Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
John’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with only 8 verses in chapter 12, but adds a twist to the story – the name of Lazarus appears in verse 17. Following the crowd’s shouts of “Hosanna!” John writes a prophetic passage that shows a king riding on a donkey’s colt. Only after the resurrection of Jesus do the disciples come to understand what the entrance into Jerusalem on that day meant. Only after the resurrection of Jesus does the crowd that had witnessed the raising of Lazarus from the dead come to understand the significance of that event.
Often we do not understand significant events in our lives until later. Something happens or is said to us, then years later it suddenly dawns on us: “That’s what happened!” or “That’s what he/she meant!” Just so, we cannot fully understand what Palm/Passion Sunday means as an isolated event, however triumphal it may have been at the time. It becomes the triumph of life over death and a sign of the kingship of Jesus because it leads to his passion, death and resurrection.
On Sunday, we will wave our palms in joyful imitation of that day nearly 2000 years ago. But let our palms find their place at the foot of the cross, where we find the great compassion of Jesus and the power to bring life out of death.
For the past several weeks we have been journeying with Jesus through the gospel of John. In this remarkable Lenten journey, we have followed Jesus’ footsteps, remembering the things Jesus said and did leading up to his crucifixion. Along the way, we have considered these questions: Who is Jesus? How does he bring life to me? And what should be our response to this gift of life?
At the 10:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, we will continue our Lenten sermon series on Jesus in the Gospel of John. Our Palm/Passion service will begin with a celebration of the Palms and conclude with a sermon, “That’s Our King!” and Holy Communion. Please plan to join us for worship – and bring a friend!
During Holy Week next week, we have several opportunities for worship and fellowship.
- On Maundy Thursday, April 2, we will have a special service at 7 p.m. that will include Holy Communion and stripping the altar.
- On Good Friday, April 3, the sanctuary will be open from noon to 3 p.m. for anyone who would like to stop by for prayer and meditation.
- Then on Friday evening, join us for a special worship service at 5:30 p.m. at Anathoth Community Garden.
Our annual Youth Group Ham and Egg Breakfast and UMW Bake Sale will be from 6:30-9:30 a.m. on the Saturday before Easter, April 4. Then we will have a Kids’ Day and Easter Egg Hunt from 10-11 a.m. We will have crafts, stories and an Easter egg hunt! We need to collect plastic eggs and candy to fill them. If you can contribute these items to Kids’ Day, just drop them by the church office. Thanks! Make plans now to support the Community Youth Group at the Ham and Egg Breakfast and bring items for the UMW bake sale.
On Easter Sunday, April 5, we have two worship opportunities – Community Sunrise Service at Eno Presbyterian Church at 7 a.m. with breakfast following and our Easter Service at CGUMC at 10:30 a.m. Please note that we will not have Sunday School on Easter Sunday. Please make plans to participate in all the wonderful activities we have lined up for Holy Week!
Please plan to join us for our Bible Study, “Jesus’ Final Week,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. My wife Christine is leading us through this study. Study guides are available – see you there!
Two of our youth, Calli and Ava Rountree, have gone on a mission trip to Haiti during spring break. They will be going with a group to paint a newly built high school, visit an orphanage and spend time with the Haitian people. Let’s pray that God will give them the strength, knowledge and creativity to bring the gospel message to the Haitian people in both words and actions.
Every minute, someone in the world dies from malaria. Children are the most susceptible to this disease, yet malaria is 100% preventable. You can help Change the World! Got any change in your pocket or purse? Drop it in our bucket beside where we put our canned goods for OCIM. Your gifts will provide nets, medication and education as together we “Imagine No Malaria.”
Bring your canned goods and other nonperishable food items each week and drop them in our food collection baskets in the narthex. Your gifts are taken to the food pantry at OCIM in Hillsborough, where they will be distributed to families throughout northern Orange County. Thank you for touching the lives of others through this wonderful mission!
Our annual Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive is on! Three years ago, we set a goal of 50 shoeboxes and collected 51. Two years ago, we set a goal of 75 shoe boxes and collected 100!!! Last year, we set a goal of 100 shoeboxes and collected 143!!!
For 2015, we’re setting our goal for 144 shoeboxes, but I am confident we can top even that total! To help keep this ministry before us throughout the year, we are again collecting items for shoe boxes each month. These items will be stored at the church until early November, when we will have another shoe box packing pizza party.
- For April, we are asking that you donate washcloths.
Our large blue Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child box is in the narthex for collecting the items each month. What an exciting way to bless children throughout the world! Your gifts will show the love of Christ and the power of the gospel to a child whose life you will indelibly touch, even though you may never meet that child.
You can follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in a number of ways:
On Saturday, at 2 p.m., we will celebrate the life of Jean Liner McDade, who passed away on Monday at the age of 96. Let us keep the family and our entire church family in prayer.