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.

Because He lives

Dear Glen Mar Friends,

Holy Week was full of holy moments - from the kids waving palms to folks putting fresh flowers on the cross for Easter Day. You may think that Easter has come and gone, but in reality, Easter is a whole season in the church year (50 days long, starting with Easter Day), and we sing that "every day to us is Easter" because we follow our Risen Lord all year long.

In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at the difference Easter makes - in our lives, in our priorities and in our world, as part of the stewardship and discipleship series, "Because He Lives..." The chalkboard in the Gathering place is full of responses to the sentence "Because He lives..."

Because He lives, I will too.
Because He lives, I can love and serve in his name.
Because He lives, I can be generous and loving without fear.
Because He lives, I need not be afraid.
Because He lives, I can step out of my comfort zone.
Because He lives, I use my gifts in furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
Because He lives, my priorities are all different.

The Church for centuries has proclaimed "Christ is risen, He is risen indeed." What the world wants to know, I think, is, "So what?" What does it mean for how we live, and how we work, and how we use the time, talents and treasure we are given? There is real hope to be found in a risen Savior who reaches out to touch us, a risen Savior who is known by the mark where the nails have been, but who has won the victory for us and for all creation.

See you in Church,
Mandy

Beth Shalom Congregation, our Jewish neighbors, invite us to attend their upcoming community Holocaust Commemoration Service: From Kristalnacht to Tree of Life, Uniting Against Hate, on May 1. The program begins at 7. Doors open at 6 pm with exhibits of Holocaust artifacts and survivor testimonies. This event is sponsored by the Howard County Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation of Howard County. Pastor Mandy will be attending.


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Special Pastor’s Ponderings

We pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka in the wake of acts of terror targeting Christians on Easter Day. The testimony of Easter is that God says "Yes and Amen" to all that Jesus embodied, to the principles of love, peace, faith and truth. Hatred and violence will never have the last word, and even though we are in the world, Christ has overcome the world. Whether we are praying for a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a mosque in New Zealand, we stand with people of peace and faith and against these acts of terror.


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Great Three Days

Dear Glen Mar friends,

As we enter into these "Great Three Days" from Maundy Thursday to Easter Day, I've been shocked and saddened by recent destruction of houses of worship. The Cathedral of Notre Dame burned, and centuries of sacred art and history with it. I grieve the damage done to such a sacred place, where Christians have gathered across time to worship. I also grieve for our brothers and sisters whose churches burned in Louisiana. As I write this the suspect for those Louisiana fires has been charged with a hate crime. Tragedy compounded by acts of terror and hatred, during this most sacred of weeks. I grieve for the people who worshipped in the mosque that burned in Jerusalem this week as well. These losses are real, and both personal and a loss that affects the whole world too. It feels like Good Friday to see God's house in flames.

However, I have been encouraged by the pictures of a cross above rubble in Paris, and the reminder that our God cannot be confined to a building. God is bigger than the structures we build to contain God. The Church is not a building, not really. The Church is a people, the body of Christ, who share Christ's love so that Easter hope always has a way to rise out of Good Friday's ashes.

I hope you will join us tonight for our Good Friday service of Tenebrae ("Light and Darkness") as we hear again the story of Jesus' passion and death. We can sit in the darkness and wait for the light that is coming, because we know our Lord has been to all the dark places first. And I hope to see you on Sunday too - I'll meet you at the tomb - another "building" that our God could not be contained in.

See you in Church,
Mandy


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Holy Week

Dear Glen Mar friends,

Holy Week is here! Choirs and bands and preachers are hard at work preparing for a sacred, powerful, glorious Easter.

I hope you will join us this weekend for Palm (Saturday and) Sunday, and I hope you'll come out for Maundy Thursday service, 7:30 pm on 4/18, as we remember Jesus' last supper with his disciples and the commandment to "love one another as I have loved you." We will collect a special offering for cyclone relief for Zimbabwe/Mozambique, so please come on out. Good Friday will be a powerful journey to the cross in an ancient Tenebrae service of light and darkness at 7:30 pm on 4/19. On Easter weekend, we'll have services at all our "regular" times plus a sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. by the pond. The 8 and 9:30 services will be the same.

