Sundays after Easter 2018vv

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The Fourth Sunday after Easter is the Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel for the day is from John 10 in which we read: Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The Psalm is #23. The Lord is my Shepherd.

When we are compromised or weakened, this Psalms sounds good to us. When our strength is gone, we return to the flock of our baptismal birth. But that flock needs healthy, strong members too. The Good Shepherd is present with us in the Word and Sacraments, guiding our lives, strengthening our spiritual hearts, giving us a new way to see the world, and a new way to live: in service to others.

Sunday at 11 am Diane Burke will lead a discussion of the ELCA’s draft social statement on women. Confirmation students are asked to attend the forum discussion. Here is a link to the statement.

Bring in food for A Place to Turn in Natick. Bringing in food for a local distribution should be a regular part of our Sunday morning routine. It would be fine if there was a full basket to be taken to the food pantry every week. So…take a can or a jar of something off your shelf and bring it to church when you come on Sunday morning. Thank you to the one or two of you who contribute regularly to this ministry.

Peace Forever capital campaign begins next Sunday, April 29.

Barbara Stanley is recovering at home. Dick reports that she is getting stronger every day.

If you are interested in serving on a garden committee, speak to Stephanie Smoot or to Pastor Johnson. We will schedule a meeting when we know who would like to help with the gardens this summer. The new rain barrels are already full of water for our gardens.

Spring clean-up tasks remain around the church. If you have time to help tomorrow-Saturday, April 21-let Pastor Johnson know.

Untitled Pentecost. Brokenshire, John Click to enter image viewer Use the Save buttons below to save any of the available image sizes to your computer.

“Peace be with you.” As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…”

According to John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is given to the disciples on the day of the resurrection. In Luke/Acts, the Holy Spirit is poured out on representatives of the nations at Pentecost. Over the centuries the Christian church has gone with Luke/Acts over John, celebrating Pentecost, and the giving of the Holy Spirit, apart from Easter. The importance of the giving of the Holy Spirit, however, is the central gesture of the Christian faith. At baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, all the words and actions point to the giving of the spirit, the breath of God that creates life. If we read on in John 20, the Holy Spirit alive in the disciples, and later in the church, brings forgiveness of sins, the sacramental center of faith.

Sunday the children of our church will sing the Gospel verse they have been practicing. The Gospel verse is the short piece of music we sing before the reading of the Gospel. Kathryn has been working with the children on a verse that is not part of our printed liturgy,

Faith formation and an adult forum following coffee hour.

Bring in canned fruit for A Place to Turn in Natick.

Confirmation class Sunday afternoon at 4 pm.

The council meets Monday at 7:30 pm.

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Peace be with you.

Who brings peace to you? Who says “peace” to you by their presence? Is there someone in your life who assures you that you have a friend, when they are near you? Are there people in your life with whom you feel entirely comfortable?

“Peace be with you, because I am beside you…”

That’s what’s happening in these gospel readings from the Sundays after Easter. Jesus is present with his disciples, then and now.

The New Testament translates the commandments of God, given to a community, into personal relationships of faith. It’s a big change. Communal obedience turns to individual trust.

Memorial service in our memorial garden for Marguerite Brynjolfsson tomorrow, April 14 at 11 am.

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am. Sunday.

Confirmation at 4 pm. Students who will be confirmed in May should bring drafts of their presentations.

Next Sunday, April 22, Diane Burke will lead us in a discussion of the draft social statement from the ELCA on women and justice. We will submit our comments and suggestions to the ELCA after studying the document.

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Easter 2018

Thank you for attending the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services at Peace. I asked you to come, and many of you came! It is important for us to go as deep into the spiritual depths of Holy Week as we can. I was very pleased that so many of you came to church on Thursday and Friday in Holy Week.

Easter thank-you’s to:

Kathryn, our faithful, dedicated and talented music director;

members of the choir who come early every Sunday morning to rehearse an anthem-Ron Riggert, Alan Vogt, Dan Olsen, Larry Gogolin, Frank Maxant, Bob Holmgren, Sharon Jones, Heather Moretz, Libby Jonczyk, Barbara Olsen;

the Peace brass-Ron Riggert, Dan Olsen, Bob Holmgren and John Bestavros;

Libby Jonczyk and all the worship assistants and nursery attendants;

flower ministers-Mazie and Mary Ann-and all who gave flowers;

Kim Canning for her children’s messages;

Holy Week readers-Shirley Koulopoulos, John Van Alsten, Dan Olsen, Kim Canning, Leah Jonczyk;

everyone who joined in the Easter morning brunch and egg hunt;

Sharon Jones and everyone who set out the food and cleaned up after the meal;

the confirmation students-Aidan, Mason, Carly, Lucas, Madeline, Veronica, Maddie, Allison, Abigail-for preparing an egg hunt for the young children;

all who attended the services and activities.

Every single member of Peace is known and important. Your presence is a blessing. Your absence means our community gathering is not complete. Thank you all for keeping the holiest season so well this year.

