This weekend as we look to enter Holy Week, the art and reflection from Rev Lauren Wright Pittman of “A Sanctified Art” reminds us that again and again, we can draw on courage.
Says Rev Wright-Pittman:
“Jesus lies down on the donkey’s back, steeling himself before his journey through the palms. He has a target on his back—he’s a
disruption to the status quo upheld by the Pharisees and Chief Priests, and a threat to the power of the empire…Jesus plans to enter the city in a way that symbolically subverts power, taking a route opposite of the military leaders who oversee the festival celebrations. His entry would make a definitive statement, imagining an alternative kind of power, a servant leader riding a humble donkey. He knew this act would inch him closer to state-sanctioned torture and death.
“We are in a time when we need to draw on courage to call into question the structures that uphold systems of oppression. We are in a time when we need to subvert the powerful and protect the vulnerable. The crowds close in on Jesus. Some lift their hands in praise, others point accusingly. I hope this image serves as a reminder to call upon God for the courage you need, to rest and recharge for the work ahead. But I hope it also heartens you to move forward in courage, even in the midst of great resistance, toward the work God is calling you into.”
Given the headlines from Nashville this week, I am inclined to agree with, appreciate, and be in great need of these thoughts. Whatever side of the political divide the issue of gun violence finds us, I find at minimum, that all experience the burden of fear, anger, and despair in the face of such tragic loss. I find myself even tempted to look at the thing with cynicism and a lack of hope that it will ever get better. And I find myself exhausted at typing such words again and again and again.
So may Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem give us courage again this weekend and into the week(s) that lie ahead. May it startle us to action–to do not everything, but something that might protect those Jesus so often aligned with the lowly, the vulnerable, the humble. May it call us to abide with a deeper conviction in the peace and restoration Christ brings not only in the future but here and now, through us.
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
See our service from March 26, “Again and Again…God Renews Us.”
Join us on April 2 for Palm Sunday and the message that “Again and Again…God Startles 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.*
*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.
*Maundy Thursday Carpool: This year our Maundy Thursday service will be held on 4/6 at 7pm at White Memorial Willow Springs, Their address is 1459 White Memorial Church Rd., Willow Springs, NC, 27592
WMPC is located about 20 minutes from the church when traffic is flowing! Most of the route is along Highway 50. Rush hour will make the trip a little longer through parts of Garner. Give yourself at least 30-40 minutes of travel time or consider joining a carpool of FPCoG friends meeting at Cadence Senior Center (20 Minglewood Drive, Garner NC 27529) at 6pm. We will return to Cadence at 8:30ish pm. Please contact Rev. Acton with questions about this service.
*Easter Sunday: There are two services on easter at FPCoG:
9am in the Memorial Garden: A short prayer service followed by light refreshments and fellowship
11am in the Sanctuary: A full service of music, prayer, and proclamation that Christ is risen!
Bring flowers to each service to place on the flowered cross
*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.
*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!