The Pastor's Ponderings is a weekly note from one of the pastors that is sent to the congregation. If you would like to be included in the list of email subscribers to the Ponderings, you can subscribe here. Current subscribers wishing to unsubscribe can do that here as well.

Has Anybody Seen My Keys?

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” Matthew 28:5-6

In full transparency, I’m one of those people. You know the type. I often misplace my keys, cell phone, the important paper I was just reading, you name it. It’s frustrating. Fortunately, I haven’t lost anything truly important, like a car - yet.

Humor aside, can you imagine how those women felt when they approached the tomb only to find Jesus’ body wasn't there? The absolute last thing they would have been expecting was to find it empty. After all, he hadn’t been misplaced. No one had moved him in the middle of the night. He simply wasn’t there. Vanished without a trace. I’m sure that was a lot to take in.

The angel's message that morning is one of the most challenging messages in all of Christendom. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” It requires us to grapple with the words Jesus spoke during his life in ministry. And, it requires us to grapple with what they might mean for us now - beyond Easter Sunday. I wonder if that isn’t the most important grappling of them all. The wrestling of our faith in the everyday experiences of our lives.

If we are honest, there are a lot of places we go expecting to find Jesus (or at least traces of faith’s assurance) only to be met with silence. Sometimes that’s in the hospital. We expect to find him there. Sometimes that’s in the search for a new job or a difficult relationship. Perhaps it’s even in church. Yet, it often seems as though he is gone. Vanished without a trace. It’s easy in these moments to turn from our circumstances and say “well, that’s just the way it is”. To accept things as they are and to write off any notion of finding Jesus in them at all.

Today, I want to challenge you in much the same way those women were challenged that morning. To look beyond the presenting circumstance and remember Jesus’ words. Remember what he said. Things like:

  1. “My purpose is to give [them] a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10b NLT
  2. “Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” John 15:15b-16 NLT
  3. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” John 6:47 NLT
  4. “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b NLT

Unlike the search for my car keys, Jesus is inviting us to search for him. To plumb the depths of scripture when circumstance won’t reveal his whereabouts. There, we will find him. This is a promise you can hold on to. It isn’t mine, it is God’s. After all, he said: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV)

Join me in worship,
Pastor Anna

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Good Friday

Dear Glen Mar friends,

It’s Good Friday today, the day we remember our Lord’s crucifixion—when Jesus was unjustly arrested, tried, convicted, and condemned by religious and secular authorities for being a threat to the powers-that-be. On this saddest day, a time when our Alleluias are buried, it may seem that the world is still full of shadows and crucifixions. As we grieve the death of George Floyd and pray for God’s justice to prevail, as we pray for our Asian-American and African American neighbors, as we pray for healing from the scourge of COVID-19, it seems crosses still dot the landscape and sin still holds sway.

But in Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection, we find God’s ultimate promise to us is not about empire or condemnation or oppression. God’s promise to us is “Yes and Amen.” Jesus came to love, save, heal, and free, and to proclaim that the crowds yelling “Crucify him” don’t have the last word. Sin and even death don’t have the last word. Like the ark carrying God’s promises over chaos waters, Jesus proclaims life even in the midst of death and all the storms of life that will always rage. And it is God’s love, salvation, healing, and freedom that the church is called to embody and to witness to. The Church is the body of Christ, called to be vessels, arks if you will, of Christ’s resurrection hope, of his mercy, justice and love.

So for today, for tonight, let us sit again in shadow, and witness the worst the world had to give to One who came to save it. Join us tonight in person or online as we sit together in gathering shadow. We can bear the shadows because we know they are not of God, and they will not prevail. Let us gather, holding our words of praise, our Alleluias, for another day, knowing that, in the words of the great preacher SM Lockridge, “It’s Friday. The earth trembles, the sky grows dark. My king yields his spirit. It’s Friday. Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered and Satan’s just a-laughin’. It’s Friday. Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard and a rock is rolled into place. But it’s Friday. It’s only Friday. Sunday is a’comin!”

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy

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Holy Week is Here!

Dear Glen Mar friends,

You can pick up your Palms for Palm Sunday on Saturday 3/27 anytime from 10-1 pm at the church…stop on by and look for a smiling (masked) pastor! If you miss that “window” we’ll have a container of palms for pickup as part of our outdoor self-guided prayer walk, which will be “open” anytime during the day from 1 pm on Saturday, 3/27 to 7 pm on April 3.

You’ll want to experience this amazing and powerful guided prayer walk. There are prayer stations and wonderful art done by our very own Glen Mar family. Come with your family or on your own as you follow Jesus’ footsteps to the cross. You'll get materials with scripture to read, questions to ponder or discuss as a family, and prayers. Again, the Walk will be available any time during the day from March 27 (after 1 PM) to April 3.

Pick up a Prayer Walk booklet outside the ELC entrance or use the online version:

You can also sign up for the Family Experience on Saturday, March 27, 10 AM - 1 PM.
The Family Experience includes supplies and instructions to create "Resurrection Eggs" - something to touch and feel - as you journey along the path, plus staff on hand to get you started.