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End of March Family Promise weeks 2018

Confirmation students had lunch before they washed blankets, quilts, sheets and towels fromĀ  Family Promise host weeks at Peace.

On Palm Sunday, friends from Islamic Center of Boston joined Peace members to turn Family Promise bedrooms back into classrooms.

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Holy Week 2018

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Mark 11:8.

The destination of our journey through Lent is Holy Week. Palm Sunday orients us to Holy Week with its procession and presentation of the story of the last days of Jesus’ life. Following the reading of the Passion according to Mark, we will hear an invitation to attend to the spiritual depths of Holy Week.

The services of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, contain the earliest movements of what would become Christian worship. People who lived in Jerusalem commemorated the remembrance of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion by devotional walking, and prayer.

Following the service we will hear a violin/viola duet from Andrea Vogt and Preston Barbare. This is a Palm Sunday gift to the congregation from Andrea and Preston. Invite your neighbors and friends.

Confirmation students will wash the Family Promise laundry at the laundromat in Maynard.

This is the last day to sign up to give an Easter flower. The cost for a lily or a tulip is $8.50. Memorial notes will be printed in the Easter bulletin.

Sign up for the potluck and the Easter egg hunt. If you take a moment to sign your name, I know how many tables to set up, and the confirmation students know how many children to expect for the egg hunt.

Maundy Thursday service at 7:30 pm.

Good Friday service at 7:30 pm.

The brass group rehearses Saturday morning at 9 am.

Easter Sunday worship at 9:30 am.

Easter egg hunt and brunch at 11 am.

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Sunday, March 11, Family Promise host weeks begin

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Lent 2018

Light has come into the world. John 3:10

The damage that the storm did to the trees, and the disruption that it brought to our lives ( two nights and two days, and counting, without power in my house in Sudbury), is inconvenient for people like us, who want–more than almost anything else–to control our environments and be masters of our time. We get the feeling that we are truly children of earth.

In Lent we are invited to meditate on our lives as children of earth. A storm at this time of year can be a timely lesson.

For example, as we come through dark, shivering nights ( the kind of experience we arrange our lives to avoid) we face the contingency and tenuousness of our circumstances, the temporary failure of our dwellings and systems of support.

But being children of the earth is not all hardship. It is a joy and a blessing too. When the weather knocks down our power lines, we might experience unexpected quiet, without all the beeping and blinking and flashing.

We flood the darkness of our lives with electric light. The storm brings deeper darkness, new fears and dangers and, if we are brave enough to receive it, blessed peace. We might be thankful for a little bit of light that leads us safely through a dark house. The light of God’s love can seem like that: just enough to lead us through the darkness and potential dangers of life.

Today, members and friends of Peace, without power in their houses, have been going in and out of the fellowship hall. The kids are playing games. The adults are reading and talking.

In the readings for Sunday we come to a gospel text that includes one of the most familiar passages of scripture: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…. John 3:16. I can hear Billy Graham reading that in his preacher’s voice: …that whosever believeth in him…

The Gospel brings light into our lives. We’ll meditate on the images of life, light and love mixed into this passage from John.

This month we will collect jelly and jam for A Place to Turn in Natick. Place your donation in the basket before you come into church.

Family Promise weeks begin Sunday. You open your church building to families in need of temporary shelter. Thank you.

High school confirmation students meet with Pastor Johnson during the faith formation hour. No afternoon confirmation class this Sunday, March 11.

Midweek prayer Wednesday at noon.

Holy Week

Palm Sunday, March 25, worship at 9:30 am. This is the end of the Family Promise weeks. Confirmation students wash quilts and blankets at the coin laundry in Maynard.

Maundy Thursday 7:30 pm.

Good Friday 7:30 pm.

Sign up in the narthex for Easter flowers and for the Easter morning Easter egg hunt and potluck.

The world did not know God through wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:21.

Adam and Eve, Expulsion from the Garden. Cole, Thomas, 1801-1848 Click to enter image viewer Use the Save buttons below to save any of the available image sizes to your computer.

Adam and Eve, Expulsion from Eden,
Thomas Cole 1828, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

During the weeks of Lent we meditate on the cross as the symbol of our faith, meaning the emblem of what Christians should do, the message we should bear to the world. Two intersecting lines tell the story of salvation. The law and the gospel–God’s holy word–intersect in the angles of the cross. We’ll focus on Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth, which begins with a reorienting statement about the cross, for the Corinthians, who seemed to be divided, opinionated, and not exactly loving. One might say that Paul steps in, locks the door, and sharply demands attention. The cross breaks down divisions between people. The cross quiets loud opinions. The cross establishes that love–not knowledge–is of highest value in the kingdom of God.

Faith formation and adult forum discussion at 11 am.

Confirmation Sunday at 4 pm.

Midweek, midday prayers in Lent, Wednesday at 12 noon. Bring your lunch.

