Weekly Update: April 4, 2017

Preparing for Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

 

 

Here are some biblical verses and writings as a way to prepare and begin pondering the scripture texts for Palm Sunday.

Matthew 21:6-11

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Quote
“One who has surrendered to it knows that the way end on the Cross — even when it is leading through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” – Dag Hammarskjold
Holy Week

The season of Lent culminates with Holy Week—the ritual participation in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Through ancient liturgies and contemporary experience, we not only hear the story of Jesus, we become part of it now. The heart of the Christian faith is the paschal mystery—through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ God brings transformation, salvation, and renewal for us and the whole creation. Holy Week is the time of deep contemplation that our lives are caught up in this mystery. Palm Sunday is the entry into Holy Week, with the celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem when he is hailed as the new king. The Three Days (Triduum is the traditional Latin name) is the centerpiece of the entire Christian liturgical year, forming one worship event over three days. Maundy Thursday connects us to the events of Jesus’ last supper, and includes the foot washing ritual that leads us to participate in Jesus’ own humility and loving service to others. Good Friday is the solemn day of honoring Jesus’ death, seeing in the way of the cross—rejection, suffering, death—the power of God to redeem and transform us. The Easter Vigil is the greatest liturgy of the church year, with a beautiful emphasis on celebrating the triumph of the resurrection over the powers of death, and marking the chief time for baptisms in the church. The entire liturgy functions as the baptismal renewal ritual for the whole gathered community, finding new life again in the grace and promises of God in Christ through the Spirit.

Children and Youth: Palm Sunday, April 9

This week’s Godly Play presentation focuses on the face of Christ as he enters Jerusalem and offers the twelve—and us—the bread and wine. Godly Play is offered for all children 3-years old through 6th grade. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints. We end by 10:55 am.

First Communion: Palm Sunday, April 9

On Palm Sunday, April 9 at the 11 am liturgy we welcome Sam Archer and Hannah Jones to their first holy communion! Sam and Hannah have been growing in their understanding about the holy eucharist in meeting times with Pastor Coffey and Mr. Jimmy. We’ll also be using a special paten (plate) and chalice (cup) that the children created for this milestone occasion.  We give thanks for God’s gifts in bread and wine, for Sam and Hannah, and for our lives together in faith and love.

Prime Timers Potluck: Wednesday, April 5 at 12:30 pm

All are welcome – those in the prime of life and those young at heart!  On Wednesday, April 5 at 12:30 pm we’ll start with a potluck in the fellowship hall and continue with conversation.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, April 5 at 6:00 pm

Companion Café offers a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children).  The menu for April 5 is: Cheese Manicotti with Marinara Sauce, Roasted Broccoli, Italian Garlic Bread, Spinach Strawberry Salad with Sesame Seed Dressing.

Companion Cafe will not meet Wednesdays, April 12 and 19.

Prayer for Our Nation and All Nations:

Wednesday, April 5 at 7:00 pm

On Wednesday evening, April 5, we will gather to pray for our nation and pray for all the nations. With growing anxiety, division, and fear of governmental actions and increased acts of hate, we need to gather and pray for our nation, for healing, for peace, for justice, for safety for those facing persecution, for our leaders. We also need to pray for all nations. We will welcome Vision of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church and other friends. Invite someone.  All are welcome.

Evening Prayer will not be offered on Wednesday in Holy Week, April 12

Youth Prepare for Easter Day Breakfast:

Sunday, April 9

Following the 11:00 am liturgy on Sunday, April 9, our middle and high school youth will be offering ways you can participate in the Easter breakfast on Sunday, April 16 at 9:00 am.  They will have paper slips containing grocery items needed for the Easter breakfast. Youth will be at a table during the hospitality time after the liturgy. (All items can be delivered to the church kitchen by 2:00 pm on Saturday April 15.)

 

Cleaning Day: Sunday, April 9 at 12:30 pm

It’s time to get our sanctuary in great shape for Holy Week and Easter. We have a ready-to-go list of cleaning, organizing, and repair projects so we can get to work after the 11:00 am liturgy. We’ll have a light lunch for those who are working. RSVP for lunch to pastor@felcaustin.org.

