This week brings not only the focus of Holy Week, but the energy and buzz of new opportunities and explorations at New Summit Church.
Beginning this Sunday, our congregation will join together with the congregation from Summit Springs Community Church, worshiping together for the month of April. The leadership at New Summit sees this time as a season for building relationships, asking questions, and brainstorming opportunities. As I've mentioned before, I invite you to share your thoughtful questions, and to participate in the process. Most of all, come and worship with us. Meet our new friends.
Now, on to Holy Week. The stories and events (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday) are familiar to you. Allow me to introduce you to the central character, Jesus, in the words of one of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner:
I remember seeing a forest of giant redwoods for the first time. There were some small children nearby, giggling and chattering and pushing each other around. Nobody had to tell them to quiet down as we entered. They quieted down by themselves. Everybody did. You couldn't hear a sound of any kind. It was like coming into a vast, empty room.
Two or three hundred feet high the redwoods stood. You had to crane your neck back as far as it would go to see the leaves at the top. They made their own twilight out of the bright California day. There was a stillness and stateliness about them that seemed to become part of you as you stood there stunned by the sight of them. They had been growing in that place for going on two thousand years. With infinite care they were still growing even now. You could feel them doing it. They made you realize that all your life you had been mistaken. Oaks and ashes, maples and chestnuts and elms you had seen for as long as you could remember, but never until this moment had you so much as dreamed what a Tree really was.
"Behold the man," Pilate said when he led Jesus out where everybody could see him. He can't have been much to look at after what they'd done to him by then, but my guess is that, even so, there suddenly fell over that mob a silence as awed as ours in the forest when for the first time in their lives they found themselves looking at a Human Being. (From Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized)
Thank you, Lord, that being in very nature God, you did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped.
Thank you, Lord, that you emptied yourself.
Thank you, Lord, that you took on the form of a servant.
Thank you, Lord, that you were found in human likeness.
Thank you, Lord, for humbling yourself, and becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Thank you, God the Father, for exalting Jesus the Son to the highest place.
Thank you, God the Father, for giving Jesus the name that is above every name.
May our knees bow, and our tongues confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.