Our Mission as 21st Century Christians

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Christian church is now some 1,987 years on this side of the first Easter which remembered and celebrated the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. We and generations of Christians before us have labored for centuries to carry the Easter message of the transforming love of Jesus Christ to the world. You and I are part of the first generation of North Americans to live in a society that no longer appreciates the presence of Christianity. Many are hostile toward the church. The early church shared the gospel of Jesus in a religiously plural, but hostile world. The 21st century has brought Christianity full circle.

Early Christians came together to celebrate their life together with God through prayer, table fellowship, and teaching about the Way. They also went out from the great Temple into the streets to be witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Their message asked persons to embrace the Way of life and the rule of God in their hearts. They established small groups that met in homes for nurture and fellowship. It was through these small groups that a larger sense of community developed. Finally, they experienced persecution and arrest from religious authorities and non-religious people because the Way they chose affected the economic practices of society and challenged established religious traditions.

Based on these essential concerns of the early church and what is becoming obvious to us by now of the emerging world we can conclude a few ideas about the church in the 21st century. 1. Our primary mission will be to establish Christian communities in the midst of a hostile and violent world. 2. The mission of these communities will be to proclaim the rule of God to all people. 3. Our mission’s dominant theme will be the Way of life prefigured in the life and ministry of Jesus.
4. The life of prayer will be necessary to keep our Christian communities focused on our mission as witnesses to the Way. 5. All church and community leadership will be based on faithful service to the Way of Christ. 6. And finally, I believe that all Christian communities in the 21st century will need to be able to stand on our own … to self-sustain.

Our excellent leadership of Trinity Church believes that, based on the life of the early church, the only way to survive and move forward in our time is for our congregation to turn outward to the world. All our ministries must proclaim to the world that Jesus is the Way without being judgmental on the worth of others with regard to their religious beliefs, or their nationality.

To embrace the possibilities and opportunities of life and move forward as followers of the Way of Christ all our missions and ministries must be willing to exist for the sole purpose of bringing this new life to others who are not yet experiencing it. You and I must become good stewards of our allotted time on this earth, of our financial resources, and discover and use our own unique spiritual gift. Let’s discover the courage needed for embracing and offering this new life in Jesus as the true Way to life. We are fellow pilgrims along the Way that leads us more fully and deeply into the wonder of God’s love, presence in the world, and mission. This is the healthiest Way to live as Easter people in the world.

 

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More Than One Day

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

It is almost time for the most powerful seven days in the life of the Christian Church: Holy Week. It’s when we mark the final days that Jesus spent in human form. In it we see the stark contrast of his jubilant entry into Jerusalem all the way through to his victory over death on the cross. How have we come to the point where we want to fast-forward through the first six days, zipping ahead to the glory that is the empty tomb? Here’s why I hope you’ll join us at Trinity as we face the week head-on, journeying together as a community of believers.

Palm Sunday: Just five days before being nailed to the cross, Jesus would be hailed as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowd cheered, waving palm branches as they lined the road before him. How could they know how quickly life would change? As you join us for Palm Sunday services, you too will hold a palm frond in your hand—a tactile reminder of that day more than two thousand Palm Sundays past—as we witness to the life of Christ.

Maundy Thursday: This is another name used for Holy Thursday. The English word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which translates to commandment. Why commandment? In John 13, we read of the night before Jesus would be betrayed; he washed the feet of his disciples and gave them a new commandment to love one another, “just as I have loved you.” Other gospel accounts tell of what we refer to as the Lord’s Supper. This is why we will celebrate both foot washing and communion on Maundy Thursday.

Good Friday: The lights will be lowered and the Sanctuary stripped bare. A black swath of cloth will drape the cross—a reminder of the innocent one who was crucified. In this reverent service, we’ll hear a Gospel account of the incredible Passion story.

Easter Sunday: Resurrection Day! We will celebrate the Risen Lord. The Sanctuary will be adorned in white and filled with beautiful Easter flowers. We’ll sing of the empty tomb and how our Savior lives. We will have three services, including a bright and early sunrise service. (We’ll even supply the coffee.)

Please join us for all our Holy Week services. Look for the times here. It’s easy to skip straight to Sunday. But, without Good Friday, there would be no Easter Sunday. If you have any questions, please be sure to ask Jim, Keith or me.

