I already feel that you are a part of me. I thank you so much for the warm hospitality you have shown in the Lenten Dinners, the in depth conversations we have been able to share, the kindnesses you have expressed, and by realizing that it will take me a while to find my way around the church,
the presbytery, and this new city.
And as April begins, we enter into and share together what is our most sacred time as a Christian community: Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, where we share with Christians everywhere a roller coaster ride of emotions and we wrestle with our human condition and God’s grace and unconditional love for us.
If you want to experience Holy Week in its fullest, simply participate as fully as you can in what is offered at the church. The labyrinth will be set up on Maundy Thursday (and remain up for private prayer and contemplation through Good Friday) to help you prepare for the service that evening where the Passion Narrative will be read and communion shared. This Service of Tennebrae, a movement from light to darkness, will conclude with single voices singing “Where You There When They Crucified My Lord”. The next morning we are invited to an interfaith Kosher breakfast at Gables UCC Church and then at noon we will worship at the Gables UCC Good Friday service where I will deliver the homily and Will Gotmer will participate with their musicians.
Easter will be a glorious service with traditional Easter hymns and an egg hunt following worship.
We will continue to celebrate what God is doing with and within us in April with my installation service on Sunday April 19th during our usual Sunday service at 11:00am. Presbyterians do not usually experience the pomp and circumstance that you might at an Episcopal or Catholic church with the exception of Ordination and Installation services. Members of our Presbytery of Tropical Florida along with members of my old Presbytery of the Western Reserve will be with us for what is a wonderful celebration in the life of our church. The service is for both you and me as we make vows to each other and God about our work and ministry together in Christ’s service.
Know that I continue to fall in love with you as we work together and that I thank God daily for calling me to serve as your pastor. God has great things planned for us in the years to come!
May the joy of the Easter message fill your hearts this month!
Sermon: Palm Sunday, March 29, 2015
Rev. Martha M. Shiverick
One of my mother’s favorite movies which we, her children, all got to watch with her fairly often was a cult movie from the mid 1960’s called the King of Hearts. The movie, for those of you who have never heard of it, takes place in a small town in France at the end of WWI. The town had been occupied by the Imperial German Army was vacated by the townspeople because of bombs the Germans hid as they left. The only inhabitants were the residents of the insane asylum who were left alone with the gates unlocked as people fled and they had taken up residence in the village. A very junior Scottish officer was sent in to the town find and dismantle the bombs. He enters this village now occupied by the patients who live in a magical fairytale life and they make him the King of Hearts, their leader with much pageantry and pomp and parades. As you can imagine, the daily parades have an element of the absurd as does their whole daily existence. The message of the movie is to ponder which is more absurd, war or the life style of the residents of the asylum.
I think of that movie each Palm Sunday as we act out Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. We wave palm fronds as we sing our loud hosannas knowing full well what happens later this week. Continue reading Sermon: ‘I Love a Parade’→
Sermon: March 22, 2015
Rev. Martha M.Shiverick
Bo and I have two biological children. One is out of the nest and married with a career and the second is a starving artist in New York living day to day, month to month and always on the verge of having to return home but always happy and never asks for a thing. We also raised a nephew named Don to who I was legal guardian and who turned 21 this past week.
My nephew was in and out of my home for the first part of his life spending 2 of the first three years with me that then sporadically sometimes for months at a time and then less and less frequently until his teen years. That was when at 14, while he was living with his father in Thailand, he had been kicked out of every school to which he could attend. His grades, his behavior, and life style finally limited his life choices and out of frustration, my brother, a single parent, called me, said he could not handle the situation, and put him on a plane to the U.S. with a letter saying he gave up all parental rights and responsibility to care for his child. Continue reading Sermon: ‘It Will Be Written on Their Hearts’→