Family Promise weeks begin next Sunday. Sign up to serve at the Family Promise Metrowest website. Young people will be collecting quarters for washing quilts and sheets at the coin laundry in Maynard on the last day of Family Promise.

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34

Christ Carrying Cross. Greco, 1541?-1614 Click to enter image viewer Use the Save buttons below to save any of the available image sizes to your computer.

Christ Carrying the Cross
Greco, 1541

We’ll explore some of the Christian meanings in this passage and in the text that surrounds it. What does it mean to take up your cross? Your cross? We know that the cross of Christ stands for something, but what is your cross? In Lent we try to do what Jesus does. That’s how we become disciples. We’re not invited to be observers; we are invited to be participants. That’s the underlying meaning of Lent. Jesus called to the crowd and to his disciples and invited them to follow him. Most people stayed with the crowd and observed from a distance. Most people today-even most Christians-remain with the crowd. A few followed Jesus. They changed the world.

Forum on our website, email and communications at 11 am.

We need to update our membership directory and our friends mailing list. If you have some time to spend on this task, contact Pastor Johnson.

Confirmation Sunday at 4 pm.

Midweek prayer: Wednesday at 12 noon.

Family Promise weeks begin Sunday, March 11. Sign up for a volunteer position by visiting the Family Promise Metrowest website and clicking on the “Cervis” link.

When my bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. Genesis 9:16

The season of Lent began Wednesday. It lasts for forty days and forty nights, in imitation of Jesus, who was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan (Mark 1:15). The invitation to Lent, which was heard on Ash Wednesday, and which will be read again on Sunday, calls disciples of Jesus to contend against evil and resist whatever leads us away from love of God and love of neighbor. Some of us are good at contending against evil that we identify in other people, but not so good at contending against evil inclinations in ourselves. The spiritual struggle of Lent is within each of us.

The good news, for Christians who claim a Christian life of discipline/discipleship, is that we are not alone in our struggle. Mark writes that there were angels around Jesus throughout his wilderness ordeal. Messengers of God (the saints, hymn writers, teachers) bring us the word and the sacraments. As we destroy ourselves with greed and violence, finger-pointing and vitriol, the good news is that God works to help us with grace and love in Christ. We hold grudges; God forgives. We bear false witness; God is truth. We destroy ourselves and the world around us; God creates, recreates, restores and saves. So, in Lent, we are invited to return to God through self-examination and prayer and acts of kindness.

Earlier this week the council talked about the property repairs that have been identified. An adult forum Sunday will be a discussion of these.

Prayers in Lent Wednesdays at 12 noon. Responsive prayer and a reading from Luther’s Catechism.

Bring in canned goods for A Place to Turn in Natick.

No confirmation class this Sunday, February 18. The next class is Sunday, February 25 at 4 pm.

Family Promise host weeks begin Sunday, March 11. Sign up for a volunteer position on the Family Promise Metrowest website. Scroll down under Get Involved to the Cervis link. Confirmation students will help with the laundry on Sunday, March 25.

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Transfiguration 2018

We make a sharp turn in the church year on Sunday, moving out of the Christmas cycle, into the Easter cycle. Transfiguration signals that we are about to begin the season of Lent.

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…give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6.

The glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus. We find wisdom for our lives and peace for our hearts when the face of Jesus is turned to us in the word and the sacraments, and in our service to those in need.

I hope that you will all make an effort to do something to keep Lent. As I write those words, I know that most of you will do nothing different in Lent. Let me adjust my hope a bit and say: I hope that one or two more of you will keep Lent.

Lent is the planting season. It’s the time in which we exercise our spirits and make room for the light of God’s love in our lives. Catholic piety called people to give up something for Lent, so people would give up chocolate, beer or doughnuts. That’s good and healthy, but unless giving up something that adds fat to your body, also strengthens your faith, or expands your spirit, then it’s just a diet. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s not a Christian thing to do.

In Lent, try to find a way to open up your life to deeper love of God and to a more disciplined love of your neighbor. Try to find ways to open your life to God’s word. Find a disciplined way to help others. Again this year, Family Promise host weeks come in the middle of Lent. Sign up to do volunteer for Family Promise, then prepare for that volunteering by praying for the coordinators, volunteers, and families who work together as a community in Family Promise. Directions for signing up for Family Promise volunteering will come in a separate email.

In the first weeks of Lent I will give more suggestions for Lenten disciplines. One will be to develop habits of keeping silence. Find ways to meditate. Keeping a quiet mind for a few minutes a day can be a rich Lenten discipline. Silent meditation can turn into reflection on scripture, and contemplative prayer, which is something a little different from our group prayers in worship. More to come. For now, I would be happy if a handful of you have in mind that Lent begins Wednesday.

Florence House moms and their children will be here Sunday at 1 pm for a Valentines art project with Kim Poler in her Beehive Art studio. I have asked the confirmation students to play with the children as the moms work on art projects. If confirmed high school students or adults would like to help with this babysitting service to the moms, let me know. Sunday, February 11 from 1 pm until 2:30 pm, in the Peace nursery.

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