We’ll see you in church!

 

Three Things to Pray for Our Children

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

During this season of Lent, I urge all parents to keep praying for their children. Sometimes praying for them can appear selfish. That thought came to my mind whenever I prayed for them when I was sending them off on the school bus. I noticed, however, I was not only praying for my child. I was praying for the bus, the driver, and all the occupants on the bus. Also, I prayed for safety of the school, the whole school district, and for the wisdom of teachers. I prayed for the health and safety of the community. All these prayer concerns came about because I wanted to pray for my daughters. Therefore, it is not selfish to be praying for our children because it enlarges our hearts to pray and intercede for our community that we depend on.

As a pastor overseeing youth and children and being involved in these ministries for many years, I thought I knew much about raising children in the faith. Now with children of my own, I realize how wrong I was. First, the knowledge I have might not be relevant to today’s context. Secondly, it is one thing to think theoretically about children versus knowing practically about them. Even though my children are great, when it comes to raising them, I still feel inadequate as a parent. I’m trying my best by learning and updating myself on the topic; but ultimately, I see the need to get on my knees. I want to ask our heavenly Father/Mother to help us raise our children in God’s way.

When it comes to praying for our children, there are so many important concerns: their health, well-being, friendships, faith, academics, character and on and on. Everyone has his/her own needs and we should pray according to the Spirit. I would like to suggest three things that we should consider when praying for our children.

  1. Pray for selflessness
  2. Pray for love of justice and mercy
  3. Pray for healthy relationships

 

What’s Happening During April, 2017

Book Chat | Commitment Sunday | Holy Week | VBS

April 2                Executive Committee Meeting

April 9                Martha’s Table Sandwich Making; Easter Egg Hunt

April 9-16         Holy Week & Easter, see p. 6

April 10             Crafts for a Cause

April 11             Book Chat

April 15             Spire Deadline; Christ House

April 18             Trustees Meeting

April 23             Commitment Sunday; Church & Society meeting

April 24             Commitment Sunday

April 27            Spire assembly

 



 Holy Week Worship

April 9: Palm/Passion Sunday, 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Palm/Passion Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. The service begins with Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We wave palms as Jesus passes by and heads into the city to celebrate the Passover with his disciples. You can read more in Matthew 21:1-11, 26:14-27:66.

April 13: Maundy Thursday,  7:30 p.m.

The Maundy Thursday service observes Jesus at the Last Supper. There he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Upon his arrival, he humbly washes the feet of each man present. Then, they break bread together and Jesus teaches them a new commandment—to love one another as he has shown them. Although this service is about the night Jesus gave us the words and actions that we now know as Communion, the scripture for the service focuses on the love commandment and humility of Jesus as found in John 13:1-17, 31-35. In some ways this may be the most spiritually significant service of Holy Week.

April 14: Good Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday is the name of the day that comes from a distorted form of “God’s Friday.” Jesus is now in the Garden of Gethsemene with his disciples. He’s still trying to help them understand what is about to happen, but they still don’t fully understand. Jesus grows frustrated with his friends when they fall asleep while he’s praying. Eventually, Judas runs off and brings back the guards. Jesus is arrested and taken to Pontius Pilate for a trial. The sentence is passed and Jesus is crucified with the common criminals. Our scripture for the service will focus on some of Jesus’ last words in John 18:1-19:42. The gospel is experienced through readings, prayers and songs. There are no paraments or anything else in the worship space.

April 16: Easter Sunday Sunrise, 6:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Holy Week draws on many emotions with the disciples’ confusion on Maundy Thursday, Jesus’ brutal death on Good Friday and finally, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb where Jesus has been laid to await burial. She arrives ready to prepare the body, but finds he is not there. Jesus has been riased and shows himself to her. She runs and tells the disciples. In John 20:1-18 we read about one woman at the tomb—Mary Magdalene, but in Luke’s account there are several women named in the first twelve verses of the twenty-fourth chapter. Easter morning worship is filled with Hallelujahs and rejoicing as we celebrate our risen Lord.


For ages 3—rising 4th grade

Look for registration information on our website

We are always looking for more volunteers. Please contact Jen or Marci to learn how you can part of this wonderful week.

