While the weather suggests otherwise, the rhythm of Holy Week continues to beat with the inexorable journey toward crucifixion and Resurrection. The drama of our salvation, the world's salvation does not depend on temperature or other condition. It is a gift to be received by God's people. May you and yours grow closer to the triune God in these Holy Days.
Tonight, Thursday the 18th, we gather for a most moving service of Tenebrae or "shadows". The readings as well as the flow of worship are solemn, depicting the Passion of our Lord. Communion will be served by intinction. The service ends in silence as we ponder the tolling of the Bell 33 times for each year of Jesus' life. Also, something new this year is a foot-washing for those who wish, after the manner of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Special thanks to Kristin White Wilson for initiating this practice. Look for her prior to the 7:00 pm start near the Main Street entrance.
The Good Friday service happens just to our South at St. John's Episcopal Church. Readings and meditations on the Passion of Jesus will be offered from noon until 3:00 pm. Yours truly preaches at 2:30. Can't come for the entire time? Come and go as you are able. Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter.
Easter Day will be welcomed by a Sunrise service at Cooper's Beach at 6:00 am. Against the backdrop of the great Atlantic Ocean, we will give witness that the Lord is Risen! Afterwards, bring your neighbors and friends here to First Church for breakfast in our dining room.
Our 10:00 Easter Worship will tell the story of the Resurrection of Jesus, leading us to rejoice and celebrate. Bring a friend. Expect a crowd, and make room for all. Help the Cary family welcome its newest member in Baptism, Jonathan Lyle Cary, son of Ben and Melissa (Phillips) Cary. The sermon is entitled, "Stand Up! Dry Your Tears! It's Easter!" and originates in Luke 24:1-12. Music soars. The Chancel Choir sings "You Are the Christ" and "Amazing Grace! Eternal Life". Hymns are the familiar "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today", "The Day of Resurrection" and "Crown Him With Many Crowns". Nursery Care is available.
Special thanks go to all who have dedicated flowers and made our sanctuary beautiful. Retrieve them after the service and consider giving one to a home-bound friend. Easter is even more joyful as it is shared.
As I said last week, this is the time of year when attendance swells and we often find family pews taken by newcomers to First Church. An etiquette of Christian hospitality suggests that we gently welcome them, and give thanks to God for whomever He is sending to First Church.
Pray for the Rev Sarah Bigwood as she gets ready to leave her Minnesota congregation and prepares for her journey to become the next installed Pastor here at First Presbyterian!
Prayer for the Day: God, you are forever raising the dead, showing us the way to Life Eternal. Save us from thinking small, or failing to rejoice this Easter. Renew your people, and help us to rediscover the love you make manifest in your son, our risen Lord. May the whole world pause and rejoice in the Good News of life's triumph over death. Alleluia! Amen.
See you in church!