03.19.2021 Pastor's Note | God of Mercy

Have mercy on me, God,

according to your faithful love!

Wipe away my wrongdoings

according to your great compassion!

(Psalm 51:1)

Good Day Family,

The God of Mercy

We believe that Psalm 51 was written by David after the greatest personal failing of his life. He saw Bethsheba, wanted her for himself, and took her despite the fact that she already had a husband and seemingly without her consent. David then conspires so that her husband will be killed in battle. This is the part of David’s story that isn’t often told. We like our Biblical characters as heroes who do great things, but in limiting their story to only the positive parts, we negate their humanity.

Psalm 51 is one of my favorites because it reflects the reality of needing God in our worst hour and believing, despite what we’ve done and who we’ve become, that God’s compassion is greater than our behavior. God does not hold grudges and God loves unconditionally. When we mess up, even as horrifically as David did, it doesn’t cancel out our entire lives. By extension, when others make mistakes or act egregiously, it doesn’t make that the end of their story. God redeems, heals, and delivers. God is merciful and so should we be.

David was truly repentant, and he was forgiven. Because he had an intimate relationship with God, he trusted God with the ugliness of his life. He didn’t have to be a warrior before God. He could be a failed human being seeking another chance. That God for mercies that are new every morning. Thank God for grace. Thank God for forgiveness and redemption. We all need that God of compassion who responds to our cry and hears our plea.

As we look forward to last days of Lent, we are reminded of the passion of Jesus, who is God’s compassion made flesh and God’s love realized abundantly. We plan a Holy Week that will immerse of in that journey from triumphal entry to the Last Supper to the Cross and to the empty tomb. It will begin on the eve of Palm Sunday with an in-person distribution of the Palms on Saturday, March 27. If you would like to receive them in your cars, you can drive up between 3 and 4:30. There will be a brief ritual in the Sanctuary at 4 pm which will include prayers and distribution of the palms to be used in worship the next day.

We will also distribute Holy Week Worship Bags, which will contain something for each day of the week. In addition, the Sanctuary will be open for private reflection on:

  • Holy Tuesday, March 30, 9 -11 am

  • Maundy Thursday, April 1, 1 – 3 pm

  • Good Friday, April 2, 1-3 pm

We will have our normal online worship for Palm Sunday, March 28, 10 am. Maundy Thursday Service will also be streamed lived at 7 pm on April 1. Good Friday will be streamed at 7 pm on Zoom for those who would like to gather together. It will be made available on Facebook and our YouTube Channel throughout the day. On Holy Saturday, we invite you to fill the cross on our grounds with flowers as we continue that long-standing tradition.

Finally, we will reach Resurrection Sunday on April 4. There will be a Sunrise Service at the Reservoir at 7 am and an online service at 10 am that will be streamed on Zoom and premiered on our YouTube Channel. This service will be recorded in the Sanctuary as our Christmas Eve Worship Service was. Special thanks to our Music Ministry and the Diaconate for all of their contributions toward these worship services and Holy Week plans.

God is good and faithful! Thanks be to God!

In gratitude,

Be well,

Pastor Cheryl

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