We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
WE PRAY: A PERSONAL PRAYER
O God, Lots of people will stream through the doors of our church this weekend. They will come on Good Friday hungry for your love, poured on a cross, to be made real for them. They will come on Easter Sunday looking for new life, believing or wanting to believe the resurrection, and thirsty for the everlasting and abundant life you offer. I pray for each one of them today, God. For each man. For each woman. For each child. For the young and the old. For the confident and the timid. For the happy and the miserable. For those who are on top of the world and those at their wits ends. I pray for the one who comes only because it is a custom but doesn’t believe a word of it. And I pray for the one who has been gone a long time, and this is a moment of welcome home. I pray for those who are looking for a fresh start, and those who just want to get through the day. I pray for all of them, and for each of them. You know what they need, God, far more than they do. I pray that they might be open to receive it.
And for me, God. I pray that you might raise up that which is dead and dying in me, and bring me to new life. In the words of the great Israel Houghton song, “I’m trading my sorrows. I’m trading my shame. I’m layin’ it down for the joy of the Lord. I’m trading my sickness. I’m trading my pain. I’m layin’ it down for the joy of the Lord.”
It’s time for Easter. For this beautiful stream of humanity that pours through our doors. And for me. In the name of the crucified and risen savior, Jesus the Nazarene. Amen.
KEY VERSES FOR THE WEEK
Mark 16:3 – They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Read the whole scripture for this Sunday’s sermon here: Mark 15:46-16:8.
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
Have you ever had to get to the other side of something? How did you make it through?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
I hope you will come to our Service of the Tenebrae tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. It is such a powerful service, remembering the events of Good Friday, the suffering and humanity and love of Jesus. We begin with seven lighted candles, and extinguish them one at a time as we consider the words Jesus spoke while on the cross.
Easter Sunday, my sermon is titled The Other Side. At our Westheimer Campus, traditional Easter services will be at 8, 9, 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Encounter Worship will be at 9:15 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The Story Houston will have a sunrise service at 7 a.m. on Blanton Field and additional services at 9:30 and 11:05 a.m. in the Activity Center. Gethsemane Campus services are at 9:00 and 11:15 a.m. Please note that we will have shuttle parking running all morning from the Central Market parking lot on the corner of Westheimer and Weslayan. Briar Club parking is not available on Easter. Children under five can’t ride the shuttle because of car seat laws, but drop ‘em off at the church and come back and park. It will make your life so much easier and less hectic, and it is going to be fun! Consider giving up your spot in generosity and service… You can check out all the information about Good Friday and Easter services here: http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/easter
Sunday | March 27
Shine in our hearts Risen Lord Jesus with your radiant light that overcame the darkness of sin and death. May the brilliant light of the resurrection draw others into everlasting light and life. Amen. Action: Celebrate Easter by worshiping at St. Luke’s and then spending time with family and friends.
Monday | March 28
Risen Lord, you give us the gift of peace even as you send us out into the world to serve you and one another in humility and love. We thank you for your peace and for your abiding Spirit. Amen.
Tuesday | March 29
O God, we are both comfortable and uncomfortable because you know every aspect of our lives and that we have no place to hide from you. So, please take our hand and lead us into a fullness of life with you. Amen.
Wednesday | March 30
Holy God, Jesus said he was “the way, the truth and the life” and that we should walk in his ways. Jesus’ journey was not easy. Grant us strength, courage and endurance as we follow in his steps. Amen.
Thursday | March 31
O God, thank you for the means of grace, in which your Holy Spirit nourishes our souls. Renew in us a desire to practice these disciplines and to build up our faith so that we may better serve you and others in love. Amen.
Friday | April 1
Lord, we come to you today seeking wisdom. We know that our human understanding is limited, so we ask for your divine guidance in our lives. May you bless us with the wisdom and discernment that leads to your Kingdom. Amen.
Saturday | April 2
Heavenly Father, you are almighty and all powerful. We seek your Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts for worship tomorrow. Help us to experience your Holy presence in church and wherever we go. Amen.