April 19, 2017 Weekly Devotional

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” Even so, the disciples locked themselves behind a closed door out of fear. Fear is defined as being afraid of someone or something that is likely to be dangerous, painful or threatening. The disciples feared for their lives, given their teacher had just been crucified. Even though Simon, Peter and John experienced the empty tomb, and all of the disciples heard Mary’s claim about Jesus on the first day of the week, they still feared. I’m not sure any of us would have been less fearful, if we had been present behind the locked door. Fear is something that we all struggle with when it comes to living out our faith, for our faith calls us into places that we would rather not go. Who hasn’t kept quiet out of fear, rather than speak up? Who hasn’t ignored a need or an injustice, rather than act to right it? As you read John’s account (John 20:19-31) of the disciples locked behind closed doors in preparation for Sunday, reflect on those occasions when fear takes hold of you and directs your steps. Notice what prevents you from speaking up or taking action to usher in a bit of heaven on earth.

Prayer

Resurrecting God, we give thanks for the miracle of Easter. Yet, even as we give thanks, we admit that fear still simmers within us at times. We fear speaking up. We fear being drawn into needs that seem overwhelming. Forgive our fears and set a new right spirit within us, we pray. Equip us to be your people this day and in the days ahead. Amen.

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Easter Tide

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“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” was the culmination of our Lenten journey on Easter morn!  The glorious celebrations of Easter 2017 are now history, yet Easter is not a ending, it is a beginning! Resurrections happen each and every day in our lives, when deadness or dormancy comes to life.  What has God stirred within you this Easter?  Where is there deadness in your life that needs the power of the resurrection? Where has your spirit been dormant and how can the  power of the resurrection enliven your faith?

Christ is alive, for we worship a living God! Live, live in the light of Christ’s goodness!

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April 16th Easter Sunday – “Blessed are the pure in heart…”

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There will be two opportunities to celebrate the glory of Easter, for we worship a Living God – Christ is Risen, Indeed!

At 7:00 am we are all invited to join the community at the Bowl for an ecumenical worship service. Bring a jacket, as one never knows whether it will be brisk on Easter morn!

At 10:00 am you are invited to worship in our sanctuary, as we celebrate the glory of Easter through the diversity of our whole congregation! We will sing, pray and hear of the glory of Easter in multiple languages… English, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish and more. All ages are welcome to join us as we worship our Living God, most fully know to us through Jesus the Christ. Indeed, Christ is alive in and through us, as we faithfully will the “one thing” that we are called to do – to love one another as God loves us.  Come and celebrate with us!

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Good Friday, April 14th – The Passion

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On Good Friday, April 14th there are to opportunities to worship.

At 7:00 pm Indonesian language speakers are invited to gather in the sanctuary to worship and celebrate communion. After the service there will be a time of fellowship.

At 7:30 pm English language speakers are invited to join the Ecumenical worship service taking place at Trinity Episcopal Church located at 419 S. Fourth Street in Redlands.  Seven churches are coming together to pray, to hear the Passion narrative read by multiple voices, and to celebrate the unity of Christ through communion.

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Maundy Thursday April 13th – “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake…”

Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday, we will gather in the sanctuary at 7:00 pm to explore this Beatitude.  What could Jesus have possibly been teaching his disciples, as persecution is not something any of us would clamor for. Is Jesus glorifying persecution?  Not at all, but come to hear more as we gather around the communion table and remember Jesus’ deep love for his disciples and for all people.

 

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Sunday, April 9th – “Blessed are the peacemakers…”

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As we gather to celebrate Palm Sunday on Sunday, April 9th at 9:30 am, through worship we will explore this Beatitude found in the Gospel of Matthew given that Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and not on a war horse. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to establish another way for all of us to be most fully human – to be at peace with one another in a world torn by the powers and principalities of violence, war and death.

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What a Celebration! On Saturday, March 25th we installed the Rev. Cheryl Raine as our Pastor! We concluded the service by singing The Summons which calls us to turn and follow God and never be the same! To God be the glory!

Installation Dr. AppletonInstallation CommissionInstallation ChoirInstallation Preacher2017-03-25 14.59.542017-03-25 14.47.162017-03-25 13.22.39-1Installation Hart TanInstallation Brian and CherylInstallation Commission 2Installation Bob CerinceInstallation Commission 3Installation Choky and Toga

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Lenten Opportunities

We have already begun Lenten opportunities. Wednesday, March 1st was Ash Wednesday and we kicked off with the Imposition of Ashes both in Ed Hale Park downtown, and with an evening service in the sanctuary.

What’s upcoming?

Wednesday, April 5th, at 6:00 pm we will meet in John Knox Hall for our third and final Lenten Supper and Beatitude Study. We will further explore, “Blessed are the merciful…” and “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We will enjoy pizza and salad, asking a small donation from those in attendance to cover the cost of the pizza.

Thursday, April 6th, at 7:00 am we will meet in the sanctuary narthex for Lectio Divina. This devotional way of reading scripture, helps us glimpse how God might be speaking into our lives today. Participants are invited to share how a particular scripture passage speaks into their lives today.

Thursday, April 13th, at 7:00 am we will meet in the sanctuary narthex for our final Lectio Divina this Lenten Season. This devotional way of reading scripture, helps us glimpse how God might be speaking into our lives today. Participants are invited to share how a particular scripture passage speaks into their lives today.

If you would like to be included in our “Beatitudes” email, send us your email address. Every day throughout Lent you will receive an inspirational email with a short prayer. This is the one for Saturday, April 1st:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” As we conclude our week on this Beatitude what have you learned about your hunger and thirst for God? Mary Lou Redding reminds those of us who are well-fed and well-watered that we may be unable to grasp the enormity of the promise of this Beatitude.  Those who first heard this lived in an agrarian society where their lives depended on the bounty of their crops. Theirs was a precarious existence living at the edge of a desert, as there was constant risk of thirst and famine. We live precariously, too, when we settle for being satisfied with being dissatisfied, for our world becomes very small and we miss the grandeur of the world God envisions for us and for all of creation.  May we never settle for being satisfied with being dissatisfied, for then we will be filled!

Prayer

God of the extravagant feast of life, may our hungers and thirsts give us the courage to come and dine with you daily. May we be nourished by your love and equipped by your Spirit to work towards the grandeur of the world you envision for us, for others and for all creation. We give thanks that you beckon us to come and dine, knowing when we do we will be filled. Amen.

 

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Check out the “Sermons” Page!

Pastor Cheryl’s sermons from March 19th and 26th have been added to the Sermons page and even if you were here on Sunday, you may want to read it. It is a thought-provoking, compelling piece, especially poignant for this time.

The sermon title for this coming Sunday is “Grace that Acts”. The Beatitude being explored is, “Blessed are the merciful…” Join us at the 9:30 a.m. worship service to learn what is meant by this intriguing title.

Also, just in case you missed past issues of the monthly newsletter, they have been added to the Messenger page.

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Our Mission

To celebrate the love of God;
To share and live our beliefs;
To educate youth and adults in the teachings of the bible and beliefs of the church;
To work for peace and justice within our church and our community;
and,
To be good stewards of God’s creation.

You are always welcome at First Presbyterian Church.

Sunday Worship at 9:30 am

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