Just these lines, my friends …
… to say these holy days are filled with so much: a donkey on Palm Sunday worship, children waving palm branches, memorable moments in Jerusalem Marketplace Family Worship, a sermon about the tears of Palm Sunday (you can watch here) and an interfaith prayer vigil on behalf of the suffering people of Ukraine in front of the Matthews Town Hall. Imagine 175 persons representing multiple faith traditions, witnesses from the Ukrainian community, powerful prayers and beautiful music…I wish all could have experienced this coming together in our community. You can read my closing words for the Prayer Vigil below:
Aleksadr Solzhenitsyn once wrote: “At no time has the world been without war. Not in seven or ten or twenty thousand years.” But this reality does not justify a new war. Nor does it leave us with no choice but resigned acceptance of a chaos that threatens the integrity of human life.” What can – what must – we do?
- Well, first of all tonight, let’s prioritize the care of those whose lives have been cruelly upended by unconscionable aggression.
- Secondly, let’s be ready to welcome and support those who flee the consequences of war.
- Let’s continue to express our denunciation of this violent aggression ordered by Russia’s leader and perpetrated by its military.
- Let’s guard our hearts against the growth of hatred, even in the midst of justified anger.
Above all, let’s continue to pray for peace.
So, if Easter is a day of victory, then what has been defeated? The answer to that question is found in the stories of Holy Week. After Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem:
- He cursed a fig tree for not being fruitful.
- He emptied the temple of self-serving moneychangers.
- He confronted religious leaders who questioned his authority.
- He challenged notions of financial stewardship by praising a poor widow.
- He warned his followers of imminent persecution and called them to vigilance.
And that’s before we even get to Maundy Thursday, before we enter the upper room. If we have any inclination to jump ahead to Easter morning, the Bible proclaims, “Not so fast. You’re not ready. There is much you need to hear.”
If you want to experience a truly powerful, meaningful Easter finish, then start the journey today with humility, repentance, and obedience to God. Remember your membership vows and use the remaining days of Holy Week as a time for spiritual renewal.
- Offer God your Prayers of praise, confession, gratitude, and intercession for others.
- Worship God with your Presence, with less a need to be entertained and more a desire to glorify God.
- Present God your Gifts, not for your own benefit, but for the work of God’s Kingdom.
- Pledge to God your Service, knowing that your only reward may be a cross.
- Honor God with your Witness to others, inviting them to experience God’s love with you.
At the very least, I invite you to join us for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, not just Easter morning. Allow the services of Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday to stir your conscience and call you to discipleship. For the full schedule of Holy Week, click here. I hope you’ll invite others to join you.
Coming Together, Following Jesus, Changing Lives
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week, titled The Week of All Weeks.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us this Sunday in person or online at 6:45 am (sunrise service – in person only), 8:15 am (traditional – in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary), 9:30 United Kids Easter Jam (family worship- in person only in the Gym with butterfly release at 10:30 in the Courtyard), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
Our Spanish-speaking CCH community will gather for special services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (7:30 pm) in The Commons with their theme, What Did Jesus Say About the Cross. On Easter Sunday, the community will unite at first light (6:45 am) outside the Eagle’s Nest and then again in the Sanctuary at 12:30 pm for a resurrection service. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Acts 10:37-42 with his sermon title, A Story to Tell.
I look forward to seeing you participating in the worship services of this most Holy Week. This will be our first in-person Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise and Easter Sunday in three years (since April 2019). These services of worship will move us deeply. My sermon for that “great gettin-up-in-the-mornin” day is titled Living Within Earshot of Easter from Matthew 28:1-10. By the way, our Easter morning will be filled with some musical surprises.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
A most Holy Week,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Carrie Todd and Dustin Belk tilled soil at the Genesis Garden, preparing it for spring planting? Carrie is organizing a planting day on Saturday, April 30 from 9am-2pm for our Genesis Garden, one of our Global Impact Ministries. Come for an hour or stay until we finish! Green thumbs are NOT a requirement! Wear your gardening clothes and bring water/snacks.
Did you know that, just this past week, Home2Home Ministries picked up 59 items from donations made from 3 different families, and delivered 3 mattresses, box springs, bed rails and dressers to a family that had been sleeping on the floor? The mom had her entire family join the H2H volunteers in their prayer circle. In addition, Home2Home is helping the Habitat Family who will be moving into their new house in May with new beds for the family along with many other items for their house. What a blessing to be working with these wonderful families!
Did you know Sue Sproat was recognized by Mayor John Higdon at the Monday, April 11 meeting of the Matthews Town Council? Sue has announcement her retirement from her remarkable stint as leader of Christ Our Shepherd Kids (C.O.S.Kids). Thank you, Sue, for your faithful leadership.
Did you know that Miia Harris made her red carpet debut in LA at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards? Her movie premiere for Monster High aired a teaser and she is now off to Israel! Just a few short years ago Miia shared her vocal gifts with us as she led worship as a Youth. Let’s keep her in our prayers!
Did you know that Jeanette Kestler (center) decorated dozens of eggs for Seasoned To Perfection to use as decorations at their Easter meal on Tuesday? They really added to the ambiance that Sandra Frye (left) and Shirley Mabe (right) create every week for all to enjoy who attend STP.