“Open My Life, Lord” Continues through Lent to Easter

Written by Rev. Gayle Pope. Posted in The Seed

open my lifeWe continue to invite God to open our eyes, hands, ears, hearts and lives to his love and power this Lent. Here’s what’s coming up:

  • Midweek Services – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
    (preceded by supper at 5:30)
    • April 3: Open My Heart, Lord – Martha Rapp, spiritual director, chaplain and religious educator from St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Quincy, will reflect on Acts 16:11-15, the story of Lydia, who opened her heart to God and was baptized.
    • April 10: “Open my Life, Lord” – I will conclude the Wednesday series with a message about the transforming power of the Spirit in a life cracked open to the love of God. As Paul writes in Galatians 2:15-21, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  • Palm Sunday, April 14, 9:30 a.m.: Our service begins in the Fellowship Hall as we process with palms into the Sanctuary. The service turns from joyful Hosannas to the somber recognition of what is to come as we hear the Passion according to Luke.
  • Maundy Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.: A traditional service including individual absolution with the laying on of hands, a foot washing ritual, congregation communing one another, stripping of the altar as Psalm 22 is chanted, and departing in silence.
  • Maundy Thursday to Good Friday Prayer Vigil in the Resurrection Chapel: For the second year, we are inviting people to sign up for 30-minute slots in a 23-hour prayer vigil from the close of Maundy Thursday worship to the opening of Good Friday worship, Various guided prayer materials will be provided for those who wish to use them. This is a time to contemplate your own relationship with Christ, to open your heart to the meaning of his suffering and death, and to pray for self, others and the world. Sign-up sheets will be posted in the narthex. You are welcome to take more than one slot if you wish to stay longer. Someone will always be present in the church building so no one will be there alone.
  • Good Friday, April 19, 7 p.m.: This year we will again experience the “Service of the Nails” – a series of readings, extinguishing of candles, responses, silent reflection and prayer to help us enter more deeply into the meaning of Good Friday. Everyone is asked to bring your Lenten key. Toward the end of the service, all are invited to come forward and receive a nail tied with a red ribbon, drive your nail into a rugged wooden cross, and hang your key on it. The ribbon symbolizes our sin (though your sins are like scarlet...”) and Christ’s blood. The key symbolizes our willingness to unlock our hearts and let Christ in. You can retrieve your key if you want to keep it, or leave it to become part of something made out of all the keys.
  • Easter Sunday, April 21, 9:30 a.m.: We will unpack the Alleluia and participate in a joyful celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection, followed by Easter Brunch to benefit our Memorial Garden project.

Lent 2019: Unlocking Our Hearts

Written by Rev. Gayle Pope. Posted in The Seed

open my life

The talk I have given at the last three Walk to Emmaus weekends is called “obstacles to Grace.” It’s about barriers we put up to block God’s Holy Spirit from flowing into our hearts and lives. Why’d we do that? Lots of reasons – all under the general heading of SIN.

Our Lent theme this year is designed to get us to take down those barriers, unlock those doors and open our eyes, hands, ears, hearts and lives to God’s love, mercy and power.

When it comes to living our Christian faith, it’s not as if we unlock one big door at a given moment in our lives, let Christ in, and Eureka! all is well between us and God from them on. Though our eternal salvation is assured through faith in Christ, conversion is a lifelong process of growing more and more into the person God created us to be. The Holy Spirit continually pries at our hidden chambers of resistance that might be buried so deep we don’t even know they are there. The Spirit is patient with us … one step at a time. Sometimes it’s hard to let go. Often, it takes something painful for us to grow. But whenever we open a door and let Christ in, we become a little stronger, wiser and truer to our real selves.

As we journey through Lent, be aware of places you are holding back from the light of Christ. As a reminder, we are giving everyone a key to carry with you throughout the season. When you see it hanging on your key chain or feel it in your pocket or purse, let it remind you to open your life to Jesus. On Good Friday (April 19) you will have an opportunity to bring your key back to church and hang it on a nail you pound into a rugged cross.

Wednesday Lenten Services

Lent begins Ash Wednesday, March 6, with a traditional service at 6:30 p.m. including imposition of ashes and Holy Communion.

Each of the next five Wednesdays we will have supper at 5:30, coordinated by our Fellowship Team, followed by a 30- to 40-minute service beginning at 6:30. Themes and speakers are as follows:

  • Wednesday, March 13: Open My Eyes, Lord. Speaker: Terry Pope
  • Wednesday, March 20: Open My Hands, Lord. Speaker: Dick Tabb
  • Wednesday, March 27: Open My Ears, Lord. Speaker: Bonnie Scranton
  • Wednesday, April 3: Open my Heart, Lord. Speaker: Martha Rapp
  • Wednesday, April 10: Open My Life, Lord. Speaker: Pastor Gayle

I pray you will give yourself to the journey, that your life as a disciple of Christ will grow deeper than ever.