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APRIL 2019 NEWSLETTER

THREE MORE WEEKS OF LENT

We have reached the midpoint of Lent, but there are still three weeks to go. Those of you who have been reading your Lenten devotional booklets daily and attending the midweek services are encouraged to keep doing the same. Those of you who haven’t really done anything for Lent yet are encouraged to begin reading the devotional booklets and attend a midweek service or two.

Here is a reminder of what is happening this Lent:

  • There are Lenten devotional booklets in the narthex, with a devotion for each day until the day after Easter. Feel free to pick up an extra copy for a friend who might be interested. Note that the special services are listed in the inside cover.
  • Two Lenten midweek services remain on upcoming Wednesdays: April 3 and 10, both at 7:30 p.m. Each service will last approximately forty-five minutes.
  • The theme for all the midweek Lenten services this year is “Growing in Christ,” and each service looks at the previous Sunday’s epistle as well as a parallel passage from the Gospel of John. The specific themes for the weeks remaining will be as follows:

1.      April 3: “Welcoming God’s Reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21; John 13:3-17)

2.      April 10: “Pressing Forward” (Philippians 3:8-14; John 12:20-36)

    HOLY WEEK SERVICES

    Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday (April 14) and lasts through Holy Saturday (April 20). During that week we offer several services that help us reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection, which are at the heart of the Christian faith. Yes, they do take some time out of our busy schedules. But first and foremost we are Christians. We are beloved creations of God. We have been made His dear children by adoption through the work of Jesus Christ. Surely that’s worth spending some time thinking about, right?

    Every service in Holy Week has something distinct to offer to help us understand better the most important events in Christ’s life; if you can attend all of them, you will have a rich feast of God’s Word to meditate on. Here is a little about each of the services:

    • Palm Sunday service, April 14, at 10:45 a.m. This service will consist of a procession with palm branches, followed by a reading of Luke’s account of our Lord’s Passion. On this day we recall our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, even as we prepare ourselves to recall our Lord’s death and resurrection that would occur within the week of the first Palm Sunday. It sets the tone for the services that follow.
    • Holy Thursday service, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. This service commemorates the institution of the Lord’s Supper on the first Holy Thursday. At the end of the worship service the altar will be stripped bare in preparation of the Good Friday service, just as our Lord’s glorious institution of the Lord’s Supper was followed by His arrest, trial, and condemnation.
    • Good Friday service, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. We will follow the Order of Tenebrae, a service in which the church grows progressively darker as the seven last words of our Lord are read. The service is not a funeral for our Lord, but rather a grateful and prayerful remembrance of our Lord’s death, even as we anticipate the celebration of His resurrection.
    • Easter Vigil service, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. This service on Saturday night is the beginning of the Easter celebration. We start at sundown in darkness and light the Easter candle; we then hear the Scriptures read that proclaim God’s work of creating the world and delivering His people in the Old Testament days. We draw parallels between those events and Easter, for God also delivered us by Christ’s resurrection and created something new. As part of the service, the altar is redecorated and prepared for Easter.
    • The Easter Divine Service (April 21) will take place at 10:45 a.m., just as normally is the case on Sundays. However, there will be no Bible class preceding the service. Instead, we will enjoy a delicious Easter breakfast.

    THEOLOGY TODAY DISCUSSION GROUP

    The group continues to work through the highly readable book The Saving Truth: Doctrine for Laypeople by Kurt E. Marquart. The group will meet today, March 31, after church, when it will cover chapters 7 and 8 (pages 101-152). It will then finish the book at its April 28 meeting by reading chapter 9 (pages 153-180).