Jen Calsyn

Marci Thomas

 

Helping Others This April

Church & Society | Crafts for a Cause | Mission Collection
Church & Society

April Collection

During the month of April we will be collecting the following items for the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center:

  • art supplies (construction paper, tempera paints, laminating paper, masking tape, Popsicle sticks, beads, stickers, etc.)
  • cake mix (no chocolate or nuts)
  • plain Cheerios
  • HE Tide laundry detergent
  • canned fruit

The mission of the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center is to provide “a comprehensive, high-quality, early-childhood program designed to give all young children, regardless of their family’s economic resources, a strong foundation on which to build the rest of their lives.” This is a great ministry providing daycare for under-privileged families and it’s located close by on Idylwood Rd. in Falls Church! Please place your donations in the bins located just inside the entry doors in the narthex or in the bins located in the fellowship building. For more information about this great ministry go to www.fcmlcc.org.

The Church & Society Committee will meet on April 23 in Room 402 following the 10:30 worship service and fellowship. New members are always welcome. Any question, please contact Alexandra Kiefer.


Crafts for a Cause has been busy making neck pillows, fleece hats, surgery dolls and heart-shaped pillows for patients at Fair Oaks Hospital, in addition to making blankets and hats for the Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria. There’s always plenty of work to be done, from cutting fabric to sewing and stuffing pillows. Join us on alternating Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 124 on these dates: April 10, April 24 and May 8.

If you can knit or crochet, there’s a pressing need for handmade baby hats. We can provide the patterns and the yarn. If interested, contact Molly Sprouse.


Mission Collection

Although, the trailer is not actively collecting anything right now and will not take items to Honduras until the summer, Art for Humanity is looking for laptop bags now. The current project for Art for Humanity is a new elementary school in Honduras. They have received donated laptops, but need laptop bags to transport the devices. Bags can be left in the collection bin in the Fellowship Building.

 

Music in April

Instruments of Peace

By Catherine Wethington, Dir. of Children’s & Youth Choirs

On April 2, during the 10:30 a.m worship service, our Children’s Choir is going to sing Sanctuary. The text is as follows: “Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.” During rehearsal, we discussed what the word sanctuary means. The majority of the children recognized it to mean the room we meet in for worship, but we discussed it a step further—that really the word sanctuary is any place where you are in the presence of God, which means that we as followers of Christ can be our own sanctuary in mind, body and soul. We can do this by showing kindness to all people we meet, we can do this by our actions, and we can do this by welcoming people to experience God’s love with us. This hymn has become a fast favorite of children’s choir, and they are very excited to sing it for the congregation.


Spring Ahead!

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

April can be busy for church musicians: the liturgical seasons of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter each require different kinds of service music. In this short month, the Chancel Choir will provide six popular anthems by Thomas Tallis, Johann Crüger, George Frideric Handel, William Billings, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert as well as four brilliant new classics by Craig Courtney, Bernadette Farrell, Keith Getty, and Ethan McGrath. The Trinity Ringers will play Gerald Coleman’s consoling The Lamb and Arnold Sherman’s festive Jubilee. Please join us on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter Sunday and let our music help you experience this vital part of the Christian year.

 

Fun at Easter? Hop to it!

Hello, kids of Trinity Church. I hope you are doing well and are enjoying spring. This is an exciting time of year. Flowers are blooming, the weather is warmer and there’s more of a chance to play outside.

There’s another even more important event that happens this month. Easter! That’s right. It’s the day we celebrate when Jesus came back. This is what happened: Jesus died and his friends were very sad; but then on the third day after he died, he came back from the dead! He did this to let us know that Jesus is the Son of God, God loves us so much, and that there is life with God after death.

Why do we celebrate Easter with the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs and tons of chocolate candy? There are lots of different stories about how the Bunny and the eggs represent new life. (Personally, I think people just like eating chocolate bunnies and jelly beans!)

Would you like to be a part of Trinity’s Easter Egg Hunt? We’d love to see you there. We’ll gather on the big lawn next to the Fellowship Building on Palm Sunday, April 9, after the 10:30 service. There is a special section for younger kids and another for bigger kids. It’s always so much fun. Don’t forget your Easter basket!

Hunting for eggs and eating candy is awesome, but it’s not the best part about Easter. The very best part of Easter is knowing how much God loves us.

Have a happy Easter and remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!

Biscuit