Easter is our biggest service of the year because folks who don't go to church on other days will come on Easter to check out the resurrection story or because they've been meaning to get back to church or because their family is in town....and that means, this is a chance to radically welcome people God will send to us. This is the time to be at our most patient and welcoming of visitors. I'm grateful that this church is a place where if someone is sitting in "our" seat, we count it a blessing because they are right where they need to be. They are guests in God's house and we are their hosts.

So...how can we get ready for the visitors we will have this Sunday (Palm Sunday) AND next (Easter)?

  1. Pray for the people God will send to us. Pray that we might be vessels for God's love and welcome. (Sign up for our prayer vigil on the board in the Gathering Place).
  2. On Easter weekend, if you normally come to the 9:30 service, please come to the 8 a.m. service. 9:30 is our largest service. Our guests tend to come later, which will put them in "overflow" seating. As a gesture of hospitality, if it is not a hardship, the 8 a.m. service will be the same as 9:30 and your 9:30 regular seat can go to a guest.
  3. If you normally come to Glen Mar, consider yourself a "host." Even if you are not part of our ushering or greeting team, a smiling face and a helpful word to a guest would be a blessing and a reflection of how much God welcomes them here.

I am so excited to be with you on my first Holy Week as your Lead Pastor. I hope you and your family will join us. It is the Greatest Story Ever Told and it wouldn't be the same without YOU.

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy


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A Prayer for Late in Lent

Dear Glen Mar friends,

How is it with your soul this Lent? How have your disciplines and Lenten practices been going? I'm enjoying my daily N.T. Wright devotional very much. I wanted to share with you this poem/prayer from Daniel Benedict for your journey.

A Prayer for Late in Lent
God of the desert,
God of the forty years of wandering,
God of the forty days in the wilderness,
   bring us to the waters of the Jordan
   and into Easter's promise.
Sustain us in the remaining days of this Lenten desert
   so that at last we rejoice in the contrasts
      of fasting and feasting,
      of stones one side of the waters
         and of milk and honey on the other.
Steady us so that we are present
   to the rigors of each day's trek.
Let unsought silences and deprivations
   be occasions to "be overruled and swallowed up"
   in your vast action.
Turn hungers for the things that we left behind in Egypt
   into spiritual leanness glad for the Bread of Heaven.
Increase in us hospitality to the stranger.
Convert us as we journey
   with candidates for baptism and confirmation.
Subdue the enemy within us
   as you make peace in all the world.
Work repentance in your church
   until our unity in Christ overpowers
   our cherished divisions.
Go before us as the desert gives way to Easter's Alleluia.
Amen.
Quotation from Evelyn Underhill's "Abba" based on her retreat address on the Lord's Prayer. Copyright © 2004 The General Board of Discipleship. www.umcworship.org.

This week, we will look at the anointing of Jesus at Bethany, from John's Gospel, as Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume as an act of love, preparation, and worship. I hope you'll join us as we walk with Jesus to the cross.

See you in Church,
Mandy

Chili Cook-off Please come and support the Glen Mar chili team at the 9th annual "Hotter Than Thou" Chili Cookoff this Sunday, April 7, from noon - 2:30pm in the Great Room at Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage, MD. Free admission, silent auction, raffle. All proceeds support Bridges to Housing Stability.

Prayer Vigil begins at 2:00 p.m. on Good Friday Will you pray with Jesus for an hour as part of our Holy Week journey? People are invited to pray as part of our Prayer Vigil at any time from noon on Good Friday through the Easter sunrise service. There is a regular signup sheet in the Gathering Place (and more than one person can sign up for a time slot). You can pray at home, or, if it's at a time when the building is open, you can come to church and pray in the chapel and walk the labyrinth. If you sign up, you will find it a blessing! Questions? Contact Marti Windram, marti.windram@glenmarumc.org.


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