On the 2nd Sunday of Easter, April 23rd, the Chancel Choir and some special friends performed the Cantata “Kingdom, Power, Glory.” This Cantata dramatically shares the story of the crucifixion. The story that has been read about and retold so many times is offered in a fresh and innovative way—with narration, traditional hymns and moving anthems. You will walk the road with Christ as He makes the journey for the redemption of the world! A special thanks to the Chancel Choir and all who have joined in to sing—stretching their voices and time to bring us this beautiful cantata with songs including: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!; The Cross That He Carried; Christ Is Risen; God With Us; Sanctuary/Total Praise; Thine Is the Kingdom and Crown Him with Many Crowns.
Although a powerful presentation on Sunday morning, a softer version was recorded through our sound system. Listen here.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about our church’s financial situation in light of our individual and collective engagement in Good Sam’s mission and purpose as a congregation. Good things are happening throughout our congregation, praise God! Your council continues to look for opportunities to economize and manage within available resources. However, as you may remember from our annual congregational meeting, after much contemplation, the budget we adopted for 2015 anticipated that expenses (even with drastic cuts) would exceed income by about 12%. This presents an opportunity for us to consider our blessings and our responses, and also to engage with our neighbors and invite them to join us on our mission of discipleship. During the past few weeks, our worship has focused on Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the example he set by washing his disciples’ feet, and his gift to us of his body and blood in the institution of communion. We also have contemplated his sacrifice for our sins on the cross. The good news is that we know and believe the passion story has a happy ending as we experience the joy of Easter. A wise person said that we can’t “out-give” God. I invite you to ponder that throughout the comings days, and contemplate further who our neighbors are, and how we might individually and collectively walk alongside them as we journey together in faith.
Do you have a purpose to your life of faith? Perhaps you have a sense of how God uses you to accomplish God’s work in the world around you? At Good Samaritan we have a mission and finding our mission will certainly invite us to imagine where we might discover God’s working in our lives and in our lives with others. Let’s begin with a picture, an image that can speak to us about God working among us?
Imagine if you will the cross of Jesus. We sometimes say that the vertical beam is God reaching down into our lives to connect, renew and enliven us. We say the horizontal beam then, is our reaching out to others with the hope; reconciliation and friendship of God, as we try to love our neighbors as Jesus love them. The Cross of Jesus is not simply about his death and resurrection, but also about our new life and hope in Christ.
Imagine with me that our faith lives are a journey on which we are seeking to discover the presence and activity of God. This road we travel is a journey of discovery. So we are always looking for those moments along the way when we can see the cross clearly. One of the discoveries of the early church was that God provided encounter after encounter with people where God’s activity was discovered. Often these encounters were with people no one expected to shire forth with God’s working; Philip met the Ethiopian, Paul and Silas met Lydia, Peter met Cornelius. This is the reason I like to say, “Jesus is best discovered in Community.”
In the image above you can see the road before you. It is leading toward the Cross of Jesus. Also along the way, you will intersect with other roads; have contact with others on a journey of faith. Curiously, it is in those intersections that the Cross appears and the work of God becomes visible in our lives and experiences.
Notice that the Cross in this image is on a gold background. The brightness of the sun and the resilience of the Kingdom of God shine here on the horizon. They draw us toward the work that God will do in our lives and in the connections we have with others. Notice the fields on the left and right of the road we travel. Purple is the color of Lenten color in which we focus on our walking in faith toward Easter. Green is the Season of Epiphany and of the Sundays after Pentecost, in which we think about the manifestation of God among us. These are the seasons of growth and seasons in which we emphasize our journey in discovering God and seeking to learn from the teachings of Jesus.
As we talk about, illustrate, imagine and point toward our mission together in the coming weeks and months, we hope this image might begin to invite, encourage, awaken and spur us on toward those intersections in our lives where our encounters with others become a place where God’s activity is visible among us. Where do you see God working in your life? Where is God making use of you in the lives of others? These intersections will certainly be along your journey to the cross.
Join us each Sunday in April as we explore these images and experiences as we focus on our mission, purpose and journeys of faith together.
All are welcome to join us in our worship!
Palm Sunday worship March 29 at 9:00 am
Maundy Thursday worship April 2 at 7:00 pm
Good Friday worship April 3 at 7:00 pm
Even though the season of Lent has just begun, Easter is around the corner. To reflect our joy on Easter day, consider purchasing an Easter flower to decorate our church. As you leave worship on Easter (April 5), you are welcome to take it with you.
On Sunday mornings in February and March you will find order forms printed on envelopes in the narthex. You can fill out the form and include a dedication. The cost per flower is $8.00. Payment must accompany your order and can be placed in the offering plate. Orders must be in no later than Sunday, March 22. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Debbi Y.
Adult Forum at Good Sam
(Adult Forum is a conversational environment where topics, books, discussions, and community news are brought for the benefit of the community. The topics vary and we invite a variety of people to lead topics on which they are well-versed. We hope you will consider joining us for community conversation in Adult Forum each Sunday at 10:30 am.)
April 6 – “On Our Way” (Session 5 of “Where God Invites Us into Life!”)
What is it like to experience the invitation of God to speak to another person? Have you ever felt the urge or prompting to open a conversation with someone? In this class we will explore five biblical texts that will help us see how God may be ready to be in our discourse with others. Join us for this class on learning to be available to God’s prompting. Taught by Pastor Mitch
Text for April 6 Acts 16 Paul heads toward Macedonia (and Philippi)
Theme for Today Faith Seeks and Discovers God’s Working through the Journey
April 13 – No Adult Forum – Join the liturgy introduction!
You’re welcome to join us in the sanctuary (after the Easter egg hunt) for a rehearsal of the liturgy that begins on Easter Sunday. The psalmist tells us to ‘make a joyful noise to the Lord’ and there is no better time to do that than on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the miracle of resurrection and the new life promised to us through Christ. This Easter, our music will be especially joyful as we introduce a new liturgy that is based on familiar and well-loved hymn tunes. It is fun to sing and full of the life and spirit of Easter celebration.
April 20 – No Adult Forum – Join us for Easter potluck brunch!
Join us for a potluck brunch at 9:30 am. Let us know what you are bringing so we can plan.
April 27 – Fascinating Stories of Forgotten Lives by Charles Swindoll
This forum will examine some little-remembered Bible characters and events. The material is drawn from a book in Dr. Charles Swindoll’s Great Lives From God’s Word series. The Old Testament contains numerous stories of forgotten lives. These unsung heroes’ actions, sacrifices, or battles failed to achieve prominence. These great lives, however, do reveal significant people who deserve our serious attention and emulation.