Lent 2017 ~ Warning, Challenges Ahead!

lent_6316cLent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God.  It’s the forty days before Easter.  Lent excludes Sundays because every Sunday is like a little Easter.  Basically it’s about one-tenth of a year (like a tithe of time).  Mardi Gras is the day before Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter seem late this year – at least later than last year. This year (2017) Lent begins on March 1 (Ash Wednesday) and ends on April 16 (Easter).  All these dates are based on the date of Easter which can fall between March 22 and April 25.  The most common date for Easter is April 19, so we aren’t that far off this year.  First Council of Nicaea (325 AD), a gathering of bishops, determined Easter would always fall on the first Sunday after the paschal full Moon – the first full moon of the spring equinox.  Here are this year’s Lent, Holy Week and Easter dates:

  • March 1 ~ Ash Wednesday
  • April 9 ~ Palm Sunday
  • April 13 ~ Maundy Thursday
  • April 14 ~ Good Friday
  • April 16 ~ Easter Sunday

A daily devotional based on the lectionary is available in the Sanctuary.

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In the Season of Lent, we seek to draw closer in our relationship to God and to do what is lent-2017-warningandchallengesmost pleasing to him.  That means we need to be aware of habits or patterns we need to avoid, but sometimes fall into.  In various places in the writings of Paul we find lists of these things.  Scholars call them “vice lists.”  They are not nice things at all—misplaced affections, misuse of our bodies, strife, jealousy, etc.–and, perhaps that is why we rarely preach on such lists.  Mike and Dean will be using one of these “vice lists” in Galatians 5closeGalatians 5 Christ Has Set Us Free 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Walk by the Spirit 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, spanisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV) closeGalatians 5closeGalatians 5 Christ Has Set Us Free 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Walk by the Spirit 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, spanisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV) Christ Has Set Us Free 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Walk by the Spirit 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, spanisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV) which describes works of the flesh which are opposed to the works of the Spirit as a basis for several sermons.  Our theme will be “Warning, Challenges Ahead!” Paul writes, “I am warning you, as I warned you before; those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  When we have been adequately warned, we are sure to slow down and move with care so that we can make ours a safe journey with Christ.

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Palm Sunday ~ April 9

  • Palm Sunday Breakfast ~ Enjoy breakfast provided by the Deacons served in the Social Hall from 8:00 – 11:00 am.  Come before or after the worship services which are at 9:00 and 11:15 am
  • Palm Sunday Peace Walk ~ The Peace Walk is a participatory community event focused on bringing together our diverse community to acknowledge ways we work for peace by serving the people Jesus called us to serve; the poor, the sick, the isolated, the downtrodden and imprisoned.
    This 1 mile walk starting at 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 9th will begin at University Baptist & Brethren Church and visit five stops along the way to hear voices of peace from our community and pray for peace and healing in our divided world. We will end at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for a simple soup meal together.
    All are welcome to participate in this walk regardless of faith tradition.

Maundy Thursday ~ April 13

  • Pot Luck Dinner at 6:00 pm in the Social Hall followed by worship with Communion at 7:30 pm in the Sanctuary

Good Friday ~ April 14

  • Community Good Friday Worship Service from noon – 3:00 pm here at SCPC (see schedule below)
  • Evening Good Friday Worship Service at SCPC at 7:30 pm

Good Friday Community Service   — “The Questions They Asked”

~ 12:05 to 12.30 pm – Matthew 26:15closeMatthew 26:15 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (ESV) closeMatthew 26:15closeMatthew 26:15 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (ESV) 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (ESV) , “What will you give me if I betray him to you?”
Marv Friesen, Pastor, University Mennonite Church

~ 12:30 to 12.55 pm – Matthew 26:40closeMatthew 26:40 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? (ESV) closeMatthew 26:40closeMatthew 26:40 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? (ESV) 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? (ESV) , “Could you not stay awake?”
Dean Lindsey, Pastor, State College Presbyterian Church

~ 12:55 to 1.20 pm – Luke 22:52closeLuke 22:52 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? (ESV) closeLuke 22:52closeLuke 22:52 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? (ESV) 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? (ESV) , “Have you come out with swords and clubs as If I were a bandit?”
Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, Pastor, University Baptist and Brethren Church’

~ 1:20 to 1.45 pm – John 18:17closeJohn 18:17 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” (ESV) closeJohn 18:17closeJohn 18:17 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” (ESV) 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” (ESV) , “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
Greg Malinovich, Pastor, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

~ 1:45 to 2.10 pm – John 18:38closeJohn 18:38 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. (ESV) closeJohn 18:38closeJohn 18:38 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. (ESV) 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. (ESV) , “What is truth?”
Susan Williamson, Pastor, Pine Hall Lutheran Church

~ 2:20 to 2.35 pm – Luke 23:40closeLuke 23:40 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? (ESV) closeLuke 23:40closeLuke 23:40 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? (ESV) 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? (ESV) , “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?”
Stephens Lynn, Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church

~ 2:35 to 3.00 pm – Matthew 26:46closeMatthew 26:46 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (ESV) closeMatthew 26:46closeMatthew 26:46 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (ESV) 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (ESV) , “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”  My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Brett Myers, Interim Pastor, Faith United Church of Christ

Easter Sunday ~ April 16 ~ Hear the Good News!

  • Sunrise Service at PSU Arboretum at 6:30 am
  • Brief Communion Service at 8:00 am
  • Celebration Worship Services at 9:00 and 11:15 am

Click Here to view/download the 2017 Lent Brochure (pdf)