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Holy Week

Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.


It’s the beginning of a journey that contains the human story – the highs, the lows, the hopes, the fears. In the span of eight days, we do it all: we praise, process, break bread, wash feet, make promises, deny, betray, condemn, abandon, grieve, despair, disbelieve, and celebrate.

And it begins with Palm Sunday, which we will celebrate this Sunday in worship. We’ll wave palm branches, we’ll sing our praises, and we’ll shout “Hosanna!” as we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem.


There will be a certain celebration to the day, just as there was more than two thousand years ago when Jesus first rode into Jerusalem. Because in this moment, all the hopes and expectations for Jesus come to their climax. The crowds of people were sure that Jesus was riding into Jerusalem to take his rightful place as King. And they couldn’t help but celebrate.


On the other hand, I think Jesus knew full well what his ride into Jerusalem meant. He knew how the crowds would turn in just a few days, he knew the horrific death that would await him on Friday.


And so, even as we celebrate, Palm Sunday should make us pause and it should catch us off-guard. Because if there’s a single day in the life of the church that illustrates the dissonance at the heart of our faith, it’s Palm Sunday. More than any other, this festive, ominous, and complicated day of palms and hosannas warns us that paradoxes we might not like or want are woven right into the fabric of our faith. God on a donkey. Dying to live. A suffering king. Good Friday.


It's these paradoxes that give our faith credibility. Since we live in a world that’s full of pain, mystery, and contradiction, we need a faith that is robust enough to bear the weight of that messy world.


And so, welcome to Holy Week. In the words of Debie Thomas, “Here we are. And here is our God. Here are our hosannas, broken and earnest, hopeful and hungry. Here is all that is unbearable, and all that promises to end in light brighter than we can imagine. Blessed is the One who comes to die so that we will live.”


I hope you will make plans to join us throughout this week.


Each of our Holy Week services will be unique, but they will all help tell the story of Jesus’ final week on earth. You are welcome to come to one event or to all events.


Maundy Thursday Worship: During the Last Supper, Jesus kneels to wash his disciples’ feet. When he comes to Peter, he initially resists before wholeheartedly submitting. As Jesus washes his feet, we imagine that God’s grace reshapes Peter in the way that water softens the rough edges of stone. Worship will include Communion, as we allow ourselves to be reshaped by grace, receiving the streams of mercy that are never ceasing. (Thursday at 7:00pm at FPC)

Good Friday Worship: This service remembers Jesus’ death on the cross. This contemplative, ecumenical service, will hear again the story of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial. (Friday at noon at Lewistown United Methodist)


Stations of Peter: Paying close attention to Peter in Jesus’ final hours, we see that Peter is prone to mess up, to fight, to deny, to leave, to seek safety for himself. But aren’t we all? This self-guided journey will lead us to the cross through the eyes of Peter, lamenting the ways we too are prone to leave the God we love. Come when you would like and stay for as long as you would like. A guide to the prayer stations will be available. (available 6:00-8:00pm at FPC, come on your own schedule)


I hope you will make plans to join us this Holy Week as we prepare ourselves for Easter morning!


Grace and peace






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