A word about how Presbyterian tradition understands tomorrow, “Maundy Thursday” (from https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/maundy-thursday/):
Maundy Thursday begins the Three Days (or Triduum), remembering the new commandment that Christ gave us in word and deed as he taught us how to love one another, washing our feet as a servant. We also celebrate the Lord’s Supper, remembering the meal Christ shared with his disciples before his death.
The name is taken from the first words sung at the ceremony of the washing of the feet, “I give you a new commandment” (John 13:34); also from the commandment of Christ that we should imitate his loving humility in the washing of the feet (John 13:14-17). The term mandatum (maundy), therefore, was applied to the rite of the foot washing on this day.
The opening service of the Triduum is not inherently mournful. The penitential acts of Maundy Thursday have celebratory aspects as well: restoration through the bold declaration of pardon; the act of foot washing connoting humility and intimacy; the celebration of the Lord’s Supper embodying the mystery of Christ’s enduring redemptive presence. Maundy Thursday’s acts provide the paradox of a celebratively somber and solemnly celebrative service.
In essence, we Presbyterians understand “Maundy Thursday” not just (or even primarily) as the night Jesus was betrayed arrested, and began his final few hours before crucifixion, but rather as the night he instituted through foot washing (in John’s gospel) and in the Lord’s Supper (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) a new commandment to love even as he has loved us.
I find this a helpful lens to put on our service tomorrow with and at White Memorial Presbyterian. Though the traffic will be potentially frustrating; though the setting is unfamiliar and so a bit discomforting; though the subject matter may indeed prompt needed, somber reflection, may we remember also that as we gather together we do so also in joy.
Because it is again (and always) the love of God that has called us together, that has given us breath to pray and praise, that has held us together in the dark of night and the light of day.
I pray that love is real to you today, tomorrow, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and beyond. And I thank you for making that love real to others in ways you may not always realize.
May we consider it all joy,
*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 April 2, Palm Sunday, “Again and Again…God Startles Us.”
Join us next week for Easter Sunday and the message that “Again and Again…God Is With Us!!”
There will be 2 services:
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
*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.
*Good Friday Prayers The sanctuary will be open on Good Friday, April 7 from 9:30am-3:30pm for any who would like to come by and pray. Devotional materials to guide your praying and reflection will be available.
* The church office will be closed Monday, April 10th.
*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!