Next Stated Meeting
Date
: May 20, 2014
Time: 9 am Registration/10 am Meeting Begins
PlaceFirst Presbyterian Church of Statesboro
Your Action Step: Please elect your Commissioners ASAP and email to Presbytery

Handbook will be uploaded to Events -> Stated & Called Meetings in early May

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Thoughts on Holy Week

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As Lent is winding down, we enter preparation for Holy Week to be followed by Resurrection Sunday.  Our lectionary has moved us through Palm Sunday and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, cheered by the masses and feared by politicians, both inside and outside the church.  We will watch Jesus lose it in the Temple, debate the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Temple,  try to comfort his disciples as he knows what must happen and what that will cost as the crowds dwindle and one of his closest betrays him.  Before we know it Maundy Thursday will be upon us.  Jesus will be arrested, mocked, denied and deserted.  He will be beaten and ridiculed.  He will stand trial, and though there is no evidence against him, the shouts that cried. “Hosanna” will scream, “Crucify Him!”   He will be alone in the end calling out for God without a response.   The last words will come as he utters, “It is finished.” Jesus will die!  He will be dead, dead, dead!

The Reverend Jill Duffield writes in “The Presbyterian Outlook” this week about these last three words which Jesus whispered to himself.  She says that during an Episcopal service on Good Friday one year, the priest went out and brought in by herself a large wooden cross. It was heavy and bulky and the priest struggled as she moved it to the chancel; finally placing it upright and tilted, but steady.  She began her sermon and used the Greek word, tetelestai, which is translated, “It is finished.”  Rev Duffield said she remembered that it is not finished as in it is over.  Rather it means, “It is finished,” as in “it is completed, fulfilled, perfected, accomplished.”

She goes on to say, “that is the Easter proclamation that we can make even on Good Friday.  It is accomplished.  God’s work in Christ is completed and therefore resurrection is unstoppable.”

As we journey through this week, I pray we will take it all in.  How such Wondrous Love as this could be for the world; for us, for you and me.    And yet, There Is More!  The tomb is empty.  Death is not the end.  Resurrection was three days out after, “it was accomplished.”  Resurrection is here and now!

So let us take time this week to reflect and remember what Christ did that week for us.  Then on Easter Sunday may our preaching and our listening this year proclaim this GOSPEL.  May we focus on believing and living out resurrection in our lives, so that the world may see the Resurrected Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Russell

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It is Time to Register for Summer Camp!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThank you, Thank you, Thank you! Due to the overwhelming response by members of Savannah Presbytery (and beyond), plans are once again moving forward to have a full session of Summer Camp (four nights of youth camp, three nights of elementary camp, two nights of primary camp and one night of family camp)!  We are so grateful to all the folks who are able to make camp a priority this summer!
Camp Dates are: June 16-21, 2014
Place: Camp Ebeneezer, Rincon, GA
Registration information and brochures are here.
We may still need a few adult volunteers and a lifeguard or two, so please contact Beth Sutton bsutton1@savannahpresbytery.org or call afternoons M-Th 912-264-1997
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Lenten Thoughts as Easter Approaches

It is amazing to think about God, the Creator of all that is using that creativity to make humanity in God’s image.  God pronounced his creation good, because that is the very essence of God.  God cannot be evil and so all God’s creativity results in good.  However, in our humanity we are given free will and may choose God’s good or not.  So that evil occurs in not choosing to live out our identity as God’s children in God’s image.

This, I believe is where Jesus, God incarnate, comes to us to show us the way humanity can live into its identity as fully human.  At the same time God acts through Jesus to take on our wrong choices which blur the image of God in us.  And through this sacrifice of God’s self, God redeems us, as if we did not, and do not continue to turn from God.

Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness …”  Origen, who wrote in the third century about the image of God used 1 John 3:2 to show the difference of “image” and “likeness.” “My little children, we do not yet know what we shall be but if it shall be revealed to us concerning the Savior, without doubt you will say: We shall be like him.”

As we are approaching Easter, I think there is a word to say about imago dei.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in a webinar with Tom Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.  As he reviewed some possible texts for Easter Sunday he pointed to the person Jesus was after the resurrection as not being the same as before while he lived as fully human.  Many times he was not recognized at first.  He cautioned people not to touch him as he had not ascended yet to the Father.  After the resurrection Jesus’ body was not as it had been, Long said.  Then he said perhaps this might be a preview of his “likeness” and our “likeness” in the Kingdom of God.

In my ministry, I find I am increasingly pointed to imago dei as who we are created to be.  With God’s help through the Holy Spirit we can become more like that image here and now.  But, thanks be to God, the story of the resurrection of Jesus, The Living Lord, assures we shall indeed at last be like him.  Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Russell

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District 1 Pastor’s Luncheon

Thursday, April 3
Noon – 1:00 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church
520 Washington Avenue, Savannah

Join us for a fellowship luncheon (no charge) and compare notes on ministry. Also, Dr. Miriam Rittmeyer, director of the Community Health Mission in Savannah will talk about, “The Future of Health Care.” She earned her M.D. degree in Guatamala and a Ph.D in public health at UNC Chapel Hill. Make reservations by emailing stephen@savannahfpc.org

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