Dear Friends through Christ:
My how time flies. Hard to believe Easter is upon us again. But it is. Hard to believe that just three years ago, Peace did not have Easter services. But believe that too. Even harder to believe that two thousand years ago, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” But believe it we must! Because our faith is the only thing needed to stand before God when time ceases to fly by. And folks, this faith comes by hearing God’s word. Make some time during this Holy Season to hear that Word.
A good group of Saints and Sinners at Peace Lutheran (30-40) traveled through Lent these past six weeks, every Wednesday, examining how a person crosses over from the Law of God to the Love of God. We learned that if humanity could keep the law of God, the ten commandments, teaching, instructions, our world would be paradise. But we also learned human beings cannot keep the law of God. These teachings exist to show you and I our sin. Why? Because we are addicts. Humanity is addicted to sin. We learned the only bridge to move from the Law of God to the Love of God is the Cross of Christ. The Cross! The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the only solution to our addiction.
So, what do we do? Nothing! There is not a darn thing we can do. Our eternal salvation is out of our hands. The Cross of Jesus Christ has already done it all! But for the most part, we don’t like this. Too easy. Too cheap. There’s gotta be something, anything I can do, to at least contribute to my salvation. But there isn’t. Your good works don’t mean squat. Your strong freewill will only get you into more trouble. Only your faith makes you right with God. Faith is what God wants. Faith is what Adam and Eve lost in the garden and this faith is restore by grace alone through the Cross of Jesus. Grace says, “Believe this! And everything is already done!” Your salvation is secure through your faith. Once the Spirit of God touches you with this faith, “it will become in that person a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” says Jesus in John 4:14. It is like the joy and ecstasy of being loved. Faith needs nothing. And folks, this faith comes by hearing God’s word. Make some time during this Holy Season to hear that Word.
And there will be plenty of opportunities to hear that Word in the upcoming weeks. By the time you receive this letter, Holy Week will be upon us. Our worship schedule will look like this:
April 6th Maundy Thursday 12 Noon and 7PM
Maundy Thursday is a time when Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the most important date of the Jewish calendar—The Passover—a seven-day festival celebrating the Israelite's release from slavery in Egypt by the hand of God, some 1500 years earlier. The blood of a slaughtered lamb was placed upon the doorpost of their homes and the angel of death passed over. At this celebration, Jesus instituted the gift of Holy Communion. “This is my body. This is my blood. Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus will now become the spotless sacrificial lamb and with this blood spilled from the Cross, marked upon the doorpost of our hearts, the angel of death will Passover. Also on this special evening Jesus, the son of God, takes off his robe and washes the feet of his disciples, and says to them, says to us, “A new commandment I give to you,” that’s what Maundy means, commandment. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Can you see why Maundy Thursday is such an important day? Remember, faith comes by hearing.
April 7th Good Friday 12 Noon and 7PM
On this solemn day we hear the entire narrative of Christ Jesus’ betrayal, his beatings, his crucifixion, his death. Crazy that we call the brutal execution of God’s only Son—Good Friday! That in itself should prove to us that we do not understand God. Yet from that Cross, this spotless lamb of God cries out, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus the Christ dies for all your sins. Not just some of them, but all of them, even the ones you are ashamed to even think about. Your sins have been forgiven upon that very Cross. Did he die in vain? This my friends is a story you really need to hear.
April 8th Saturday Easter Vigil 5PM
Seeing that Peace Lutheran already offers a Saturday night worship experience, this year I would like to incorporate a shorten version of the Easter Vigil. I’ll try and keep it around one hour or so. Jesus has been crucified. Jesus is now dead and has been place in the tomb. On this Holy Saturday all we can do is wait, hope and pray in the promises of God, just like his family and disciples must have done. In the early church the community gathered at sunset, lit a small fire and throughout the entire evening they sang songs and read about all the miraculous deeds of God found in the Bible. We will try to remember that spirit. Please remember, faith comes by hearing.
April 9th Easter Sunrise Service 6:45AM
For those of you who want to roll out of bed and be the first to shout out “He Is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!” then you’ve come to the right place. Or perhaps, family and friends are visiting? Start your morning out right and have the rest of the day to spend with your loved ones. Either way, Peace will offer a scaled down version of the Easter festival at the crack of dawn right in front of the three wooden crosses behind the sanctuary. Following the Easter Sunrise Service, breakfast will be served. Not just any breakfast, but homemade egg strata, sausage and Mark’s famous pancakes. Breakfast will be served till 9:00AM, so even if you don’t make Sunrise Service, stop in for a bite before worship. Your fellow saints and sinners will be happy to serve you.
April 9th Celebration of Easter 10:00AM
He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! A celebration of the greatest event in the history of the world! Death has been conquered through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Your debt has been paid on the Cross and your future is bright. Come celebrate together in an Easter setting, with beautiful music and open your heart and mind to the greatest event in the history of the world. Always remember, faith comes by hearing.
April 16th thru December 31st Sunday Bible Study 8:45AM
Want to talk about coming to the hear the Word of God. We meet in the fellowship hall and study the readings for the following week in our lectionary, raising questions and discussing whatever the text generates. Fun time. Very informative.
April 9th thru Eternity Sunday Worship10AM (subject to change)
Every Sunday is a celebration of Easter. Every single Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here is where we sing songs of praise, confess together our weekly short comings, return to our baptism, feast on the body and blood of our Risen Savior for forgiveness and strength, but most of all, a place where we hear the Word of God being read aloud and pondered upon. Through the month of April and most of May our stories deal with the resurrection of the one who gave his life for you. You don’t want to miss any of those stories. After all, faith comes by hearing.
I started this newsletter with nothing to say. I guess I was wrong. But the whole point of the letter is rather short and simple. Peace Lutheran offers a lot of opportunities for a person to grow in their faith. Make some time during this Holy Season to hear that Word.
In Christian Love,
Pastor David Trexler
PS: Another opportunity to grow in faith I almost forgot. From April 13th to May 4th, I am offering a class on the Gospels through the Shepherd Center program, every Thursday at 10AM in the old sanctuary. Shepherd Center is a wonderful program everyone should take advantage of. Keeps the mind and body active. My class will examine each of the gospels and the different, yet same stories they tell about the life/death/resurrection of Jesus. Hope to see ya there. Now I’m done. Amen.