Lent is a season of centering and exploring. It begins with Ash Wednesday, marking a 40-day journey toward Easter. At First Christian Church, Lent is also a time of service. We begin our Lenten Season of Service during this time when we volunteer and support our community in small and big ways. To be part of those volunteer opportunities, sign up here. As we do all this, we consider some key points in Jesus’ journey to the cross. Come, re-familiarize yourself with this Jesus we call the Messiah, the Christ. How he interacted with the people around him reveals God’s love for each of us—especially you.
Here are the various worship experiences ahead of us at First Christian Church during this season leading up to ( and including) Easter. You’ll see times of services and scriptures we’ll be revisiting each gathering. We look forward to these meetings with Jesus. We’d love for you to be part of them, too.
Sunday, 3/1/20 “When Quoting Scripture Isn’t Enough”
Service at 11 am
Psalm 32, Matthew 4:1-11
When Jesus spent 40 days fasting and praying, he was tempted by the devil to renounce his calling and abdicate his role in God’s plan for a new role that would promise him power and popularity. Jesus was strong enough to face those temptations with courage and see through the tempter’s agendas. When we face temptations, we do so with the help of One who has gone before us, One who knows what it means to “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him” in the middle of chaotic forces pulling us away.
Sunday, 3/8/20 “Under Cover of Darkness”
Service at 11 am
Psalm 121, John 3:1-17
How ironic that one of the world’s best-loved Bible verses (John 3:16) was delivered under the context of a covert meeting at night with someone who did not want to be seen supporting Jesus. The word proclaimed in that darkness had to do with a light and a love that would transform the world, in time. That word still challenges us to receive God’s love and explore what it means to be forgiven people.
Sunday, 3/15/20 “Jesus: Seen with the Wrong Kind of Person”
Psalm 86, John 4:5-42
When Jesus met a woman at a well in Samaria, it was on one hand, a non-event. He needed a drink, she had the means to help him get water. On the other hand, it was a loaded conversation that turned into—not only her conversion, but—the conversion of her entire village. God often picks the “wrong kind of people” to transform the world. Or, as we often say, when you invite Jesus into your life, he so often brings along his friends.
Sunday, 3/22/20 “Sinning with the Best of Them”
Psalm 23, John 9:1-41
What does it mean to sin? In Jesus’ day, people assumed that physical problems and health issues were evidence of sin. Flying in the face of that attitude, Jesus healed a man many people assumed was a great sinner in a way many people assumed was a great sin. When we allow God’s grace and healing in our lives, we can so often find ourselves at odds with people who cannot accept that grace and healing are possible for just anyone. God loves those of us who are broken and lost and wounded—even when loving us has difficult consequences.
Sunday, 3/29/20 “Grief and Glory, All at Once”
Psalm 130, John 11:1-45
The story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus is a story of deep grief and sadness as well as triumph and celebration. Here is a glimpse of the way Jesus understood the pain of being human, as well as the response of what God can do for that pain. While John’s Gospel tells of Jesus crying at Lazarus’ grave, it also tells us that Jesus knew, even then, that death is not the end. It is possible to grieve and be grateful, to cry over a loss and celebrate a beginning all at once.
Sunday, 4/5/20 Palm Sunday “With Passion”
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Matthew 21:1-11
Our tradition is to wave palms, cry, “Hosanna!” and give thanks for the “One who comes in the name of the Lord!” Today, we reenact a profoundly exciting and joyful event that carried Jesus into the hardest and most painful part of his journey, a journey that ends with God making all things new. Christians call these events of Jesus’ last week “The Passion,” because of his great trials and suffering, his passionate pleading with God to spare him this pain, and his ultimate willingness to endure great wounds and the cross for the sake of us all. This service is a way of retelling the deepest and most profound story of the depths of betrayal and suffering, leading to a miracle no one saw coming.
Thursday, 4/9/20 Maundy Thursday Service
Service at 7 pm
Some call this day “Holy Thursday.” It is the day we remember Jesus’ last moments with his disciples before he was betrayed, put on trial, beaten, and crucified. Instead of instilling fear in his followers, he invited them to dinner, washed their feet, and prayed while they slept. Here is a Savior who, even at the very limit of his days and time with us, found ways to take care of his people and teach them of the generous grace of God. Jesus invites all to the Table with him, even those who are ready to walk away, even those who don’t know why they stay, even those who are clueless about the next step.
Sunday, 4/12/20 Easter Sunrise Service
Service at 8 am
On the brightest and most joyful of mornings, we gather to whisper together what will eventually be proclaimed from the rooftops: Jesus has risen from the dead! This is a less formal service, with dimmed lights and communion in the round. Children are encouraged to be part of this service in its entirety and to participate in sharing the good news.
Sunday 4/12/20 Celebration of the Resurrection
Service at 11
Acts 10: 34-43, Matthew 28:1-10
When two women ran from the tomb to tell their friends about their mysterious encounter with angels, they found Jesus, ready to cheer them forward. How often it is the case, when we decide to be authentic and honest about what we’ve been put on earth to do, Jesus stands with us and encourages us to follow through with that important work. With the strength, forgiveness, and grace Jesus offers, everything is possible. Hallelujah!