April 6, 2014

Pastoral Letter

“The Nightmare before Christmas” is one of my favorite animated films, primarily 
because of the visual images. The story revolves around a character from 
Halloween commandeering the traditions of Christmas (the secular elements) 
with disastrous consequences. What emerges in the end is a renewed 
appreciation and passion for one’s own “season.” What I noticed in the story is 
that the seasonal practices and traditions are clear, but thin. In the film, Easter 
was represented by an egg. 
 
While an egg, as a sign of new life, might be appropriate; it does not reflect the 
challenges we face during Holy Week. How do we practice this epic journey in 
the life of Jesus as people who seek to follow him? Easter fosters no massive 
decorating competitions, no lawn figures, and no tree adorned with presents. Our 
music for this week is not catchy, nor filled with stars and shepherds and a 
cooing baby. 
 
However, Holy Week is filled with powerful images. The story lifting up Jesus’ 
final week accounts for more than half of the witness of the four gospels. And if 
you are away on Spring Break that week, you can miss the whole drama. 
 
How do we enter the journey of Holy Week? Better yet, how does the journey of 
Holy Week enter us? I invite you to create room to appreciate each moment 
along our path with Jesus. Pilgrims of every generation have set aside 
distractions to invite Jesus to walk with them through the fears and hopes that 
abide within. 
 
In this pathway, shadowed by cruelty and compassion, we can rehearse the 
power of love’s transforming presence. During this week our LAUMC family will 
have opportunities to: 
- Welcome the Prince of Peace on Palm Sunday, April 13 
   Worship, breaking bread for brunch, children’s activities 
 - Gather at Jesus’ table on Maundy Thursday, April 17 at 6:30 pm 
    Sharing a simple meal, practicing loving kindness 
 - Witness love’s drama on Good Friday, April 18 at 7 pm 
    As our youth recount the story of Jesus passion 
 - Rejoice in a Festival of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 20 
    Discovering the power of love that frees and fulfills us, at: 

 8:30 a.m. with communion 
 9:20 a.m. with the worship band in the Fellowship Hall 
 11:00 a.m. with Sanctuary Choir, Brass and Handbell choirs 
 
May God accompany each of us, and all of us, to the new life that awaits us. 

Pastor Mark