The Mind of Christ in Lent

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

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 was 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.

Jim

 

Out with the Old; In with the New Beginning

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Spring is almost here. It’s on Sunday, March 19. I can’t wait. I love spring and everything that it brings: flowers, more hours of daylight, and warmer weather (although I can’t complain about this winter). But mostly, I love knowing with spring comes Easter. Easter reminds us about renewal and life. We celebrate the God-come-to-earth in Jesus. We reflect on his self-sacrificing love, and we rejoice in our opportunity to live our lives reflecting his time on earth.

This is also a perfect time for spring cleaning. It’s not just about sorting through an out of control sock drawer or clearing out a hall closet. (Although getting rid of extra stuff in our lives can be a form of service if we donate useful items to those in need.) The spring cleaning I’m talking about is more spiritual in nature. It involves searching out the things that are holding us back from, or getting in the way of, our connection to God.

What is getting in the way of your spiritual life? What are the things that you need to pack up and deal with for once and for all? Maybe it’s guilt, envy or shame. Maybe it’s the need to forgive or to be forgiven by someone. Whatever it is, know that God is with you in your struggle. Your church family at Trinity is also here with prayer and support. Please know that Jim, Keith and I are always here to listen and pray with you if you need us.

I invite you to take stock of what’s important in your life and then act on it. I’ll see you Sunday.

 

March 2020 at Trinity

March 2 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

March 8 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
March 8 Executive Council

11:45 a.m.

March 10 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Finding Dorothy, by Elizabeth Letts
March 21 Christ House
March 16 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

March 21 Christ House
March 28 Good Works Day

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

See details below.
March 29 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

March 30 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Support our Preschool while eating at Chipotle on Wednesday, March 4. Visit the restaurant at 6707 Old Dominion Dr. in McLean between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tell them you are supporting the cause and 33% of the proceeds will be donated to Trinity Preschool of McLean.


Spring Good Works Day

Saturday, March 28

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Trustees and Church & Society will host Trinity’s Spring Good Works Day on March 28, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. followed by a BBQ chicken lunch. Trustees will have the tools and supplies for helpers of all ability levels to work on inside and outside projects around the campus including the Fellowship Building and Trinity House. Drop in when you are able and join your friends for a morning of service that will enhance our campus and serve our neighbors, then stay for BBQ and fellowship. For more information please contact Wayne Detwiler for trustee projects (wdetwiler@trideum.com); William Liu for Church and Society projects (williamliu@att.net); and Reba Page for Trinity Cooks Crew (pagerann@hotmail.com).

Musical Offerings for Lent

Trinity’s Chancel Choir will present a just-published anthem in March (the distinguished composer Elaine Hagenberg’s comforting You Do Not Walk Alone) while bringing back several choir favorites: an Italianate Kyrie (created by the teen-aged Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart upon returning from his third stay in Milan), Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of Our Hearts (a touching prayer written by Henry Purcell for the funeral of Queen Mary and sung at his own funeral in Westminster Abbey later that year), O God, Be Merciful to Me (a melodious miniature long attributed to the Renaissance master Lassus but now thought to be a 19th-century confection), Wondrous Love (an evergreen arrangement of this popular shape-note hymn by Marie Pooler), and O Love (also composed by Hagenberg). The Trinity Ringers’ Lenten offering will be Jason Krug’s dramatic setting of Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed (#294 in our Hymnal). If you’re thinking of joining one of Trinity’s adult choirs, now is a perfect time to attend a Thursday evening rehearsal* and see what we’re preparing for Easter!

 

* Trinity Ringers rehearses at 6:30 p.m. and Chancel Choir at 7:30 p.m. Contact Jerry Rich for more.

 

What is Lent?

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church Mascot

A big hello to all the kids at Trinity Church. I’m Henny and I’m the church mascot. I’m so happy to have such great friends at Trinity.

Does is feel like we just celebrated Christmas? It was so much fun opening presents and hanging out with my family. I got a cool Frisbee for Christmas that I still play with almost every day. I can even catch it while it’s still in the air. But Christmas is over and do you know what season we are in now? If you guessed Lent, you’re right!

