoing formatting and design changes.
· Council will provide/ serve the meal at the Micah 6 Youth Drop-in Center on June 11.
· Child Development Center is interviewing for a new director.
· Council Retreat will be Saturday, May 13, 9:00 am -1:00 pm.
· Radmadan Iftar meal is June 7, 8:00 pm. First English community is welcome.
The next meeting of the council is Monday, May 15 at 7:00 pm in the parlor.