Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.12.14

Grace Waves


God’s people first came into existence when the children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt and called out into the desert to be educated into freedom, to learn to live with no other master but God. —Thomas Merton

The Focus of Lent:  The Springtime awakening to live and love God and neighbor with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Spiritual liberation frees us from slavery to self centeredness, greed, busyness, poverty, imprisonment, addictions, consumerism, disease, and pollution.  It graciously and gradually dissolves our attachment to habitual negative thinking.

Holy Week begins this Sunday with Palm Sunday and the presentation of the Passion Narrative at 9:30 am.

  • 7:30 – Maundy Thursday/April 17:  a liturgy marking the initiation of the Eucharist and the Farewell Teachings of Jesus.  (Optional Foot washing from 7 – 7:15 pm)
  • 7:30 – Good Friday/April 18:  a contemplative service focused on the mystery of Jesus’ death.
  • 7:30 – Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday/April 19:  a liturgy celebrating the birth of new life and light.
  • EASTER DAY – 10:00 AM Worship – note this Special Time!  A joyous morning with Communion and guest musicians.
  • Easter Day Brunch:  this Sunday you can sign up to bring an Egg Dish, Fruit or Pastries for Easter.  Thanks for contributing!

Lemon Pledge Day /Portion of a Letter from St. Francis: “ I bring along a broom to the churches I visit in order to clean them.  It makes me suffer grievously to enter a church and see it dirty.  After preaching I usually gather the priests and laity together to encourage them in the salvation of their souls and especially to remind them of the solicitude they are to exercise in keeping their churches, altars and everything that is used in the celebration of the divine mysteries clean.”  Join us today Saturday from 4 – 5:30 to pray with your hands.

The Church Council had a fine Retreat this past Sunday with special reflections on our Lutheran Values and the Practice of Generosity.  Speak with them about their experiences!

Prison Ministry Development – Forum this Sunday, April 13 with Seminarian Brock Klobe:  How shall we sustain our evolving Prison Ministry?  Please join in!

A reflection from Brock—an adaptation from The Lord of the Rings:

‘The Elves (Peace) next unwrapped and gave to each of the Company (those incarcerated) the clothes they had brought.  For each they had provided a hood and cloak, made according to size, of the light but warm silken stuff that Galadhrim (Christ) wove.  It was hard to say of what color they were: grey with the hue of twilight under the trees they seemed to be; and yet if they were moved, or set in another light, they were green as shadowed leaves, or brown as fallow fields by night, dusk-silver as water under the stars.  Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

‘Are those magic cloaks?’ asked Pippin (Brock), looking at them with wonder.

‘I do not know what you know what you mean by that,’ answered the leader of the Elves (Steve). ‘They are fair garments, and the web is good, for it was made in this land (Danville and surrounding).  They are Elvish (Peace) robes certainly, if that is what you mean.  Leaf and branch, water and stone: they have the hue and beauty of these things under the twilight of Lórien (Danville and surrounding) that we love; they are garments, not armor, and they will not turn shaft or blade.  But they should serve you well, they are light to wear, and warm enough or cool enough at need.  And you will find them a great aid in keeping out of the sight of unfriendly eyes, whether walk among the stones or the trees.  You are indeed high in the favor of the Lady (Christ)!  For she herself and her maidens (disciples) wove this stuff; and never before have we clad strangers (those incarcerated) in the garb of our own people.’

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

In recent years, several well-designed empirical studies have demonstrated the positive relationship between “religious” (insert faith or spiritual?) commitment and both lowered recidivism and positive institutional behavior. —W. Thomas BecknerCorrectional Chaplains: Keepers of the Cloak

We too, at Peace, are the keepers of the cloak!  As of now, we are exploring a few different dimensions of prison ministry with people inside and beyond the doors of Peace.  A group is being formed to explore a Peace-led, Monday evening worship service, for those women incarcerated at the FCI in Dublin.  Newly appointed Justice Advocacy Deacon, Ron Elsdon, is also molding the opportunity in the same institution, to teach a re-entry course which facilitates the empowerment for those women to find housing, employment, etc.  I strongly urge anyone who is interested in prison ministry to re-read the quotes above.  Feel free to email me at [email protected].  The momentum is growing and we want to nourish it, keeping it alive and having the sky as the limit!

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. Steve