Dear Journeyers, Pathfinders, Trail Blazers, Pioneers, Friends, Family members, and Pilgrim God faithful,
The coming week is all about pilgrimage.
The focus Scripture is Mark 14:1-15:47, and Mark is writing about what we now call the beginning of the last stretch of Holy or Passion Week, which is all about Jesus, the Pilgrim God, and the joyous and solemn moments experienced by his followers and the crowd. In this week, we are reminded that the trail of faith we move along today has been, in part, established and trod by Jesus of Nazareth, who has been walking with us and walks before us, calling us forward in the faith. And Christ's Spirit always walks and moves with us as we continue to follow Jesus as members of a community of faith. Our direction? Where are we headed? We are headed to God, who is at home...a home which we long for all the days of our lives.
The late-Brother Roger of the Tazie (France) Community (an ecumenical monastic community in France), coined the phrase, "Jesus, the Pilgrim God." In his book, The Pilgrim God, Brother Roger explored how God moved with the chosen people, with whom God established a covenant. God walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, continuing to follow the people during the great floods, and accompanying Sarah and Abraham on the wilderness road of faith. It was the Pilgrim God who moved with the people of Israel after they left slavery behind in Egypt on the desert road, where their faith and the covenant was tested, fragile, and yet there was solidarity, and they discovered a place of unparalleled intimacy with God. What we know of Jesus is that his pilgrimage began in earnest right after his birth as he and his parents fled to Egypt. Throughout his recorded life's ministry, all his language and practices had the feel of a desert bedouin and wanderer rather than an established rabbi as he owned no home that we know of, and hung out with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus when he needed to rest. But this week we call "Holy" is Jesus going to Jerusalem, in honor of Passover, the pilgrimage of the people of God out of bondage to freedom. This Holy week for us is all about pilgrimage, and we are all about being a community of pilgrims! Let us join our voices on Sunday with a loud and boisterous "Hosanna!" "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God!"
Our Schedule this Week:
* Sunday, March 25, Palm Sunday, 4-6 pm: we will gather at Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, working on Spring Bags for people who live in retirement communities around the Portland metro area. Address: 2828 SE Stephens St, Portland, OR 97214. We will be making bags for 18 people at Luxor, Holistic Care Home, and Garden Home Senior Care.
* Thursday, March 29, Maundy Thursday, we will meet at Liz Mitchells' house at 7 pm. 9460 SW Martha St., Tigard, OR 97224;
* Friday, March 30, Good Friday, 6 pm: we will meet at the entrance to the Portland Art Museum, near the entrance by the Gift Shop, for a stroll through the moving exhibit, Common Ground. We will spend an hour in the exhibit, and then go to a nearby restaurant to discuss the power of this art on this Good Friday. Admission is $5 this evening.https://portlandartmuseum.org/exhibitions/common-ground/
* Saturday, March 31: Holy Saturday. Prayers for those who have died in the past year as we remember that the One we call Christ has defeated death;
* Easter Sunday, April 1, at Sarah and Tims' home, 7544 SW 90th Pl, Portland, OR, at 9 am. Breakfast casserole provided; bring hot cross buns and fruit to celebrate this day!
Our prayers of celebration and concerns:
1. For Lorinda's sister, Blake, and her future well-being
2. For the family of Jenny Watson, Jo Ann's friend, who died Wednesday at age 46 leaving behind a husband and three children.
3. Traveling mercies for Tom and Lee as they travel to Arizona.
4. For people to take a leap of faith and come join us.
5. For the thousands of people in East Ghouta, Syria, who are being bombed by Bashar al-Assad's government forces.
6. For the people of Yemen where civil war continues and the country is caught in a humanitarian crisis.
7. For the students protesting gun violence when politicians refuse to take action.
8. For the 600,000 Rohingya refugees stranded in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar.
9. For the people in Nigeria suffering from violence and brutality inflicted by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.
10. For people in Portland suffering from sexism, racism, homophobia, and all forms of discrimination.
11. For growth of the Community of Pilgrims.
12. For Luke, Dayna, and family, may they build a peaceful life in New Mexico.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer...
Recognizing Palm Sunday before us, reflect upon the words of this poem by David Hirt:
The taste of hosannas is still on my lips,
the smell of the palms as they patter against
the cloudless blue sky of Jerusalem’s day
when David’s own scion comes riding a colt
and prophesy seems to arrive as we hoped
while children, the children, all sing him their psalms
and stones lying silent could echo their songs,
“Hosanna! Hosanna to David’s own son!”,
when everything’s changed. The Messiah we have,
he isn’t the one that we want; not the king
who’ll ravage our foes and will raise up the House
of God: the grey temple we built with our hands.
A tremor now passes throughout the crowd come
to celebrate Passover; start the great feast
of Memory held in the fullness of time
and lived in again, in eternity Lord,
and “Crucify! Crucify,” echoes on still.
It bounces off stones and it shivers my soul.
Pastors Brett & Chris