From the Pastor's Desk at God's Treehouse

From the Pastor's Desk April 2021

The Great 50 Days

The forty days of solemn, penitential Lent have come and gone, moving us into the anticipatory celebration of Palm Sunday. Palms waving! Hosannas reverberating! King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Pharisees try in vain to dampen the rabble-rousing energy of the crowd as Jesus enters Jerusalem on a humble donkey, yet the moment is clearly in God’s hands. If the crowds were silenced, even the rocks would cry out! The tide quickly turns, and we move into the Last Supper, complete with breaking bread, foot-washing, a new commandment, praying in the garden, and a betrayal for the ages. 

Please join us in the Chapel on Thursday April 1st at 5:30pm for our Maundy Thursday service. The observance of Holy Communion on the evening of Maundy Thursday is one of the most ancient of Christian traditions. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum” meaning “commandment.” It refers to Jesus at the Last Supper giving the commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

On Good Friday, April 2nd at our 12 noon service, we will experience together the events from trial to cross to grave, enhanced by the simplicity of Taize music. Good Friday is called “good” because in the mystery of the cross, Jesus’ death reveals God’s love and healing grace for the world. Jesus’ life, teaching, and death, followed by the resurrection, represent the fullness of God’s work of love and redemption. In this Tenebrae service, or “Service of Darkness,” we hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion as we experience the gradual diminishing of light as a symbol of the darkness of  suffering and death Jesus endured.

In the movement toward Good Friday and then into Easter Sunday: I offer you a prayer from pastor and theologian Henry Nouwen: How can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death [on Good Friday]? Yes, Lord, I have to die— with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, let me find you again. Amen. (From A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee, Orbis)

Easter Sunday, April 4th, Siesta Key Chapel will offer two joy-filled services at 8:45am and 11:00am, both with communion and fabulous music as we celebrate our risen Lord at God’s Treehouse.
During The Season of Easter or The Great 50 Days, Christians continue to celebrate the meaning of Easter. Historically in the church the Easter season lasts 50 days, from Easter Sunday until the Day of Pentecost (May 23rd this year.) The Gospel readings during this season recall for us the appearances of the risen Christ after his resurrection. During the Easter season, the church continues to sing praise to God, for “endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won!”
Grace & Peace,
Pastor Ruth