It's hard to believe that Lent is drawing to a close - a week from today is Good Friday; this Sunday is Palm Sunday (read Matthew 21:1-11 for the story), the beginning of Holy Week. Here's why you should care.
Lent and, especially, Holy Week are gifts to us. As the holiest days of the year, the next week offer us new perspective and a chance to think, pray, read, and worship in ways that draw the rest of our lives into closer examination.
We have in Jesus a Savior and a Lord who serves. He both modeled and commanded service when he washed feet (John 13). You'll have two very different opportunities to follow him into service this week.
Meet in The Commons at Central tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. and join us in repair work at the House of Hope's Men's Shelter, which sustained notable damage during Hurricane Matthew. Bring gloves and a good attitude and there will be many ways you can contribute. Be part of the Maundy Thursday service (7:00 p.m.) and show humility as you wash another's foot, then allow another to wash yours - an acknowledgment that we need to serve and be served; to clean and be cleansed.
We have in Jesus a King who enters the fray of the world from a very different position than any other king. His humility and connection with the downtrodden are mocked by the powerful, until they begin to sense the legitimacy of his power. We'll celebrate that entrance and its meaning Sunday.
Also on Sunday our children will participate in "The Way of the Cross" during the Sunday School hour. This is modeled after the Stations of the Cross tradition. The children's will be housed on Central's property, but you can be part of one through downtown Florence next week on Good Friday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in The Commons. In both cases the point is to hear and reflect on Jesus' trial, betrayal, and death, a reminder of his endless love and mercy and a call to follow him wherever he leads, even when struggle, suffering, and derision are involved.
Each Sunday we sing God's praise. This Sunday the children will sing offerings to God - the Preschool Choir at 9:00; elementary-aged choirs at 11:15, the last under Sharon Tanner's direction (after 12 years of leading children's choirs here). Please thank Sharon for her dedicated and gifted service.
The Lenten Spirituality Center is available to you all weekend and throughout next week. It's located in Spears Fellowship Hall and each exercise offers a different way to draw near to God. I hope you'll make time to go to the LSC before Lent is over.
There is more to tell you about related to Holy Week. I'll do that Monday. The point of all of it, of course, is to give meaningful attention to who God is, as revealed in Jesus Christ, and to draw nearer to God through him. There is no better week than the week to come to help us do just that. Please accept the gift available to you.