A Table Set for You
Post date: Mar 11, 2022 10:37:17 PM
Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,
Lenten blessings to you!
A little while ago I was in the sanctuary setting up for Sunday worship; specifically our Lenten visual area. If you were in worship last week, you may have noticed it — a table draped in purple cloth with a candle, cross, readings, and a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. As this is the first Lent we've had some semblance of “normality” since the pandemic, I thought it would be beneficial to have an illustration of our walk with Jesus in the wilderness, along with the hope that we will be gentle with ourselves during this holy season. I want to encourage us to look for beauty and to trust God in this wilderness time. Let us seek out where we witness the promise of new life and hope, and not death and despair. So, for each Sunday in Lent, the table at the front side of the sanctuary will be set with the Lenten devotional lesson for the week. You are invited to linger at the table and to reflect on the meditation, the painting, and the practices for the week.
Here is a preview: This Sunday, we are asked to light a candle of gratitude each morning and pray God of grace, thank you for the cradle of the world, for the lullaby of your love, and for the brilliant colors of creation. Shelter us under your wings, Mother, and give us the strength to follow you. In Jesus’ name, Amen. The prayer is based on Luke 13.34 when Jesus laments over Jerusalem like a mother: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
Even though there is much despair in our world right now, I pray that each morning when you light your candle of gratitude you will feel just that — gratitude — along with an assurance that God does and always will shelter us under her wings.
I look forward to being with you in person or on FaceBook live this Second Sunday in Lent at 10:30 AM. We have a beautiful worship planned for this Lord’s Day. First, we have a special guest who is sure to bless us with her musical gifts — Stephanie Sussmeier, harpist. She will play Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Skye Boat Song” just to name a few pieces. Second, we have the joy of ordaining and installing our new Deacons and Elders as Officers of the church, and giving thanks to our outgoing Consistory members for their good and faithful service. In addition, as it is the Second Sunday, we will receive our Deacons’ Offering that will go to the RCA Global Mission, specifically the European humanitarian crisis due to the war in Ukraine. I will preach from Psalm 27 and Luke 13.31-35 and my sermon title is The Lament of Jesus. Oh, and lastly, I will read a special story for the Word with the Children called “Foxes and Hens” by Ruth Burgess.
See you on Sunday, beloved one of God! It will be a great day to love and worship the Lord.
In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,