As we head into this weekend, it’s important to note we have more of the 2023 Lenten season behind us than we have in front of us.
What this means, of course, is that Easter draws closer—a miracle of new life for which we give thanks. But it also means that the difficulty that precedes that new life—the pain, the shame, the challenge, the vulnerability of human life, and the reality of death—also remain on the path we walk as we follow Christ to the cross and beyond.
Today’s artwork from Rev. Laura Wright Pittman of A Sanctified Art, helps us acknowledge our aversion at times to consider the full meaning of the cross for the Christian Life. She writes about the piece below (emphasis added):
“It is convenient for me to identify with more comfortable, rosy images of Christianity while turning away from the anguish Christ suffered at the hands of earthly power. It’s [a challenge] to try and more fully understand the ugliness of the oppression he endured. For those who know injustice intimately, the cross can be an image of profound identification with Jesus, the one who endured unspeakable agony and rose again.
“On the wall next to my front door hangs a resurrection cross created by a Mexican artisan. I love it so much because you almost can’t see the cross for the flowers. It serves as a reminder to me that death does not have the final word. I drew this image as I attempted to obscure the cross with blooming irises, a flower that represents wisdom and strength. Ultimately, in the negative space, the cross remains.”
The cross remains—for us to confront and carry, for us to ponder and lament, for us to hold onto as a reminder that there is no end to what Christ will do for this world and for us so loved by God. There is no end to Christ’s call for us to love with our whole hearts and lives as well. May we not walk too quickly or too easily past this truth of our faith.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
*In-Person/Livestream Worship: Join us each Sunday at 11:00am in person or online (via Facebook live) for worship!
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
On Sunday, March 19th, we continue our Lenten series “Again and Again” proclaiming how “God Guides Us.”
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship as we continue to contend with COVID and an emerging flu season. We also ask everyone to be still mindful of social distancing and respectful of the personal space of others even as we give thanks for being together.*
- Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). Dress warmly! If you have any questions, contact the church office at 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
- CNCB and Wellness Hygiene Item Drive: Community Navigators, Community Builders Youth group is planning a Women’s Health Event on Saturday, March 18, 10:00am-2:00pm at the church As part of the preparation for the event, the Wellness Activities Ministry team is coordinating with CNCB to have a Women’s Hygiene Item Drive. Items can be brought to the church office during the week or placed in a bin in the Library on Sunday’s. The collection will run through March 12.
*Family Promise Week is April 2-9! We had a wonderful visit from Family Promise on February 26 and are excited to again partner with them by serving meals to the families they host. Contact Lisa Jackson to see how your gifts can be put to use in this mission effort.
*Lent Celebrations! In addition to weekly worship, we have a number of programs that will help us focus on Lent. Wednesday Bible Study by Zoom, Thursday Morning Bible Study in person and online, and a Tuesday night prayer group by Zoom (with an encore on Sunday morning in person). Contact the church office for more information and to get the Zoom links for these groups.
* April Spire articles are due by end of the day on March 21st.
*Building and Grounds Workday March 25: Join us 9:00am-12noon to spruce up our grounds for the spring! Spreading mulch and other outdoor tasks are on the punch list! Bring water, gloves, and your own tools as you desire.
*2023 Vision Update: In January’s edition of the Spire, Rev. Acton wrote about church leaders (session, deacons, and staff) exploring an emerging vision for FPCoG, rooted in the idea of serving our “neighbors.” The Session continued this conversation at its February meeting and approved the following recommendations:
1. Appoint a group that can help develop a consensus among the congregation for a vision of FPCoG rooted in the image of being neighborly towards our local, regional, and global communities.
2. Complete a demographic study of our region to better know who our neighbors are and what their needs might be.
The next step will be identifying people to serve on the “Vision Team” described above and identifying resources to help us complete a demographic study in a helpful way. The Team will be composed of active members of the Session, the Deacons, as well as the congregation. If you might be interested in serving and helping clarify the call God is issuing to FPCoG for its ministry now and into the future, please contact Rev. Acton or Mike Koenig, the Clerk of Session.
*Share FPCoG with Each Other and Our Neighbors! FPCoG is an active church! To help others know this (and to stay up to date yourself), please consider following and asking others to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!
If you have pictures of church events, please share them as well! Send to email@example.com
Stephanie Taylor, our church admin, and our Instagram Volunteer Susie Knabe will take it from there!