Lent is an important season. This is the time (forty days, not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. Each day of Lent we are invited to take time to think about Jesus: what he did, how he lived his life and how much he loves us. Sometimes people go through Lent giving up something that they really like; this might be TV, or dessert, or time spent on the computer. All this is great, but there’s another way we can remember Jesus. Instead of giving up something, maybe you would like to honor Jesus by doing something. You could help out at home, eat lunch with a kid at your school who usually eats alone, or write a thank you note to someone who has been super nice to you (maybe one of your teachers).

The purpose of Lent is to have us remember all that Jesus has done for us and to prepare us for the celebration that is Easter.

Do you have a question for me? I’d love to answer it. Just send it to me at bit.ly/AskHenny.

Don’t forget my motto: Paws for Jesus!

Henny

February 2020 at Trinity

Finance Update: 2019 Contribution statements were mailed on Friday, January 31, 2020. The 2020 offering envelopes will arrive by mid-February. Please pick up your box from the Narthex or Fellowship Lobby. Or, easily and securely sign-up for electronic giving through our app or umtrinity.org/give.

Feb. 3 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Feb. 9 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Feb. 11 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Morning Star, by Ann Hood
Feb. 15 Christ House
Feb. 16 Trustees

11:30 a.m.

Feb. 17 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Feb. 23 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

Feb. 23 3rd Grade Bibles If your 3rd grader will be present to receive a Bible, Please contact
hlatta@umtrinity.org .
Feb. 25 Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

5 –7 p.m.

See graphic above for details
Feb. 26 Ash Wednesday worship

12 & 7 p.m.

 

 

Choral, Handbell, and Organ Music for February 2020

If you’d like to know how our adult choirs plan to mark the transition from hope-filled Epiphany to reflective Lent while also celebrating Black History Month, here are some of the musical offerings we will share with the Trinity community during Sunday services this February.

EPIPHANY IV, V, and VI (February 2, 9, 16): We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace is a spiritual based on Psalm 23 as arranged by the distinguished African American choral conductor, pianist, arranger, and educator William Appling. In the Sweet By-and-By is an 1868 Joseph Webster hymn that has been sung by artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, and Anonymous 4; Trinity’s Chancel Choir uses Howard Helvey’s 1993 arrangement. O God, Our Help in Ages Past is Penny Rodriguez’s moving 2006 setting of Psalm 90.

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY (February 23): Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies is Philip Ledger’s 1988 setting of a Charles Wesley hymn text. O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair is a Transfiguration hymn for handbells; its stirring melody is based on the Renaissance English Agincourt carol DEO GRACIAS ANGLIA and can be heard in Sir Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film Henry V.

ASH WEDNESDAY (February 26): Be Merciful, O Lord is a 1990 setting by Australian composer Christopher Willcock of Psalm 51, which is traditionally sung at the beginning of Lent. O God, Be Merciful to Me is a 1999 setting by William Rowan of an 1860 chorale by Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin.

ORGAN MUSIC: February’s preludes and postludes will include music by African-American composers Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989; Professor of Music at Virginia State University); Mark Fax (1911-1974; Professor of Music at Howard University); and Nkeiru Okoye (b. 1975, composer of the opera Harriet Tubman) as well as settings of the spirituals Balm in Gilead, I Want to Be Ready, and Steal Away.

Answering Questions and Scoring Big at Scrabble

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church Mascot

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! I hope your February is going well. Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? Dogs aren’t supposed to have chocolate, so my family gives me a Valentine’s cookie that’s made especially for dogs. It’s pretty awesome.

You know what else I love? Answering questions from my friends! Here’s one from a Sunday School class. They were learning about how some churches are shaped like a cross, and they asked why Trinity doesn’t have a cross shape. Good question!

Do you play Scrabble? It’s a fun board game where you spell out words. I have a good one for you: cruciform. Churches that are in the shape of a cross are said to have a cruciform shape. That’s just a fancy way of saying they are built to look like a cross. Sometimes you can see the shape by looking at the outside of the building. But, that’s not true with Trinity. You need to be inside the sanctuary to see it.  In fact, to see the shape best, you really should be standing in the balcony.

