Palm Sunday to bring a Progressive Christian look at the crucifixion
“We’re going to try something a little different this year on Palm Sunday,” Pastor Jeff explained at a recent meeting. Because we are between choir directors our choir won’t be presenting a cantata this Palm Sunday. “This gives us an opportunity to explore the Passion narrative, particularly the crucifixion,” Pastor Jeff said.
“While those who attend find the Holy Week Services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday meaningful, attendance is typically low. That means that the church as a whole doesn’t spend time reflecting on the crucifixion, exploring its meaning from a Progressive Christian perspective,” he said. “That’s what I hope to do in my sermon this year.”
The service on April 14 will have an unusual beginning, we don’t want to give anything away here. Be on time to experience what’s planned. Then the service will move into a liturgy with which we are more familiar.
On Maundy Thursday (April 18) we will remember the first Last Supper in a worship service that recalls how the first Christians worshipped: in the context of a meal together. We’ll gather in the fellowship hall and worship together through all aspects of the family meal—food preparation, setting the tables, eating together, reading scripture, conversation, sharing communion, clearing the tables, doing the dishes, and cleaning up. Dinner will include “stone salad,” a salad bar created by the veggies and salad toppings that people (i.e., you) bring, bread, and delicious homemade soup provided by our kitchen angels.
This is a family-friendly service, and people of all ages and abilities will be able to participate. Set-up and food preparation begins at 5:45, with dinner served at 6:15, and clean-up done by 7:45 (ish). Come when you can and leave when you have to.
Good Friday Goes Live (Streaming)
This year, we will be doing something completely new for Good Friday (April 19). Rather than holding one service in the evening, as we usually do, we will offer seven brief (10 minutes or less) prayer services throughout the day, and they will be broadcast in real-time using Facebook Live. You may either tune in virtually by going to the church’s Facebook page and watch each service at the appointed time or drop in to one or more of the services in person in the sanctuary. All the prayer service videos will be available on our Facebook page for later viewing.
Each of the prayer services will focus on one of the seven last words of Christ—a compilation of the words Jesus says from the cross in the four gospels—and will include an introduction, scripture, a question for reflection, time for quiet contemplation, and a closing prayer. We hope that these brief services will help those who are busy or working find time for prayer and contemplation on this important holy day.
8:00 a.m. The First Word: Luke 23:34
10:00 a.m. The Second Word: Luke 23:43
12:00 p.m. The Third Word: John 19:26
2:00 p.m. The Fourth Word: Mark 15:34
4:00 p.m. The Fifth Word: John 19:28
6:00 p.m. The Sixth Word: John 19:30
8:00 p.m. The Seventh Word: Luke 23:46
Two services offered on Easter
Once again, Niles Discovery Church will offer the wider community an Easter Sunrise Service in the Niles Town Plaza at the railroad station. The April 21 service will begin at 6:30 a.m. and will include singing and communion. Pastor Jeff plans to share a retelling of Oscar Wilde’s “The Selfish Giant” as the sermon. This service is BYOC (bring your own chair). As we have in the past couple years, we will head over to the Nile Café after the service for breakfast.
The celebration of the resurrection will continue at the 10:00 festival Easter service, held in the sanctuary. Joy abounds with choruses of “Alleluia,” special anthems from the choir, and communion. The sermon will be a logical follow-up to the Palm Sunday sermon, this Sunday offering “A Progressive Look at the Resurrection.”