Skip to main content

Spring Black Friday


Yesterday I was driving around town listening to a local radio station when my mind started to drift. When I refocused, I discovered I was in the middle of a commercial. Just as I was about to change the station I heard a term that was new to me:

Spring Black Friday.

My first thought was about Good Friday-- the day Jesus died on the cross (April 14). But no, this wasn't an ad for Holy Week services at a local church. This was an ad for one of the large home improvement stores in town, the orange one, and I was really taken aback. Just in time for Easter (not mentioned), you can get great deals today on mulch, lawn mowers, patio furniture, etc. It's an ongoing sales event for the first couple weeks of April, not necessarily tied to a specific date, like, you know, Good Friday.

I don't know what your outdoor needs are-- I have several myself-- but I do not have the time or energy to pursue them between today and April 16, Easter Sunday. It's another unnecessary layer of distraction. Since the beginning of March, we've journeyed through Lent, 40 days of devotion and spiritual discipline, only to get a great discount on a leaf blower?? Please. No thank you.

Instead, I invite you to devote your time and energy to the events of Holy Week. We'll have several opportunities here at Grace to fully experience the events of the last week of Jesus' life:

  • This Sunday, 8:30 and 11:00: Palm/Passion Sunday. Our kids will wave palm branches and lead a procession through the Celebration Center. We'll quickly move to a reflection on the message of the cross.
  • Monday night, 7:30: Sherman Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance service. Celebrate our unity in Christ with brothers and sisters of other Sherman area churches.
  • Wednesday night, 5:30: The final installment of the "Death of the Messiah" study. We'll examine a couple of classical depictions of Jesus' Passion, then experience the powerful Farewell Discourse, four chapters in the Gospel of John when Jesus prays for and says goodbye to his disciples.
  • Holy Thursday, 7:00: A commemoration of the institution of the Lord's Supper. We'll celebrate communion together.
  • Good Friday, 7:00: Powerful music, prayers, and readings from the Gospel of John create an emotional remembrance of Christ's sacrificial love.
  • Holy Saturday, 2:00-4:00: Walk Through Holy Week and Easter Egg Hunt. Great fun for the kiddos.
  • Easter Day: Sunrise service at Pecan Grove Park West, 7:00; services here at the church at 8:30 and 11:00. Snacks and coffee will be served before and after each service. Be on the lookout for new people!

And after all of that, the highs and lows of the most important week in human history, you may be exhausted-- I will be for sure-- but hopefully the good news will fill you with so much joy that you'll be able to devote every ounce of that energy to... yard work? Decorating? No-- it still doesn't work.

A quick word of thanks to our office and program staff here at Grace-- they really are wonderful. David and Lynda lead the music with such enthusiasm, in addition to planning services and recruiting worship participants. The choir is great. Anthony, Lori, Matt, William, and Laura make for a wonderful experience of praise music. Janet is gearing up for the Walk Through Holy Week and the sunrise service, led by youth. Rhonda handles all the logistics of the church. Jan runs the calendar, maintains the schedules, prints and designs newsletters, emails, and bulletins. Jack keeps everything inside and outside the building looking great. Gerri keeps us current on our bills. Pastor Leon cares for people. I really appreciate the gifts of our talented staff team. And thanks as well for our lay volunteers, who helped clean in and around the building last Saturday, and those who will do everything in their power to make folk feel welcome Easter morning. This includes all of us. There will be much to do! I am excited to join in the celebration April 16!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…