April 2015 Newsletter

Happy Easter!

 

We are in the Easter season for all of April! But our Easter worship on Sunday was fabulous. Thanks to all the people who helped set up for our breakfast and decorated all the tables. Thanks to all the Deacons and their helpers who dressed the altar, and thanks to all who worked hard hiding eggs. We really started on the right note and celebrated well.
We want to continue that celebration throughout the Easter season and beyond, so we’re making a couple of changes to worship planning to make it easier for everyone to sing loudly and energetically. I was really touched when, at the end of Lent, I heard Martha singing our hymn of reflection, “Prepare the Way of the Lord.” I talked with the worship committee about changing up the music a little bit, and we’re excited to share with you the results of our discussions.

 

I always choose hymns to match the worship theme of the day, but the list of hymns appropriate both to a week’s text and upbeat/easily sung to open worship tends to be small. So to set the tone, we’ll have an opening hymn of the month (This month: To You Be the Glory). Because of the sense of worshipfulness and focus that “Prepare the Way of the Lord” brought during Lent, we will continue with that, using it to center ourselves before our Prayers of the People. Finally, we’d hoped to introduce the congregation to new hymns through different responses to benedictions at the end of the service, but it never quite worked like we’d hoped. So we’ll close with a seasonal hymn of departure.

 

I love to hear us singing! Alleluia!

 

Enjoy our April Newsletter! 

Ankeny UCC Reads the Bible 4/4/2015

John 16:16–24 (CEB)

16 Soon you won’t be able to see me; soon after that, you will see me.”

17 Some of Jesus’ disciples said to each other, “What does he mean: ‘Soon you won’t see me, and soon after that you will see me’ and ‘Because I’m going to the Father’? 18 What does he mean by ‘soon’? We don’t understand what he’s talking about.”

19 Jesus knew they wanted to ask him, so he said, “Are you trying to find out from each other what I meant when I said, ‘Soon you won’t see me, and soon after that you will see me’? 20 I assure you that you will cry and lament, and the world will be happy. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman gives birth, she has pain because her time has come. But when the child is born, she no longer remembers her distress because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 In the same way, you have sorrow now; but I will see you again, and you will be overjoyed. No one takes away your joy. 23 In that day, you won’t ask me anything. I assure you that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Up to now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete.

 

Ankeny UCC Reads the Bible 4/3/2015

John 13:1–11 (CEB)

13 Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully.

Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.”

“No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.”

Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus responded, “Those who have bathed need only to have their feet washed, because they are completely clean. You disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 He knew who would betray him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”

Ankeny UCC Reads Lamentations 4/2/2015

The end of Lamentations!

 

19 But you, Lord, will rule forever;

your throne lasts from one generation

to the next.

20 Why do you forget us continually;

why do you abandon us

for such a long time?

21 Return us, Lord, to yourself.

Please let us return!

Give us new days,

like those long ago—

22 unless you have completely rejected us,

or have become too angry with us.


Ankeny UCC Reads Lamentations, 4/1/2015

16 The crown has fallen off our head.

We are doomed

because we have sinned.

17 Because of all this our heart is sick;

because of these things

our glance is dark.

18 Mount Zion, now deserted—

only jackals walk on it now!

Ankeny UCC Reads Lamentations 3/30/15

We held out a hand to Egypt

and to Assyria, to get sufficient food.

Our fathers have sinned and are gone,

but we are burdened

with their iniquities.

Slaves rule over us;

there is no one to rescue us

from their power.

We get our bread at the risk of our lives

because of the desert heat.

10 Our skin is as hot as an oven

because of the burning heat of famine.

Ankeny UCC Reads Lamentations March 31, 2015

11 Women have been raped in Zion,

young women in Judah’s cities.

12 Officials have been hung up

by their hands;

elders have been shown no respect.

13 Young men have carried grinding stones;

boys have stumbled

under loads of wood.

14 Elders have left the city gate;

young people stop their music.

15 Joy has left our heart;

our dancing has changed

into lamentation.

Ankeny UCC Reads Lamentations March 29, 2015

5 Lord, consider what has become of us;

take notice of our disgrace. Look at it!

Our property has been turned

over to strangers;

our houses belong to foreigners.

We have become orphans,

having no father;

our mothers are like widows.

We drink our own water—but for a price;

we gather our own wood—

but pay for it.

Our hunters have been at our necks;

we are worn out, but have no rest.

Lamentations 4 March 28

20 Our king, our life’s breath, the anointed of God,

was caught in their traps—

Our king under whose protection

we always said we’d live.

21 Celebrate while you can, O Edom!

Live it up in Uz!

For it won’t be long before you drink this cup, too.

You’ll find out what it’s like to drink God’s wrath,

Get drunk on God’s wrath

and wake up with nothing, stripped naked.

22 And that’s it for you, Zion. The punishment’s complete.

You won’t have to go through this exile again.

But Edom, your time is coming:

He’ll punish your evil life, put all your sins on display.

 

Lamentations 4 March 27

17 We watched and watched,

wore our eyes out looking for help. And nothing.

We mounted our lookouts and looked

for the help that never showed up.

18 They tracked us down, those hunters.

It wasn’t safe to go out in the street.

Our end was near, our days numbered.

We were doomed.

19 They came after us faster than eagles in flight,

pressed us hard in the mountains, ambushed us in the desert.

Lamentations 4 March 26

14 These prophets and priests blindly grope their way through the streets,

grimy and stained from their dirty lives,

Wasted by their wasted lives,

shuffling from fatigue, dressed in rags.

15 People yell at them, “Get out of here, dirty old men!

Get lost, don’t touch us, don’t infect us!”

They have to leave town. They wander off.

Nobody wants them to stay here.

Everyone knows, wherever they wander,

that they’ve been kicked out of their own hometown.

16 God himself scattered them.

No longer does he look out for them.

He has nothing to do with the priests;

he cares nothing for the elders.