Check out the picture of the sanctuary. We drew in an outline of the cross to let you see it better. The center aisle makes up the long part of the cross. The shorter “arms” of the cross are called the transepts. The top of our cross ends with the organ.

Here’s another fun fact: the altar (top) end of the cross is pointing to the east. Do you remember why the east is so important in the Bible? I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with the wise men. The wise men followed the star that was in the eastern sky. They followed that east star to find Jesus. So, our church also faces Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

Thanks for your question. Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Ask away!

Don’t forget my motto: Paws for Jesus!

Henny

Korah’s Restoration

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

For some of us, 2019 was not memorable, and we wish we could have some moments over again. If that’s the case, then the story of Korah’s children should remind us of God’s restoration and redemption. There are eleven songs ascribed to “Sons of Korah” in the book of Psalms. This is surprising since Korah was a reviled character in the wilderness stories (Exodus-Numbers). Three main theories account for their existence: One, these psalms point to nefarious elements in the Bible; two, they are coincidental because they are not related to Korah in the Exodus-Numbers account; three, they witness to God’s redemptive act on the vilest elements in society. The strongest scholarly and rabbinic arguments favor theory number three.

Numbers 16 recounts the tale of Korah’s rebellion against Moses’ authority. The cause of the rebellion is not clear but Korah challenged Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership with support from 250 leaders. His claim was that Moses and Aaron should not be esteemed because all of God’s assembly is deemed holy. Moses replied that God will decide. The next day, the ground opened and swallowed up Korah, his family and his conspirators. Additionally, a plague broke out killing 14,700 people. Needless to say, this incident is one of the harshest stories in the wilderness narrative.

Rabbinic literature is unanimous that sons of Korah were saved. The most common view is that when the ground opened up, they were caught up in the air. Some say they were given a special place in the underworld to compose these psalms and other praises. As for scholarly sources I cite David Mitchell’s article on the topic. He points out various places in the Bible where the theme of Korah’s descendants are mentioned. The most famous one is Hannah because of her marriage to Elkanah (a name associated with the Korah clan). Mitchell claims the prevalent theme in Korahite psalms is the phrase “God will redeem my soul from Sheol.” This fits the idea that God restores those who were punished for their misdeeds and mistakes.

The redemption of the sons of Korah is not explicit in the Hebrew Bible. A careful and distinct thread is woven through different parts, and an attentive eye could uncover this truth; no matter how bad one messes up, God works diligently to turn that around. If you had an unpleasant 2019, for the start of the new year I want to remind you that God restores us from the pit of the most dreadful mistakes, circumstances and problems, and we have a future to look forward to. Psalm 85, one of the Korahite psalms, declares:

Restore us, O God of our salvation,

And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

Will You be angry with us forever?

Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?…

Show us Your loving kindness, O Lord,

And grant us Your salvation.

 

January 2020 at Trinity

Get Involved at Trinity

Want to be more involved? Trinity Church is always in need of more volunteers. To sign up or learn more about these ministries, please contact the people listed:

Acolytes, Crucifers and Langley Bell Ringers (for children in 2nd – 12th grade)

bit.ly/trinityacb

Adult Choirs: Jerry Rich

Children’s Choir: Michelle Zenk

Children’s Sunday School Teachers: Melissa Harris

Greeters & Fellowship at 8:30: Karen Taylor

Greeters & Fellowship at 10:30: Kathy Maher

Ushers at 10:30: Vinnie & Sandy DeMicco

For other opportunities, please speak with one of the pastors.

Jan. 1 Office Closed  
Jan. 7 Staff Parish Relations Committee

7 p.m.

Jan. 12 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Jan. 14 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoi
Jan. 15 Preschool Parenting Hour

9:30 a.m

Jan. 15 Staff Parish Relations Committee

7 p.m.

Jan. 18 Christ House  
Jan. 20 Office Closed  
Jan. 21 Celebration of Life: Len Holmberg

10 a.m.

Jan. 26 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

 
Jan. 30 Lunch & Learn for
Seniors

11 a.m.

See graphic below