HMC E-Newsletter April 4, 2012

We’re excited that we’ve been invited to join Pleasant Hills Baptist Church to share a meal and worship for Maunday Thursday this year. The Worship Team realized that worshiping with Pleasant Hills fits perfectly into our Lenten theme of seeing faith from different perspectives! As we open ourselves to other Christians outside our 4 walls in Houston we have the potential to really be blessed. I’d really love to share this time with you, please consider joining us!

Who: You!! And Pleasant Hills Baptist, a historic black church with amazing ministry in the 5th Ward. They are a small congregation just like us that has a huge fascination with Anabaptism, and has a ministry far larger than their numbers. We’re expecting 30-40 people total, between our two churches.
What: A shared meal catered in the “café,” called the Victual Room. A lite meal will be followed by a simple worship service calling to mind Jesus last week, and the call to service.
When: 6:30PM Thursday April 5. Carpool, cars to follow meet at HMC at 6:00PM
Where: 1510 Pannell St. Houston, TX 77020. (Heading East on I-10, take exit 771A Waco Street exit. Turn left on Waco, left at your first light onto Lyons, and left on Pannell St. after traveling just under a mile on Lyons. The church and Victual Room are on the left, park on the right. The Victual Room is just North (to the left) of the church building. Call me or look for me if you need anything (713-835-9436.)
Why: Lent from the Margins! Building much needed relationship with other Houstonians.

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Palm Sunday: Next week. With Communion Celebration.
►Maunday Thursday: 6:30PM With Pleasant Hills Baptist Church, for supper and worship. In the “Victual Room” at 1510 Pannell St. Houston, TX 77020.  Pleasant Hills is a historic black church with amazing ministry in the 5th Ward.
►Good Friday: Worship with a congregation near you!
►Easter Morning:
   – Community Easter Sunrise with HMC “Blooming Cross.”
7AM at Spring Valley Park, 1025 Campbell Road. HMC “Blooming Cross.”
   – Easter Potluck Brunch: 9:30AM at HMC. Bring casseroles and breakfast treats!
   – Easter Worship: 10:45AM at HMC

Unexpected News: Reading the Bible Through Third World Eyes discussion group Sunday’s at 9:30AM all welcome.
►Celebration Send-off for Sylvia Klauser. Sunday, April 15, 3-6 pm OPEN HOUSE – GOOD BYE and take something with you PARTY. See attachment for list of items she’s selling and/or getting rid of pre-move.
Ten Thousand Villages Sunday is April 15. Volunteer, shop, support fair trade!

Hell and Back Again, An Academy Award nominated documentary about the personal, family and societal costs of war. Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Rice Cinema Entrance # 8 University Blvd. at Stockton.

Potluck Fellowship Meal is April 22.

►Women’s Retreat: April 27-29 at the Blackwood Educational Land Institute near Waller, TX. Please see Gloria Wilson, Denise Duff, or Lynda Voran for more information. 

Doubtful Easter
By Sylvia Klauser first posted on her blog, Chaplain’s Weekly:

I love Easter. I love everything about it, the Easter eggs, the longer days, and the knowledge that there is new life in those scraggly old tree limbs. I love how the sun pulls the leaves out of deadness, giving everythin a lush, light green fur. I love the chocolates and Pascua bread we bake at our church.

But I’m a Christian. So I’m in explaining hades, trying to make sense of that story of a man, hung up to die for the sin of the world. I get seizures thinking about that. Have you ever thought about whether Jesus really knew what that resurrection business was all about? I mean, really, really knew as in ‘know that it will turn out ok in the end’ knew? Every Easter week I think about the doubts that Jesus must have had the closer he got to Jerusalem. I mean, he hinted here and there at something larger in him by raising some people from the dead, and chasing pigs over the edge, or by doing something socialist like feeding thousands of people on next to nothing. Sure, he talked about that temple that will be destroyed and in three days build again. But even if he had an inkling, how sure did he know?

See, I’m thinking if he really knew-knew, as in without a shadow of a doubt, why did he snarl at the chicken-headed disciples who snored with anxiety? If he knew he was God, he would have known that they couldn’t pass muster. And why did he need to pray an entire long and lonely night for the crucifixion to not happen? If he knew that he would be resurrected, he didn’t need to pray until his body chemistry changed. If Jesus really knew that this resurrection thing was real, he didn’t need to agonize over it; he could’ve just be calm and peaceful and meet his maker. Like we are supposed to be if we have enough faith. So, does that than mean that Jesus didn’t have enough faith in his resurrection, or did he not know, really know?

