Messages from Pastor Fred

Sunday, April 18, 2021
Third Sunday of Easter

Introduction

The gospel for the third Sunday of Easter is always one in which the risen Christ shares food with the disciples, meals that are the Easter template for the meal we share each Sunday. In today’s gospel, Jesus both shares the disciples’ food and shows them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection through the scriptures, the two main elements of our Sunday worship.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 3:12-19  Health and forgiveness through the risen Jesus
Psalm 4  The Lord does wonders for the faithful. (Ps. 4:3)
1 John 3:1-7  The revealing of the children of God
Luke 24:36b-48  Eating with the risen Christ

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, April 11, 2021
Second Sunday of Easter

Introduction

The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 4:32-35  The believers’ common life
Psalm 133  How good and pleasant it is to live together in unity. (Ps. 133:1)
1 John 1:1–2:2  Walking in the light
John 20:19-31  Beholding the wounds of the risen Christ

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, April 4, 2021
Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day

Introduction

Christ is risen! Jesus is alive, and God has swallowed up death forever. With Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, we may feel astonished and confused, unsure of what to make of the empty tomb. But this is why we gather: to proclaim, witness, praise, and affirm the liberating reality of Christ’s death and resurrection. In word and feast, we celebrate God’s unending love, and depart to share this good news with all the world. Alleluia!

Readings and Psalm

Acts 10:34-43  God raised Jesus on the third day
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24  This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24)
1 Corinthians 15:1-11  Witnesses to the risen Christ
Mark 16:1-8  The resurrection of Jesus is announced, and the response is one of terror and amazement.

Read the full Easter Sunday Bulletin here.


Thursday, April 1, 2021
Maundy Thursday

Introduction

This evening our Lenten observance comes to an end, and we gather with Christians around the world to celebrate the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Tonight we remember Christ’s last meal with his disciples, but the central focus is his commandment that we live out the promise embodied in this meal. As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so we are called to give and receive love in humble service to one another. Formed into a new body in Christ through this holy meal, we are transformed by the mercy we have received and carry it into the world. Departing worship in solemn silence, we anticipate the coming days.

Readings and Psalm

Exodus 12:1-4 [5-10] 11-14  The passover of the Lord
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19  I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (Ps. 116:13)
1 Corinthians 11:23-26  Proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes
John 13:1-17, 31b-35  The service of Christ: footwashing and meal

Read full Bulletin here (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday)


Friday, April 2, 2021
Good Friday

Introduction

Life and death stand side by side as we enter into Good Friday. In John’s passion account, Jesus reveals the power and glory of God, even as he is put on trial and sentenced to death. Standing with the disciples at the foot of the cross, we pray for the whole world in the ancient bidding prayer, as Christ’s death offers life to all. We gather in solemn devotion, but always with the promise that the tree around which we assemble is indeed a tree of life. We depart silently, and we anticipate the culmination of the Three Days in the Easter Vigil.

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 52:13–53:12  The suffering servant
Psalm 22  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Ps. 22:1)
Hebrews 10:16-25  The way to God is opened by Jesus’ death
John 18:1–19:42  The passion and death of Christ

Read full Bulletin here (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday)


Sunday, March 28, 2021
Sunday of the Passion / Palm Sunday

Introduction

This week, the center of the church’s year, is one of striking contrasts: Jesus rides into Jerusalem surrounded by shouts of glory, only to be left alone to die on the cross, abandoned by even his closest friends. Mark’s gospel presents Jesus in his complete human vulnerability: agitated, grieved, scared, forsaken. Though we lament Christ’s suffering and all human suffering, we also expect God’s salvation: in the wine and bread, Jesus promises that his death will mark a new covenant with all people. We enter this holy week thirsty for the completion of God’s astonishing work.

Fountain of living water,
pour out your mercy over us.
Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free.
Rebuild what we have ruined
and mend what we have torn.
Wash us in your cleansing flood.
Make us alive in the Spirit
to follow in the way of Jesus,
as healers and restorers of the world you so love.
Amen.

