Lent 2020

March 1/First Sunday in Lent

Lenten penitence engages the dark places in our lives that we may come face to face with them, name them, understand them, and seek forgiveness for them.  It’s not about guilt but rather the freedom from the control that our fears and insecurities have over us. Our message, Have I Got A Deal For You, will come from Matthew 4:1-11. Our worship will also include the celebration of Holy Communion.

March 8/Second Sunday in Lent

Under the cover of darkness, the scholarly Nicodemus pays a visit to Jesus.  As the conversation between them unfolds, we find Jesus exercising a bit of rabbinical irony, changing our place in the story.  Suddenly, there is room for our ignorance too.  Nicodemus reminds us that even the best educated and authoritative among us are still searching. Our message, Clandestine Questions, will come from John 3:1-17.

March 15/Third Sunday in Lent

Preaching professor Pastor Anna Carter Florence offers several questions that we might bring to this lengthy, yet familiar text.  “What rules is Jesus breaking to talk with us?  What social conventions is he disregarding?  What lines is he stepping across in order to speak about what truly matters?”  Sometimes we let “the way it is” determine what we can or are willing to see.  Let us remember that Jesus has a distinct fondness for overstepping boundaries. Our message, H-2-Oh!, will come from John 4:5-42.

March 22/Fourth Sunday in Lent

Henry David Thoreau once said that some circumstantial evidence is so strong as to be almost impossible to refute, such as when you find a trout in a pail of milk.  Jesus’ healing of the man born blind (John 9) is fraught with controversy.  Everyone is running around questioning, assigning blame, arguing, and nitpicking the situation, blind to the wondrous gift of healing that had occurred. Our message, All I Know Is…, will come from John 9:1-41.

March 29/Fifth Sunday in Lent

At the epicenter of the Biblical story is displacement—of a wandering folk, longing to find a place to call home.  This is the underlying plot of being cast out of Eden, living as foreigners in Egypt, sojourning in the wilderness, and the longing of the exiles in Babylon to return the land of their ancestors.  In the midst of this longing, God offers the prophet Ezekiel a vision. Our message, Bones of Contention, will come from Ezekiel 37:1-14.

April 5/Palm-Passion Sunday

By entering Jerusalem with the crowds laying down their cloaks before him and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David,” Jesus triggered one tripwire too many.  The Roman rulers and the Jewish religious authorities can no longer pretend that he is insignificant, that he’s merely a fad, that he’s not dangerous.  On Palm Sunday, Jesus deliberately provokes the crisis that will end with him nailed to a cross.  This leads us to the question: “What does it feel like to have less than a week to live?” Our message, Parade or Demonstration?, will come from Matthew 21-1-11. Our service will include the sharing of Holy Communion.