I’m pretty sure Jesus was clear about the kind of death he was up against. Really, he challenged the heck out of those religioulous gatekeepers and turned the societal order of the day up-side and down again. Wouldn’t we crucify such a crazed man too, or at least dope him up with some psychotropic cocktails and keep him on a behavioral health unit for some time? Honestly, Jesus did some ballsy stuff in his days. If we, the Christ-ians really did that today, we’d be sent to some correctional facility on Robben Island. If I read the gospels in one sitting, it almost appears as if he forced his way to a confrontation. He knew he was done for when he stood before Pilate. Nevertheless, I’m still not convinced he was sure about that resurrection business.

He just had to take it on faith, like we all do, in the end.

Think about it:  he died a physical death, like all criminals before him, perfected by the cruel Romans, nailed up on a cross-beam. If Jesus was fully divine at the crucifixion already, did he turn off that divine part of him so he could actually die physically? Or did he become only divine when he got resurrected ? If he was ‘only’ human while meandering through Palestine,  as some suggest,  than he didn’t know that the resurrection would work; he had to take on pure faith, like the disbelieving rest of us. And then, does the atonement still need to be discussed? Maybe, just maybe, the entire Easter week has more to do with obedience to something higher than myself, especially when I don’t know how it turns out. If Jesus was nailed up on that cross, not knowing whether he’d see the light of day again, than Easter has more to with follow-through and faith than with atoning us, substitutionary, compensatory, penitent or otherwise.

I’ll keep thinking about all this again this Easter week. I like to think that Jesus had as hard a time to be obedient to God than I have sometimes. That kind’a puts him on a more human, manageable level for me. If he knew he’ll be nailed up for doing the right thing and working for the underdog, I can empathize with him more and really take him as an example. I’d like to think that Jesus was as human as I am, warts and all. What God does after Jesus dies, that’s God’s deal, just like I am God’s deal after I die. And, I take it by faith, that I too, will be resurrected.

Building up the Body of Christ: Links to Form Faith.

  1. Holy Hybridity, By Isaac Villegas (First published in the March issue of “The Mennonite” magazine. This is an excellent piece exploring faith, holy Thursday, footwashing, and race. A very timely piece for HMC as we visit Pleasant Hills Baptist Church on Thursday for a meal & worship.
  2. Chocolate Covered Jesus, by Marty Troyer This is a favorite from last year, a reflection on Jesus’ humanity. The Mennonite thought it was worth sharing again this year.
  3. The Church in Post-Christendom, by Robert Martin. Mennonite Pastor Robert Martin uses Stuart Murray to challenge us to think about changes we need to be making as churches. He says, “the way we Christians do church within our enclaves and church buildings/campuses, the way that we aim at influencing the world around us, and everything that we do as the church needs to change drastically.” Wow! Sounds like a big task. In fact, it sounds impossible. Thankfully, this weekend we celebrate a God of the impossible, who unleashed on our world a Power so strong it can transform even me!

Order of Worship for Easter Sunday!!
Call to Worship
*Opening Prayer                                                                     
*Songs of Praise

            Christ the Lord is Risen Today  HWB #280
Lift your glad voices  HWB #275
I owe my Lord a morning song  SJ #112

Offering & Prayer                                                                                                                               

Scripture Reading                    Mark 16:1-8
Children’s Message                             
Message                                   Roll the stone away!       

“In Christ Alone”        Becoming free of the stones that block us      
Song of Response        I know that my redeemer lives  HWB #277
Romans 6:1-11  HWB #847 
Sharing Time & Prayer                                                                                               

Connecting More Fully                                                                                   
Sending Text                           Romans 6: 4-6,11                                 
*Sending Song Alleluia   #1

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!. Worship Leader: Roxie Voran; Speaker: Pastor Marty Troyer; Song Leader: Jared Peifer; Pianist: Linda Washburn; Children’s Message: Jane McNair; Children’s Church: Jane McNair.


What’s next in Worship at HMC?

Jesus is risen… Now what?
Does the resurrection matter for daily life? What does it mean that Jesus – executed now risen – is present with us today? Join us next Sunday as we enter the book of Acts for inspiration on walking in the resurrection! Paul says in Romans, “the same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you! Consider yourselves dead to sin, able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus!” More than a historical fact, the resurrection of Christ empowers each of us to live the abundant life God intends. In preparation, we invite you to read the book of Acts this week. May peace and joy arise in you!


Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
Unexpected News: Read the Bible through Third World Eyes, by Robert McAffee Brown as our guide.
►Junior High/High School Youth:  with Lynda and Roxie Voran, in the Annex.
** Children’s Church:  During worship in our children’s ministry room for kids aged 1-5. They learn a Bible story, sing, and play together.

Pastoral Care                                                    
Do you want a person to talk with about something in your life? Got a question or insight into faith or scripture you want to kick around? Have you been sitting on a great idea for the church? Need prayer? Want to get to know your pastor better? As your pastor, I’m available to meet with you at the office or at a time and spot that works better for you. Just let me know when and where! Monday’s through Thursdays, and weekends by appointment. Marty Troyer, church office (713)464-4865,, also available on Facebook.

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