Schedule for Holy Week, 2010

Please join us at Custer Lutheran Fellowship for any or all of the many Holy Week worship services (except for the NOON GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE the location of all services will be at Custer Lutheran Fellowship – that church by the state park…):

Maundy Thursday (April 1, 2010)

Noon – Service of Foot Washing & Anointing

6:30 pm – Maundy Thursday Worship Service with Holy Communion & Stripping of Altar

Good Friday (April 2, 2010)

6:30 am – Cross Walk (walk/prayer around Stockade Lake) & Potluck Breakfast to follow

Noon – Community Good Friday Service at HARBACH PARK (NEXT TO CHAMBER BUILDING), NOT AT THE 1881 Courthouse Museum AS PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED (sponsored by the Custer Ministerial Alliance)

6:30 pm – Good Friday “Tenebrae” Service with Passion Reading from Gospel of John and CLF Choir

Easter Sunday (April 4, 2010)

*Please note the change in usual Sunday times…

*6:30 am – Easter Sunrise Worship Service with Holy Communion, CLF Choir & special music

7:30-10 am – Breakfast served by High School Youth (free-will offering to support youth going on Colombia mission)

*10:00 am – Easter Worship Service with Holy Communion & special music

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Holy Week, Holy Land

Winter, March and Lent are waning as the signs and stories of Easter, April and spring are starting to surface in sight, sound and touch.  Likely, as you read this we are wading knee deep in Holy Week – the hinge between Lent and Easter.  Fast on the heels of Palm Sunday and Jesus entering Jerusalem triumphant to shouts of “Hosanna!” is Good Friday telling of Jesus being driven to city’s edge with a cross on shoulder, thorns on head and insults everywhere.  You know the story.  Here he is crucified and left for dead.

 Every year as we enter Holy Week, I can’t help but think of when I was a pilgrim in the Holy Land walking the streets of Jerusalem.  This year is no exception, in fact, this year the memories of my trip have been flooding back even more than others.  In part, it might be because it’s been exactly a decade since I was there.  It also might have to do with Israel & Palestine being in the news as of late, since Israel announced that it would build new settlements in East Jerusalem and the fallout that’s followed (incidentally, if you don’t know much about the situation in Palestine / Israel, from the issues of settlements to the separation barrier that has been built in recent years, I’d encourage you to check out the helpful information on the ELCA’s website including: a timeline ; common terms major issues ; a Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel & Palestine; and an ELCA Social Statement, “For Peace in God’s World.”)

 It is easy to forget the times of relative peace, but when I arrived in Jerusalem in May of 2000 it was fairly quiet.  The Second Intifada didn’t start until the fall of that same year (in Arabic, “Intifada” literally means “shaking off;” the word has come to refer to uprisings by Palestinians to protest their experience of occupation/oppression).

 My first full day in Jerusalem happened to be my twenty-first birthday.  Instead of spending my birthday getting drunk, I was intoxicated instead by the maze of narrow streets and holy sites that our guide pointed out along the way.  Our Jewish guide led us to and through Christian sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (tradition holds that within this church’s walls were Christ’s crucifixion and burial) and the stations of the cross along the Via Dolorosa (which means, “way of sorrows”).

Jerusalem Old City

But just like the increasingly inter-faith world in which we live, you can’t walk through Jerusalem or the Holy Land without bumping into holy sites for Muslims (like the equally historic and iconic Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque) or holy sites for Jews (like the Western Wall, sometimes called the “Wailing Wall,” in part because of all the cries of prayer that have sounded against the stones).

 As with nearly all of the Christian holy sites, a drama of prayer and violence has unfolded throughout the time and space of these sites in this land we often call “holy.”

 These days, as we’re knee deep in Holy Week and as the Holy Land is again in the news, I wonder what it means for something to be “Holy.”  If we sit through the Good Friday service of Holy Week and listen to the passion story, we know that “Holy” time does not necessarily mean time without suffering or broken relationships.  If we know much of Jerusalem’s history (if you’re feeling ambitious, you can borrow a copy of Karen Armstrong’s Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths) or if we follow the “Holy Land” in the news headlines, we know that “Holy” space does not necessarily mean space without violence or conflict.  Apparently “holy” is not a synonym for “peace.”  Not yet anyway.

 In fact, more often than not our “holy” scriptures suggest that God is working even more desperately in those times when we find ourselves intoxicated by suffering and broken relationships.  The death of a loved one.  The yearning for forgiveness.

 So too, when we look back at the long winter of our lives, the living Word of God can be discerned, buried like a seed in the soil, growing with the most surprising endurance in those places where we grew hopeless from cycles of violence or unhealthy conflict.

 And so, this is the simple, but overwhelming message of Easter resurrection which we will see and hear and feel along with spring’s “holy” gospel.  Wherever and whenever we find ourselves – death, violence, suffering and broken relationships won’t last because God works on something new.

 In the meantime, we simply call these times and spaces in our lives, in our relationships, and in our world – “holy” – knowing they are holy not because we have made them that way by our own doing, but because God is working and will continue to work to make them holy.  May the Easter promise give us strength to join this work.

Do you like to Bike and Hike?

Please notice the new tab on the top of this page that will tell you about the CLF 2010 Bike and Hike series designed by the congregation’s health and wellness team.  If you like the outdoors and like to walk or ride, you are officially qualified.  These intergenerational events are open to all.  Feel free to bring a friend.  Click on the tab next to “Home” entitled “2010 Bike and Hike”  or  here.

The Missional Church… simple

Why congregations?  What do they do?  Here’s two thousand years of church history summarized in 2 minutes.

Variety Dinner Show this Saturday

Variety Dinner Show

Enjoy a night out with a spaghetti dinner and entertainment!

Saturday, March 20 @ CLF

Dinner begins at 6:30 PM with the show starting at 7:00 PM

Freewill offering will go toward the Colombia mission trip.

A sneak peak list of performers… Keith Burden, Elisabeth & Kent, Casey & Siri, Mary Winchester, Tori Glazier, CLF senior high students… and many, many more!

Please join us!

What does a Lutheran look like?

If you grew up with Ole and Lena jokes and red jello you may assume that the average Lutheran is a blonde from a midwestern state in the U.S.A..  However, according to an ELCA news release ,  a Lutheran is just as likely to live in Africa or Asia as in the American corn belt.

The following is a list of the largest member denominations of Lutheran World Federation:

1. The Church of Sweden with 6.75 million members

2. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania with 5.3 million members

3. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus with more than 5.27 million members.

4. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 4.6 million members.

According to the press release, ” in 2009 membership in churches belonging to the LWF in Africa rose by 7.1 percent to more than 18.5 million.  LWF member churches in Africa that reported a substantial increase include churches in Angola, Mozambique and the Republic of Namibia.”

The Maasai choir Upendo Kwaya at the Arusha Town Lutheran Church, Arusha.

“Holy” Mountain Lion Witnessed at CLF

About a month ago this video was taken from the back deck of the parsonage.  A mountain lion can be seen approaching the outdoor worship area of Custer Lutheran Fellowship.  You can tell it’s a “holy” mountain lion because of the way it genuflects for several seconds behind the tree before it goes to the outdoor worship area.  It’s not yet been verified if the mountain lion left an “offering.”