Dear Christ Church Family,
This Sunday is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week. On Sunday in worship, I will be teaching about the events that occurred on that first Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time of his earthly life. If you are familiar with the story, you will remember that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. You know that the crowd that lined the streets waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna!” But why did Jesus ride a donkey? Why did the crowd wave palm branches? What does “Hosanna!” mean? What other parades were going on in Jerusalem that day? And the number one question that thinking people want to know is: If Jesus knew that the powerful religious leaders wanted to kill him, why did he go to Jerusalem at all? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, then you don’t know the whole story.
HOLY THURSDAY AND PASSION SERVICE
One of the most powerful, moving and reflective services of the year occurs on Holy Thursday at 7 p.m. On Holy Thursday we remember Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, his betrayal, his arrest and his crucifixion. We will take communion together and at the end of the service we will nail our sins and burdens to the cross. Do not miss this time of holy worship. Let’s fill the worship center to capacity.
Last Sunday afternoon, 19 of our Christ Church young adults partnered with our Jewish friends from Temple B’nai Shalom and a group of Muslim young adults to do good deeds in our community in two locations. Half of the group met here at Christ Church and worked together to assemble bags of trail mix to be given to the homeless. The other half of the group met at The Lamb Center (a homeless shelter in Fairfax) to do some painting and exterior clean up. Some may ask, “Why should we be involved in a project like that?” My answer is simple: Because we are Christians who love the Lord with our hearts, minds, souls and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Recently, 37 folks from Christ Church attended our ALPHA weekend retreat. ALPHA is one of our discipleship courses that helps participants understand the Christian faith. It deals with questions such as:
- Who is God?
- Who is Jesus?
- Who is the Holy Spirit?
- Why is the Bible important?
The class is not only for those who are new to Christianity, but also for those who have been Christians for years. Every semester, lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit, and many who attend grow closer to God by the end of the class. This year’s ALPHA retreat proved to be every bit as power-filled. I want to end this letter with a few quotes and paraphrases from participants:
- “I have more love, and I thank God for the experience.”
- “I have a much better understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role [in my life], and this has changed my thinking. I’m trying to discern God’s purpose for me.”
- “I came to the retreat with a longing, and God blessed me as I was touched by the Holy Spirit. I felt the presence of God more than I have ever felt it before.”
God is clearly at work at Christ Church.
I’ll see you Sunday in worship.