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 50:4-9 The servant of the Lord submits to suffering
Psalm 31:9-16 Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (Ps. 31:5)
Philippians 2:5-11 Humbled to the point of death on a cross
Mark 14:1–15:47 The passion of the Lord

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, March 21, 2021
Fifth Sunday in Lent

Introduction

God promises Jeremiah that a “new covenant” will be made in the future: a covenant that will allow all the people to know God by heart. The church sees this promise fulfilled in Christ, who draws all people to himself when he is lifted up on the cross. Our baptismal covenant draws us to God’s heart through Christ and draws God’s love and truth into our hearts. We join together in worship, sharing in word, song, and meal, and leave strengthened to share God’s love with all the world.

Readings and Psalms

Jeremiah 31:31-34  A new covenant written on the heart
Psalm 51:1-12  Create in me a clean heart, O God. (Ps. 51:10)
Hebrews 5:5-10  Through suffering Christ becomes the source of salvation
John 12:20-33  The grain of wheat dying in the earth

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, March 14, 2021
Fourth Sunday in Lent

Introduction

The fourth of the Old Testament promises providing a baptismal lens this Lent is the promise God makes to Moses: those who look on the bronze serpent will live. In today’s gospel Jesus says he will be lifted up on the cross like the serpent, so that those who look to him in faith will live. When we receive the sign of the cross in baptism, that cross becomes the sign we can look to in faith for healing, for restored relationship to God, for hope when we are dying.

Readings and Psalm

Numbers 21:4-9  The lifting up of the serpent
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22  You deliver your people from their distress. (Ps. 107:19)
Ephesians 2:1-10  Saved by grace through faith for good works
John 3:14-21  The lifting up of the Son of Man

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, March 7, 2021
Third Sunday in Lent

Introduction

The third covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the central one of Israel’s history: the gift of the law to those God freed from slavery. The commandments begin with the statement that because God alone has freed us from the powers that oppressed us, we are to let nothing else claim first place in our lives. When Jesus throws the merchants out of the temple, he is defending the worship of God alone and rejecting the ways commerce and profit-making can become our gods. The Ten Commandments are essential to our baptismal call: centered first in God’s liberating love, we strive to live out justice and mercy in our communities and the world.

Readings and Psalm

Exodus 20:1-17  The commandments are given at Sinai
Psalm 19  The commandment of the Lord gives light to the eyes. (Ps. 19:8)
1 Corinthians 1:18-25  Christ crucified, the wisdom of God
John 2:13-22  The cleansing of the temple

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, February 28, 2021
Second Sunday in Lent

Introduction

The second covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the one made with Abraham and Sarah: God’s promise to make them the ancestors of many, with whom God will remain in everlasting covenant. Paul says this promise comes to all who share Abraham’s faith in the God who brings life into being where there was no life. We receive this baptismal promise of resurrection life in faith. Sarah and Abraham receive new names as a sign of the covenant, and we too get new identities in baptism, as we put on Christ.

Readings and Psalm

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16  God blesses Abraham and Sarah
Psalm 22:23-31  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)
Romans 4:13-25  The promise to those who share Abraham’s faith
Mark 8:31-38  The passion prediction

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here.


Sunday, February 21, 2021
First Sunday in Lent

Introduction

On Ash Wednesday the church began its journey toward baptismal immersion in the death and resurrection of Christ. This year, the Sundays in Lent lead us to focus on five covenants God makes in the Hebrew Scriptures and to use them as lenses through which to view baptism. First Peter connects the way God saved Noah’s family in the flood with the way God saves us through the water of baptism. The baptismal covenant is made with us individually, but the new life we are given in baptism is for the sake of the whole world.

Readings and Psalm

Genesis 9:8-17  The rainbow, sign of God’s covenant
Psalm 25:1-10  Your paths, O Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ps. 25:10)
1 Peter 3:18-22  Saved through water
Mark 1:9-15  The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Ash Wednesday

Introduction

On Ash Wednesday we begin our forty-day journey toward Easter with a day of fasting and repentance. Marking our foreheads with dust, we acknowledge that we die and return to the earth. At the same time, the dust traces the life-giving cross indelibly marked on our foreheads at baptism. While we journey through Lent to return to God, we have already been reconciled to God through Christ. We humbly pray for God to make our hearts clean while we rejoice that “now is the day of salvation.” Returning to our baptismal call, we more intentionally bear the fruits of mercy and justice in the world.

Readings and Psalm

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17  Return to the Lord, your God
Psalm 51:1-17  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love. (Ps. 51:1)
2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10  Now is the day of salvation
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21  The practice of faith

Read the full Ash Wednesday Bulletin here.