Book Club: Sunday, April 9

The FELC Book Club meets Sunday, April 9 from 6:30–8:30 pm in the home of Barbara Wiederaenders for a potluck dinner followed by discussion led by Jill Alexander Essbaum Peng, poet, professor, and New York Times bestselling author. For information and location address, contact Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Come Make the Journey Each Day: Holy Week and Easter Day

The high point of the story of God’s love is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. The rituals of Holy Week and Easter are meant to be a source of renewal and inspiration. Plan on participating each day in the church’s deep, profound celebration of the paschal mystery.

Information on Holy Week and Easter Day liturgies and events at  http://www.felcaustin.org/worship-music/hw-easter

April 13: Maundy Thursday

Noon: Table Communion with Lunch (in the parlor)

A simple service of eucharist, meal, and fellowship

7:00 pm (not 7:30): Confession, Foot Washing, Communion, Stripping the Altar

We end the Lenten disciplines and focus on the story of Jesus’ self-giving love.

Maundy Thursday is a beautiful and profound liturgy that invites us to share in Jesus’ humility and observe his commandment to love one another as he loved us, expressed  in the foot washing ritual.

April 14: Good Friday

Noon to 6:00 pm: Silent Meditation on the Cross

The sanctuary will be open all afternoon for your meditation on the mystery of the cross. Materials are provided for guided prayer. Stations of the Cross and artwork will be placed in the sanctuary. Music interludes will be offered.

7:00 pm (not 7:30): Good Friday Liturgy and Adoration of the Cross

This most solemn liturgy gathers us together before the cross through word and music to experience the good news that Christ transforms the suffering and death of the world by going through it with us.

April 15: The Great Vigil of Easter with Baptism

7:59 pm (sunset, new time): with champagne reception after

The greatest and grandest liturgy of the church’s tradition, the Easter Vigil is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ that renews our lives. We gather in the parking lot to begin. Enter the fullness of the good news of the Paschal Mystery with fire, light, smell, silence, sound, story, image, water, oil, music, bread, wine, champagne: JOY!  We’ll celebrate a baptism, affirm baptism, and celebrate the first eucharist of Easter. Worshipers and leaders from area Lutheran churches and others will be our guests.  All are welcome!

April 16: The Resurrection of our Lord with Baptism-Easter Day

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!  All are welcome!

Festival Easter Eucharist at 8:30 am and 11:00 am

Bring fresh flowers (or use those provided) to adorn the Easter cross in the sanctuary.

Gathering music begins ten minutes before each liturgy.

Easter Breakfast from 9:00–10:30 am (freewill offering)

Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 am

Nursery care is provided.

Easter Flowers

We will celebrate God’s new creation with hydrangea plants and lilies on Easter Day. Easter flower order forms are located on tables at the entrances to the sanctuary or online at http://www.felcaustin.org/easterflowers. The deadline for flower orders is Monday, April 10.

Weekly Update: March 28, 2017

Preparing for Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

The Fifth Sunday in Lent

 

 

Season of Lent

Lent is an old English term for “spring.” In the annual cycle of the church’s liturgy and spiritual formation, it is the time of year for preparation for new life at Easter, the celebration of the resurrection —so the connection to the season of spring is appropriate. Lent is a more solemn season than Christmas or Easter, and it need not be a time of excessive negativity, but a time of growing trust in God’s power to renew our lives.

The traditional ancient spiritual practices for Lent are prayer, fasting (forgoing certain foods for a time of refocus), and almsgiving (giving to the poor). The themes of Lent are wilderness time, repentance (meaning a turning around of one’s life), following Jesus in the way of the cross, and preparation for baptism or renewal of baptism at the Easter Vigil. The Vigil is the Saturday night service before Easter Day, the most celebratory and poetic liturgy in church tradition, and the primary time for baptisms and confirmations.

Sundays are Sundays in Lent and take on a different character than other days of Lent because, while reflective, Sunday is always a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. However, we “put away” the praise word “Alleluia” as we make the journey through Lent.

Here are some biblical verses and writings as a way to prepare and begin pondering the scripture texts for the fifth Sunday in Lent.

Ezekiel 37:11-14

Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

John 11:17-27

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

The Hope of New Life

Hope overcomes despair for God’s people: this is the message of the readings for today. The hope of new life is evident in the story of “dry bones” from Ezekiel. The children of Israel declare their hope is lost. The prophet’s experience in the valley of dry bones inspires him to preach renewed hope to the people. Psalm 130 sings of hope in God and God’s word. The work of God’s Spirit gives hope of new life in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. The Gospel of John tells the hope-filled story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The gospel gives us encouraging words to sustain us through the approaching despair of Christ’s passion and brings us to the fulfillment of hope on Easter. Martha’s wistful words to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here…but even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him” (John 11:21-22), reflect the hope of God’s people in the face of despair, even in the face of death.