Maundy Thursday will be on Zoom at 7 pm on Thursday 4/1. I’ll send the zoom link out separately to you next week using this mailing list. If you know someone not on this list who wants to join, you can share the link with them or email for the zoom link.

Good Friday will be in person and livestreamed at 7 pm on Friday, 4/2. To attend in person, register here. Or join us online at

Easter Sunday will start at 7 am with our sunrise service outside and at 9:30 and 11 we will have familiar Easter hymns and the services will be family-friendly. We will have interactive games and worship bags for the kids. There will be something for everyone! Sign up to attend in person (or join us online). We will have plenty of room!

Sunrise service signup:
Easter 9:30: Sign up at Or join us online at
Easter 11 am: Sign up at

I’m so excited to experience Holy Week with you!

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy

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Getting the Word Out for Holy Week

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I know you join me in prayer for our nation, and for our Asian American family in the wake of the shootings in Atlanta. I offer this prayer, written by Bishop Ken Carter, UM Bishop of Florida:

O God, our strength and our redeemer, we stand with our Asian-American sisters and brothers today. In the words of your saint and missionary Patrick, we pray that your Son Jesus Christ would be so pervasive among us, on every side, that we would sense his peace and power. As sinners in need of grace, remove the impulses within us to violence and the mindsets that contribute to racism. As citizens and neighbors, disturb our quiet acceptance of continuing acts of racist violence. As disciples, guide our feet in the way of peace. Amen.

Holy Week is the most sacred time of the church year and a time when we journey with Jesus to the cross and to the tomb, and to an Easter Resurrection Day. If ever we needed to be reminded that we are Easter people, this is the year for that reminder! Will you do me a favor? As part of “Give me 5” for Lent, we are inviting friends to worship for Holy Week/Easter. Here are some easy ways to bless friends and neighbors with an uplifting message of Jesus’ love and Lordship, fantastic music, and powerful prayer.

  1. On Facebook, we are creating “events” for all the Holy Week services. If you click “interested” or “going,” these events will show up on your friends’ Facebook pages. Super-easy! You can also “share” the events on your page also.
  2. Share this flier with friends via email—it has all kinds of details about in person and online options.
  3. An Easter Offering….On a “normal” Easter Sunday, we would have a very large offering from non-regular givers (almost $15,000). Last year on COVID Easter 1, that amount was much less. Sharing info on our services gives more people the opportunity to give in gratitude for God’s provision in this year of wilderness time. And a special second mile Easter offering for everyone who is able to give a little extra in honor of Jesus who has given it all for us would help us share the life-giving message of Jesus with more reach this Easter season.
  4. The flier has all the Holy Week details, and for this Sunday, we’ll worship a God that our souls long for, and who comes to quench our thirst for God, with living water. There’s room for YOU too. Sign up here to be there in person or online is always an option.
    See you “in Church,”
    Pastor Mandy

    PS Are you eligible for a vaccine and having difficulty getting an appointment? Let me know and I’ll see if we can get someone to help you navigate the process.

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A place for YOU

Dear Glen Mar friends,

We’re making a place for you…at Glen Mar! As vaccines roll out and are available, our worship and tech teams and our task force are planning to welcome many of you on Sunday (there’s still room!). And we’re working on a setup of the space that will help us worship together in larger numbers (still safely) and maybe feel more like “church.” I’ll share a picture as soon as it’s set up so you can see!

To register to attend on 3/14, use this link.

Looking ahead, we are planning multiple services for Easter (both virtual and in person!). At 7 am we’ll have an outdoor sunrise service (in person) and at 9:30 we’ll have a livestreamed service you can access from home, with people present live as well, and then at 11 am, an in person service with no cameras. The 9:30 and 11 am services will be the same. Stay tuned for more details!

Glen Mar will also have its office and building open starting on Monday from 9-3, Monday through Thursday. You’ll see a few more smiling staff (behind masks) in the place on New Cut Road.

I was studying the Biblical account of Noah and the flood this week, and it occurred to me, it feels like a pandemic. I’m not stuck in my house with every animal known to man, but it feels a little claustrophobic at times. There’s a sense that the world we are returning to is a new one, not the same, and yet still blessed and under God’s sovereignty, covenant and promise. As we cautiously explore church in this new world, it’s a bit like letting a turtledove go, to see if the ground is solid and giving thanks to God for the gifts of being carried through the waves. Thank you for continuing to be the Church in the midst of this. Your faithful giving and your faithful prayers and service are helping us to be a blessing to others. We can continue to journey together, and be faithful and wise, under the rainbow of God’s grace…we have much to be grateful for and a bright future coming!

See you “in Church,”
Pastor Mandy

PS Are you eligible for a vaccine and having difficulty getting an appointment? Let me know and I’ll see if we can get someone to help you navigate the process.

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