The Mind of Christ

by James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

A Message from James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Mind of Christ in Lent

James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Trinity’s annual Pancake Supper is Tuesday, March 4. Join us for a celebration of Fat Tuesday, the day that precedes Ash Wednesday, the first of the 40 days of Lent. Lent is probably the most widely observed season in the Christian year. Remember that Easter Day was originally the only day in the Christian year! The early Christians met weekly on the first day of the week to pray, break bread, and share in the apostles’ reminiscences of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Acts 2:42). Their meetings were characterized by an expectation of their Lord’s immediate, sudden return. In this ecstatic atmosphere, one did not do long-range planning and goal setting. Within the pages of the New Testament, we have indications that time is fast becoming a threat to Christian faith. Time, if it were not to be an enemy, had to be made a friend. It was through this domestication of time that the Christian year evolved.

Although the precise details of the evolution are impossible to know, the general outline is rather easy to discern. First, there was the weekly celebration of the Resurrection. This celebration was of the entire Paschal mystery: the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension, the gift of the Spirit, and the promise of the Lord’s return. There next emerged a special emphasis in the spring on the celebration of the Paschal feast in relation to the actual time of the historical event. This celebration extended itself back through the Crucifixion on Friday and the Last Supper on Thursday, thus creating the Paschal Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. We know that in Jerusalem the custom began having the bishop ride a donkey into the city on the Sunday before the Passion and so inaugurate that period of observance that we call Holy Week.

Penitential discipline came to be attached to Lent as the Church increasingly understood itself as the field where the wheat and the weeds grew together. A major disagreement in the second century had to do with how to deal with those who denied or betrayed the faith. Those who had sinned were expected to perform appropriate penance. It soon became customary for all Christians to use the Lenten period as a time for repentance of past sins and self-denial (hence, “giving things up” for Lent), even if their sins had not been of a major or notorious kind.

Lent, then, is not a prolonged meditation upon the Passion and death of Christ, a pre-extended Good Friday. The clue to the meaning of Lent can be found by looking at the two days that frame it, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On Ash Wednesday, it is customary in many congregations for persons to have ashes placed upon their heads while they are being told, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” In other words, we are confronted by the fact of our mortality in a vivid physical encounter. On Good Friday, we witness the death of another human being, and we are told that in this death we all have died. Lent is intended to end at the cross, but it begins with the human condition that we all share, and it takes on the character of a pilgrimage. We’re on a pilgrimage. Keep an account of what you observe along the way.

 

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Come Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

by Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Congratulations! We made it through the crazy snow days of January and February. Here’s hoping for some early spring-like weather. Before you know it, Easter will be here. First, of course, is the season of Lent, the time where we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

Maybe you have been trying out Trinity recently. Maybe you’ve been attending for a while. Maybe you’ve been thinking you like it here and might want to join. No matter where you are in the process, we’re happy you’re here.

This is a perfect time of the church year to be a part of Trinity. We’ll come together in fellowship for our pancake supper on March 4. The next day is Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent. We hope you’ll join us each Sunday and then again as we worship during Holy Week–Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

We hope you find Trinity to be a warm, open and welcoming place. If you’re interested in joining Trinity, please let any of the clergy know. We’d love to talk with you about the church. We’d also be delighted to talk about baptism for you or your children.

We’ll have a Coffee with the Pastor coming up soon; I’ll keep you posted on the date. This is a fabulous time to ask any questions you might have about Trinity, the greater United Methodist Church, or Christianity in general. Until then, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Blessings,

Eileen

 

Do You Remember?

by Amy Crisp, Minister of Education

CRISP-ANDREW-113But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.        – Deuteronomy 8:18

These words were spoken to the Israelites just before they entered the Promised Land. Following their entry into the land, Joshua called the people to create a memorial to remember the great things that the Lord had done and will continue to do for God’s people.

When your children ask in time to come, “What do these stones mean to you?” then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.  – Joshua 4:6-7

God did not want the people to forget.

God wants us to remember the ways in which God has taught, blessed, and guided us.

But it’s not enough just to remember. We must also teach our children, the next generation, about the amazing God who cares for us.

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children…  – Deuteronomy 4:9

As we enter the season of Lent, being led ever closer to the cross and the wondrous love that is evidenced there, let us remember the Lord our God.

What is God doing in your life? How are you being guided and transformed?

How are you preserving and passing on the faith to those who will come after you?

 

Church & Society: March 2014

by Kelly Slone, Committee Chairperson

Collection Drive to Benefit Martha’s Table

During March, we’ll be collecting unopened travel-sized toiletries (such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap) for Martha’s Table, a center in Washington, D.C., that supports families in need. These toiletries will be given as Mother’s Day gifts. Please place your donations in the collection bins in the Narthex or Fellowship Building.

