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Just a Thought or Two: Keep Alert With Me

Celebrate at First Methodist!

Easter Sunday – April 16th, 2017

8:30 AM  | Classic Worship
10:00 AM | Classic Worship
in the Sanctuary at First Methodist

11:15 AM | Contemporary Worship
The Open Door at Buskirk-Chumley Theater

KEEP ALERT WITH ME…

What does it look like to keep alert? What does it look like to be so tuned into life and God that you don’t miss the truth and grace that comes your way?

Jesus is about to be arrested. The Galilean has come to Jerusalem, where the big city boys are plotting his arrest and murder. Jesus has gathered with his friends for supper. After the meal, he goes off into a grove of olive trees to pray.

As Jesus heads off into the Garden of Gethsemane, he says this to three of his best friends, Peter, James, and John: “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.”

This is your invitation to keep alert as we gather for worship that marks Jesus’ last supper, the foot washing of the disciples, his arrest and crucifixion, and then the surprise of resurrection. Everything we do this week is intended to bring us all face to face and heart to heart with the miracle of God’s relentless, gracious, transforming love.

Early morning anxiety

Before my eyes opened this morning (I’m writing this on Wednesday afternoon), I was restless and my spirit was anxious; for all sorts of reasons. I crawled out of bed, got ready to head off to the YMCA, and drove Hillside past rows of flowering trees.

My own uneasiness, restlessness, and anxiety were overwhelming my spirit. Then, I saw a mother waiting with her two young children at the school bus stop. As I drove past I saw the mother affectionately tuck a strand of her daughter’s hair behind her left ear, and then the mother gently placed her hand on top of her daughter’s head. It seemed like such a sign of love and grace.

I was alert. It seemed to me God was giving me a sign, and it was a sign I needed.

The mother’s act reminded me of the love of God, the tenderness of God, the faithfulness of God in continuing to show up. Instantly in that moment, my anxious heart was transformed into a heart filled with peace. I whispered to myself, as I continued on towards the YMCA, “God loves us and God provides.”   I was set free to pay attention to the world around me and to live the day as fully as possible.

Other signs

This week is full of signs that remind us and teach us who God is…and who God will be.  So, I want to invite you to stay alert and join us as we walk with Jesus, stay with Jesus, through the powerful moments of this Holy Week.

Stay alert. You may see something or hear something that will change everything…starting with you!

Grace and peace,

Mark

 

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Continue your Holy Week Experience…

At our Easter Vigil (Saturday Night) we welcome the light of resurrection in the darkness of Saturday evening. (11:40pm at the labyrinth in the 4th Street Courtyard)

Then, in the light of Easter Morning, we’ll have 3 celebrations…  8:30 & 10 AM in the Sanctuary & 11:15 AM at the Buskirk-Chumley.  There’s still time to invite your friends and family to join us this weekend.

If you are a regular attendee at our 10 o’clock service, on Easter Sunday consider shifting to the 8:30 service to create more room for first-time guests to visit at 10 AM.

For those of you who are able, please park away from the front doors so newcomers and older folks can have the better spots.

 

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Please remember on Easter Sunday, our offering will support the Korean Parsonage project.  Join others in giving generously.  Our goal is $20,000 and already we have a $6,000 head start!

If you missed the announcement, read more about it here.

 

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