I’ve also been to my favorite website about professional cycling. Every year they post a very well written article that even those who are a little familiar with the sport have to think twice about. This year it was a little weak; the story is that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin nationalized a Russian-based cycling team. It has a picture of the Prime Minister riding a bike without a shirt…..everybody knows Putin rides a horse not a bike.
There are more than a few stories out there these days in the real headlines that I wish were something of an April Fool’s joke being played on us. One of the recent stories, coming from Indiana, is the passing of a law called of all things “The Religious Freedom Act.” This law seeks to grant the right of business owners to deny services to others based on the business owner’s religious conviction. Many who are against this law say it is a smokescreen to discriminate against the LGBT community. What I’ve read about this law makes me wonder if it has anything to do with “religion” or “freedom.” What is has to do with, if you ask me, is “fear.” Listen to Julian Bond, the civil rights leader and one-time member of the Georgia Legislature, and what he had to say about this in an Op-ed piece I read online:
“I have seen discrimination. I have stood inside businesses that would not serve me because of my race and I have been told that the rights of those business owners were more important than mine. I countered that logic then, as I do now. We have no crisis of religious discrimination; we have a crisis of fear. I stand against this bill and with those who are fighting to stop it. I refuse to allow discrimination to cloak itself in a shroud of faith. I refuse to give into fear.”
Events like the passage of “The Religious Freedom Act” are no joke. Headlines like this are unfortunately all too real. People acting this way are the reason we need a Holy Week. Today, on what we call “Holy Thursday”, we enter a time of reflection on the betrayal of Jesus. On Good Friday we remember the suffering and death of Jesus. Only after these experiences are we lead to the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. We need a Holy Week to remember that the world continues to be a place where fear and oppression, the very things used to crucify Jesus, are still very prominent, still used in the name of faith within our culture.
The final word, however, is that in the Resurrection of Jesus we believe God has provided an alternative, a different way to act, a new possibility in which to believe. Fear in whatever form it may present itself will not have the final word in God’s time. Our task this week is to recognize fear, when and where we see it, and then to practice to live out of a Resurrection faith that transforms that fear into something that is faithful to God’s intention to include all of creation in God’s embrace.
Below you’ll find the schedule for Holy Week services and Easter Sunday. Have a blessed Easter Day!
Holy Week Schedule
April 2 – Maundy Thursday Service at 7:00 p.m.
“A Service of Prayer and Remembrance”
Observance of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion)
April 3 – Good Friday Service at 7:00 p.m.
Tenebrae Service: “A Service of Shadows”
Music: Chancel Choir
April 4 – Children’s Easter Festival at 10:00 a.m.
April 5 – Easter Sunday Services
Sunrise Service at Eden Prairie Cemetery – 6:30 a.m.
Sanctuary Worship Services
Praise Celebration Service of the Resurrection and Holy Communion – 8:30 a.m.
Traditional Easter Worship Service – 10:00 a.m.
Sermon: “Running for Home”
Pastor Dan Schneider-Bryan Preaching
Complimentary Continental Breakfast beginning at 9:15 a.m.