DC Scholars at Stanton

Many thanks go to the Trinity membership for their February donations of tissues, antibiotic wipes and gels to DC Scholars at Stanton. There was enough to supply each of 32 classrooms and the office with all three items. These supplies were greatly appreciated. Mentoring continued in February emphasizing Black History, reading Facing the Lion by Joseph Lekuton and examining natural history specimens from Science Day.

Have you ever considered being a tutor? Now’s your chance. No experience necessary! Curriculum and supplies are provided. Please contact Suzanne Hamilton, suzanhamil@aol.com,703-759-6264.

February Collection Drive for ChildHelp

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful donation of socks and t-shirt for the children living at the ChildHelp Alice C. Tyler Village. These items are always needed for the 62 children who live there.  They really appreciated your kindness!

Martha’s Table

Since the 1990s, Trinity has been making sandwiches for Martha’s Table in the District. That adds up to somewhere around 250,000 sandwiches made and delivered to the hungry and homeless! To pull this off every second Sunday of the month, we need volunteers to get the bread, prepare the sandwiches and deliver them. Can you help out any month this year? Look for the signup sheet in the Fellowship Building or contact Molly Sprouse at mollysprouse@gmail.com.

 

Spring Handbell Workshop

by Jerry Rich, Director of Music

RICH-JERRY-9Trinity’s ringers will participate in a handbell workshop on Saturday, April 5 from 4-6 p.m. in the Music Room (Rm. 115). We are fortunate to have Nick Hanson as our clinician. Nick has been serving as the director of handbell ensembles at the Potomac School in McLean, VA, since 2006, and as the handbell director at Bush Hill Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA, since 2008.  At Potomac, Nick’s duties include teaching instrumental music curriculum to 5th – 12th grade students who participate in any of the school’s four handbell ensembles, and teaching private handbell lessons.  His directing duties at Bush Hill currently involve a teen/adult ensemble and a 4th – 6th grade ensemble, which began as a part of their weekly Wednesday Club program.  Nick is a published handbell composer, and has served as faculty and clinician at handbell events nationally (Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia), and internationally (Hong Kong and Taiwan). He holds a BA degree in music from Concordia University, Irvine, CA, with a concentration in handbells.

 

Bless the Mess

by Ellen LaCroix, Children’s Choir Director

ellenI recently heard someone at school say, that “As Christians, we need to get our acts together because God does not bless a mess.” As soon as I heard this I thought to myself, “If God does not bless a mess then I am in deep trouble.” So many things about life are just messy. Trying to juggle school, family, friendships, and work sometimes looks like a cartoon character trying to roller-skate. Inevitably mistakes are made, balls get dropped, and our lives look more like splatter paint than coloring inside the lines.

But I am comforted to know that the Bible is full of beautiful messes. The disciples were constantly fumbling their tasks or missing the point of Jesus’ teachings. They slept when they needed to pray, reprimanded when they needed to welcome, and panicked when they needed to remain calm, but still God blessed the mess. The Israelites doubted when they needed faith, worshiped idols instead of God, and took their gifts for granted, but still God blessed the mess. The prophets in the Old Testament ran away when they should have run closer, complained when they should have praised, and kept silent when they should have shouted, but still God blessed the mess. There is an unmistakable beauty in the chaos of life, but God has an amazing capacity for grace in this chaos. We try with all our might to follow the way of Jesus, but somehow things get messy. So today, and every day I pray: Thanks be to God for blessing this mess!

 

Listening to Tone

by Chris Abel, Youth Director

ABEL-CHRIS-97You may have noticed I’m growing out a beard. Yes, I know it’s pretty amazing, but in spite of this I keep getting strange comments from teens who say I look like “an old man” or like “a retired gladiator.” Interesting compliments, my friends….

I also know these things are said with a glint of mischief in their eyes and a smile on their faces. These are my students, and I know that our relationship is not antagonistic, but caring. I tease them, they tease me.

But even at 30 years old and with a beard, sometimes even I get treated like a child. And there is nothing quite as antagonizing as speaking to someone as if they were beneath you.

Teenagers understand this feeling, too. They’re slowly moving in-between childhood and adulthood, with the compounded problems of both. And sometimes we make the mistake of treating them like children. Even I make this mistake sometimes.

One of the most fascinating things Jesus did was gather apprentices as disciples. Apprentices in the first century would have been what we called “teenagers.” They were young. And Jesus believed in them and trained them and even called them friends.

So next time you have the urge to speak down to someone, remember that respect will build a relationship. Disdain will destroy it. Which will you choose?