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Worship Preview: "Stations of the Cross: Palm/Passion Sunday and Holy Week.

First United Methodist Church         

        

SATURDAY at 6pm – Faith’s Journey Returns! Join us the Saturday before Holy Week for another great evening of Absolute Country, Definitely Gospel with Faith’s Journey! Branson’s 2021 Gospel Show and Group of the Year will be here for another freewill offering show! If you were here last year, you’ll want to hear them again, and if you missed it here is your chance to see them! Invite your friends and neighbors!

  

This Sunday: 10:30am – “Stations of the Cross: Palm/Passion Sunday”

Scriptures –  Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 118:1-2,19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 11:1-11; and Mark 14:26-52

 

We have journeyed 40 days (and 5 Sundays) through Lent and next Sunday, March 31st is Easter. Before we get to that joyful celebration, we first have a roller coaster of Holy Week. Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, a fulfillment and symbolic enactment of the prophets. He is greeted with waving palm branches, cloaks laid down on the path, cheers and smiles. But the celebration is premature and perhaps a bit misguided. Jesus comes as an unexpected sort of messiah.

 

Last week we talked about glory – and how Jesus does not glorify himself, but does reveal the glory of God. We wrestle with what it means for Jesus to be fully human and fully divine – transcending our categories. We talked about the Christian understanding of the one true God as Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit – Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, all one in an endless and eternal dance of relationship – and yet with us in finite time as well. It is mystery that invites us into the eternal relationship of love, revealed in grace through faith.

 

We will continue to encounter that mystery this week. One key will be to look at the word Hosanna – “Hosanna, Loud Hosannas, the little children sang” is the first line of a beloved hymn. It has come to mean a cry of joyful celebration. Yet it is a Greek word: “ὡσαννά” that most scholars believe is the transliteration of two Hebrew words- יָשַׁע- “yasha” which means “to save or deliver” and אָנּאָ – “anna” which means “please, I beseech.”  “Please, Save Us!” the crowd cries out.

 

And we celebrate Easter next week because we believe that Jesus does save us. Jesus demonstrates that suffering and death do not have the final word, that darkness does not overcome the light, through his death on the cross. Jesus’ own faith, Jesus own humility, Jesus’ perfect humanity saves us – and we are invited to enter into this mystery too. 

There is a practice, most known by Roman Catholics, called the Stations of the Cross. It is an intentional way of working through the stories of Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection. Over the next week, we at First United Methodist will enact a version of this practice in our special worship services.

 

Sunday at 10:30am, we celebrate the end of Lent and enter into Holy Week with Palm / Passion Sunday. Thursday we will host a special “Maundy Thursday” service at 7pm centered on Jesus’ last supper with his Disciples and the institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion. All are welcome at Christ’s table, and you are invited to take the bread and cup with us. Then we will gather again on Friday for a Tenebrae service – a service of darkness remembering Jesus’ death – preparing us for the glorious celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

 

Wherever you are on your faith journey and whatever it is that you cry out “Please, save us!” about, we invite you to bring your questions, assurances, and hopes to worship this week. You can learn more about what to expect here at First United Methodist at our website: www.firstumcfortscott.org or our see our Facebook page www.facebook.com/firstumcfortscott for the latest updates.

 

Upcoming Events: 

 

Wednesday, March 27, 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at www.firstumcfortscott.org/onlinegiving. We also need groups to cook and help serve the meal – if you’d be interested in taking a week, please call the church office at 620-223-1950 and we will get you in touch with the coordinator. We are thankful for all the churches and local organizations that assist with this ministry!

 

We are hosting VBS this year. We continue to partner with our friends at First Presbyterian, but will host Vacation Bible School in our building this time. Mark your calendar for June 17th – 21st in the evenings and watch for more information in the coming months. Plan to bring your kids or grandkids for a great week of faith and fun rooted in Scripture.

 

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