This Sunday: adults

Radical Discipleship – The Sermon on the Mount

This Sunday at 9:45 am Pastor Coffey continues the adult forum on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) and continue exploring how we are called to live the radical discipleship Jesus teaches. We are looking at how Dietrich Bonhoeffer had his Lutheran theology challenged and changed by listening to other traditions’ use of the Sermon on the Mount. We are discussing practical ways of being faithful followers of Jesus in our complex world today.  This series concludes on Palm Sunday, April 9.

This Sunday: children and youth

The Faces of Easter

This week’s presentation focuses on the face of Christ as healer and parable-maker. Jesus came back across the Jordan River to do his work…but what was his work? The work of Jesus was to come close to people, mostly the people no one else wanted to come close to.

Godly Play is offered for all children through the 6th grade meeting at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints.

For more information, contact Jimmy Wright at formation@felcaustin.org

Wednesday, March 29

Evening Godly Play for Teachers and Families

From 6:00 -7:00 pm an evening of Godly Play story, method, and theology will be offered. This is particularly intended for those teaching Godly Play and families with young children—adults and children—but is also open to anyone interested in learning more about this ministry. You can grab dinner from Companion Cafe and bring it into the library.  This Wednesday, March 29.

For more information, contact Jimmy Wright at formation@felcaustin.org

Wednesdays of Lent

Companion Café: 6:00 pm

Accompanying One Another on the Journey–Evening Prayer and Labyrinth: 7:00 pm

We often speak of life as a journey, and Lent is often thought of as a journey as well. On four Wednesday evenings in Lent, we will gather with the theme of accompanying one another on the journey, the journey of Lent and the journey of life. While we contemplate our own journeys in life, we will listen and learn how we accompany each other on the way, especially those whose experience may be different from our own.

The four weekly themes are:

March 8:     Accompanying Women (International Women’s Day)

March 15:   Accompanying Men

March 22:   Accompanying Refugees 

March 29:  Accompanying Transgender Persons

A guest speaker offers a reflection on the theme. As part of the evening prayer we will have a labyrinth in the Chapel of the Saints to use for prayer and contemplation of the journey we walk together. Join together as we learn to accompany one another and hear of the One who accompanies us all through the journey of life, Christ Jesus.

Companion Café precedes Lenten Evening Prayer at 6:00 pm. Companion Café offers a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children).

Middle and High School Youth Prepare for Easter Breakfast: April 2 & 9

Following the 11:00 am liturgy on Sundays, April 2 and April 9, our middle and high school youth will be offering ways you can participate in the Easter breakfast on Sunday, April 16 at 9:00 am.  They will have paper slips containing grocery items needed for the Easter breakfast. Youth will be at a table during the hospitality time after the liturgy. (All items can be delivered to the church kitchen by 2:00 pm on Saturday April 15. )

Prayer for Our Nation and All Nations Evening Prayer: Wednesday, April 5 at 7:00 pm

On Wednesday, April 5, we will gather to pray for our nation and pray for all the nations. With growing anxiety, division, and fear of governmental actions and increased acts of hate, we need to gather and pray for our nation, for healing, for peace, for justice, for safety for those facing persecution, for our leaders. We also need to pray for all nations. We will welcome Vision of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church and other friends. Invite someone.  All are most welcome.

Companion Café precedes this Evening Prayer at 6:00 pm.

Cleaning Day: Sunday, April 9 at 12:30 pm

It’s time to get our sanctuary in great shape for Holy Week and Easter. We have a ready-to-go list of cleaning, organizing, and repair projects so we can get to work after the 11:00 am liturgy. We’ll have a light lunch for those who are working. RSVP for lunch to pastor@felcaustin.org.

Come Make the Journey Each Day: Holy Week and Easter Day

The high point of the story of God’s love is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. The rituals of Holy Week and Easter are meant to be a source of renewal and inspiration. Plan on participating each day in the church’s deep, profound celebration of the paschal mystery. Information on Holy Week and Easter Day liturgies and events at  http://www.felcaustin.org/worship-music/hw-easter

We will celebrate God’s new creation with hydrangea plants and lilies on Easter Day. Easter flower order forms are located on tables at the entrances to the sanctuary or online at http://www.felcaustin.org/easterflowers. The deadline for flower orders is Monday, April 10.