We often find ourselves in rooms filled with many people who are strangers to us, but yet a shared experience is being developed. Whether this be in a hospital waiting room, a grocery store, a concert hall, or even a church building, every day we are experiencing life in a community with people we do not know. We all have different stories that led us where we are today, but now we are here together with something in common. Join us this week as we move beyond simply being strangers in the same room and build up the welcoming community that is within us all.
Easter is the celebration of God’s willingness and ability to overcome anything, even death, for you and me. The first disciples of Jesus could not believe the news that Jesus was risen from the dead; that God, through Jesus, had overcome death to show us love and to be with us. It seemed like nonsense to them. Today we can still be in disbelief about God’s love and goodness, but it is not nonsense. It is God’s good news to each of us!
Selected Readings from Luke 19, 22 and 23 Journey with us through the final week of Jesus’ life as we await the joy of Easter. Remembering and retelling the full story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, betrayal, trial and crucifixion helps us grow in our appreciation for God’s great love through Jesus Christ. There is no joy in Easter without the pain and sacrifice of this Holy Week.
Keeping hope and faith can be very difficult as we become frustrated waiting and longing for things to get better. We do not suffer alone. God is with us and God’s healing love and grace are always possible. Scripture reminds us that we do not grieve or hope as the world does, but as people who have a deep faith that God is not finished with good and loving works in our lives.
Sometimes it is difficult to believe the amazing things that God is doing or that God wants us to be part of doing. The story of Thomas shows us that we can have faith in God’s amazing love and work because God is there is to help us through our disbelief. How can we as faithful people trust in God and God’s work?
When Jesus encounters a paralyzed man on a mat waiting to be healed, it is a Sabbath day, when it is illegal to heal or do any work. Jesus shows us that helping to ease suffering is something we should be part of matter the circumstance, timing or law. How can we follow the example of Jesus anytime we encounter pain?
God does not cause or desire our suffering, but we often ask God why when we are in the midst of pain and hurt. It is helpful to remember in these times that God is with us and we do not suffer alone or at the hands of a punitive God. How can we help others when they are suffering? Join us this weekend as we explore the story of Job and learn how to be a loving presence in the midst of pain.
God is constantly calling us to love and serve the world around us, often in new directions, but sometimes we feel inadequate. We hope that someone else will take care of the problems God is calling us to solve. Join us this weekend as we explore the story of Moses and discover how God equips us and goes with us in whatever we are called to do.
Jesus lived on Earth fully God and fully human, and dealt with insult, pain, suffering and injustices. Remembering that even Jesus had these struggles helps us to realize that asking why is normal. Jesus gives up his life at the hands of his persecutors and questions why. How can we too cry out in our times of struggle and yet remain faithful children of God?
Forgiveness is about more than just repairing an individual relationship. It is about a lifestyle we are called to live as God’s children. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that we will be best friends with those we need to forgive, but it does mean that our hearts (and hopefully theirs) are opened to the peace that God wants for us. How can we let go of hurts and wrongs and grasp tight to the sacred value found in each human being?