Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash

A parishioner sent me this lovely poem by Mary Oliver a few weeks ago. I'd read it before, but for some reason it spoke something new to me at this time of my life:

When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room 
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. And filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing-the reason they can fly.

Holy Week is that week where the church asks you to show up Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and yes, Sunday. And we do this not out of piety or necessity, but because of opportunity.

Yes, opportunity.

Holy Week is the opportunity that the church gets to unload all of the things that you've locked away in the storage shed of your soul. And it gets full every year...you don't realize it, but it gets full.

And in hearing about Jesus' last supper, the crucifixion, the hope, the love, the abandonment, the genuine heartache and heartfelt passion-Christ's "passion" is not just his suffering, but is even more so his deep, abiding love for humanity-in hearing all of this we actually get that lock broken open for us and God, like Mary Oliver's "trash man," comes and burns it all in the new dawn of resurrection hope that we honor with a new fire at the Easter Vigil, and celebrate with trumpets on Easter morning.

And here's the thing: every year I don't just clean out the stuff in my spiritual storage shed from the previous year. Some years? Some years something from way back when, hiding in the corner of my spiritual storage shed, a thought, a memory, a dogma or doctrine long dead in my heart but still present in my head, gets cleaned out, too.   Read more.
Palm Sunday's Readings
Luke 19:28-40
Psalm 31:9-16

Final Way of the Shepherd All-Church Conversation - 9:30-10:30 am, Fellowship Hall - Join us for this final session as we continue this Lenten faith journey together. All  adults and high schoolers are encouraged to join the conversation.

Easter Egg Hunt -  9:30-10:30 am outside the Sanctuary -  2-year olds through 5th graders will be hunting Easter eggs, preparing for Holy Week, and enjoying a special snack! 

Sunday School (2 year olds - 6th grade) and Confirmation (7th & 8th grades) take a break this Sunday, returning with all regularly-scheduled Sunday Morning Education classes on April 28.

Penny Wars & Wrist Band Sales Begin!  The Mnene Outreach Ministry Annual Fund Drive begins Sunday.  Bring in your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills to support the orphans of Mnene Parish. Penny jars will be located in the Narthex. We will also be selling wristbands for $5 each to wear at the Kicknic, with all proceeds going to Mnene Outreach Ministry. Learn more about this ministry here.

Sign up for the May 15-18 Hurricane Relief Mission Trip This Sunday. Only a few spots are available, so be sure to sign up in the Narthex. Want to help but unable to attend? Learn more about ways to help, including  school supply kits , at  gslchurch.org/hurricanerelief  or contact the church office.

Sign Ups Continue for the Holy Week Prayer Vigil,  Thursday, April 18 at 8:45 pm - Friday, April 19 at 6:00 pm in the Sanctuary All are invited to this opportunity to share more fully in the walk of Jesus, to grow in faith, and to come closer to our Father in heaven. 30-minute prayer slots are available for individuals, friends, couples or families, and the Sanctuary will be open for drop in prayer 1:00-6:00 pm on Friday. Sign up on Realm or contact Laura Prill (919-847-5882,  lrprill@gmail.com ) .   


Maundy Thursday Services
Thursday, April 18 at 12:15 & 7:00 pm
Prayer Vigil begins at 8:45 pm.

Good Friday Services
Friday, April 19 at 12:15 & 7:00 pm
Prayer Vigil ends at 6:00 pm.

Easter Vigil & Reception
Saturday, April 20 at 7:00 pm
If you can provide refreshments or clean up after the reception,
contact the church office or sign up on Realm.

Easter Celebration Worship Services
Sunday, April 21
 7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 am

Rams Men's Ministry spent time in fellowship and service last weekend at the Kure Beach Faith Center. Thank you for fixing up the deck and installing new flooring in some of the rooms! 

More information about upcoming events is available in   this week's bulletin announcements.

The Spring 2019 edition of The Shepherd's Voice is now available online.

Health and Healing  for Zelek family; Joye Groff;  Carolyn Remaklus; Peggy Wilder, daughter of Lois Walker; Marilyn Farrell, friend of Lois Walker; and Sarah Sox.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including Aleck Mpofu Moyo and Sheunesu Ndlovu.

A leck , 20, began attending Zvishavane Voc. Tech. this year, working towards his VCT certificate. No word on just what this involves but it is encouraging to know that he is working hard, hoping to learn a trade and eventually be able to find employment. Unemployment rates in Zim are 80% but learning a trade will help increase his chances of eventually finding a way to be self-sufficient. He wrote to his "adoptive" family, "I thank all members of Good Shepherd with the support that helps me." His Mail For Mnene partner is Kathy and John Hrivnak.

Sheunesu, 20, began taking classes this year at Zvishavane Vo. Tech., working towards a VCT certificate. He was able to begin this program because he finally received his birth certificate. In Zimbabwe a birth certificate is required to attend post secondary education. Many of our orphans, because of their situation and without parents who would have had these kinds of important papers, take it upon themselves to reapply to get their birth certificates. Sheunesu's Mail For Mnene partners are Cheryl and Ed Johnson and Jarod Betts and family.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.
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