April 1 - Maundy Thursday Communion Service at 7pm
April 2 – Good Friday Communion Service at 7pm
Both live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook. (Details Below)
6:30am – Rooftop Sunrise Service
9am – Contemporary Worship Service
11am – Traditional Worship Service
The 9am and 11am services will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook. (Details Below)
April 1, 2021
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus,
who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
– Matthew 28:5-6
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We pray that you are having a blessed Holy Week as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter. What a joy it is to be able to celebrate these sacred days in person and not just from our locked-down lives as we had to last year!
Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on God’s calling for us to be a forgiven and forgiving people. Think for a moment how forgiveness is a thread that weaves through every event of Holy Week and culminates on Easter Sunday.
On Maundy Thursday, “the night Jesus was betrayed,” Jesus started the meal by washing his disciples’ feet. All of his disciples - even the ones he knew were about to betray him. He humbled himself all the way into the form of a servant, taking off his cloak and wrapping a towel around himself so he could wash their dirty, smelly feet. He enacted forgiveness even before they realized they needed to be forgiven. Then he broke the bread and poured the cup, saying this is the cup of the New Covenant, of my blood poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.
That night, Jesus was betrayed first by Judas and then by Peter, who denied him not once but three times. The leaders of his own people held an illegal trial in the middle of the night and then handed him over to the Romans to be crucified. The crowd was given the opportunity to set Jesus free but shouted, “Crucify him!,” and the strangely prophetic, “His blood is on us and our children!” (Matt 27:25). If only they had known the power of His blood to set them free from sin and death.
It was over these people—the leaders, the crowds, the Romans, and every single one of us—he cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Forgive them. Forgive us. If he can forgive us in that moment, can we not forgive those around us, whether or not they know what they’re doing? He wanted to forgive us so much, to bring us back into relationship with the Father, that he was willing to die to make it possible.
This Easter Sunday, let us celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ over both sin and the grave. He has conquered shame and unforgiveness. He has paid the full price for everything we have ever done and for everything anyone else has done to us.
In Christ we are forgiven, and we are granted the ability to be forgiving. If we hold onto shame, we are basically saying Jesus’ death wasn’t enough—I need to punish myself more to make up for this awful thing I did. And when we hold onto unforgiveness and bitterness, we are basically saying Jesus’ death wasn’t enough—that person who hurt me needs to be punished more to make up for the awful thing they did.
Both of those are lies. Jesus’ death on the cross is enough. “It is finished.” The work is complete. It has been perfected. You are set free by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. And because He has set us free, we are now free to forgive others as He has forgiven us. His death is enough. His resurrection is more than enough.
May we all live as Easter people, set free by the blood of Christ and empowered by His grace so that we can bring the Good News of His salvation to the world!
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services at 7pm - Join us on Maundy Thursday at 7 p.m. for communion and contemporary worship. On Good Friday at 7:00 p.m. we will have a traditional Tenebrae service with short reflections on Jesus’s seven words from the cross shared by pastors and elders. Both services will include communion and will be offered in person and on our YouTube and Facebook pages.
Easter is Here! Three Services – 6:30am, 9am, and 11am - We will be having three services on Sunday to make room for everyone who wants to join us. We will be doing a 6:30am sunrise service on the roof (please enter through the Drive-thru doors), a 9am contemporary service, and an 11am traditional service. The 9am and 11am services will be livestreamed. Please invite a friend! If you are able to park off-site, across Washington Rd at Nam’s, behind the building, or in our lower lot, please consider doing so and leave our Scott Road parking lot and spots along the St. Bernard’s side of the building for those who are unable to walk long distances or visiting with us. We continue to require masks for all church services.
We will not be having Sunday School or the Hour of Prayer on Easter Sunday. See you next week! Following Easter, we will be continuing to study Dr. Larry Selig’s book, 5 Prayers God Loves to Answer. The remainder of the book focuses on listening to God, so important as we remember that prayer is a conversation. Please be in touch with Pastor Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-531-3387 x 207 if you are interested in becoming a part of a small group.
As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at email@example.com, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.