Dear St. George Family:
I want to invite you and your loved ones to be a part of our Easter Sunday festivities.
Worship on this high feast day of the Church will be at 8:30 am and 10:45 am. In between services we will have an Easter Brunch, Easter Egg hunts (by age) for all the children; and the Flowering of the Cross (symbol of the new life that bursts forth in the world at Jesus’ resurrection).
I will offer an Easter Message at both services and adhere to my yearly practice of inviting the children forward to participate in the sermon at 10:45 am.
I also invite you to attend our Holy Week services:
- Maundy Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 pm
- Good Friday, April 14 at noon and 6:30 pm
- Holy Saturday, April 15 at 9:30 am (refreshments will be offered to all who come and stay to help the Altar Guild decorate the Church for Easter Sunday)
Kendra, Christopher and John Michael look forward to being with you and your loved ones this Easter. Come and worship the One whose Resurrected Life has the Power to change your life and the life of the World!!!
Theme: New Life- Brought from Death to Life
Scripture: John 11:1-45
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
Reflection: “Renewed by Grace”
On the death of someone we love, our agony is so intense that we feel we are dying as well. We yearn to die, to rejoin the loved one so as not to be forced to continue a life without meaning or purpose. When my son Danny died two years after my husband Roger, I believed my life had ended. I remember sitting, empty, numb, by the Medina River convinced I couldn’t go on, recalling Emily Dickinson’s description of grief as “the hour of lead.”
I read without comprehension Jesus’s words of comfort to Martha after Lazarus’s death: “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” They were words without meaning.
Eventually I found solace in Deuteronomy, reading that God would not listen to Balaam but “turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you” (Dt.23:5). I realized then that my friends at church and school had provided a concrete means for my husband and son to continue to live. Since 2001 and 2003, we’ve awarded two scholarships annually to outstanding San Antonio College students majoring in the liberal arts or planning to teach. (San Antonio College is where I teach, where Roger taught and where Danny was a writing tutor in the summers.)
Thus, the curse of Roger’s and Danny’s deaths has become a blessing to more than thirty students so far and will continue to bless additional students each year. For me, it’s been a way to rediscover meaning in life through God’s grace, so that once again I am able to follow Moses’ exhortation to “Choose life” (Dt. 30:19).
Easter Lily Envelopes are out now! Donations and descriptions for Easter Lilies are due to the Church Office by April 2nd in order to be listed in the Easter bulletin. You may also donate online via PayPal, and email your ‘In thanksgiving for’ or ‘In memory of’ names to email@example.com
Theme: Healing- Regaining Sight
Scripture: John 9:1-41
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.
Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”
Reflection- Marti Nodine:
In John 9:1-41 Christ heals a blind man with a bit of spit and an incantation about revealing God’s works through a sufferer. The parable’s theme—“Healing: Regaining Sight”—perhaps speaks to spiritual blindness as well as to physical blindness. Can we see past the obvious “flaws” in other human beings to the godliness and beauty they often project, despite great obstacles?
I struggle with a skeptical, if not outright cynical, outlook about our destructive human behavior. One source of comfort is the love and acceptance I feel from the Body of Christ at St. George. I am grateful for the general lack of negative gossip, backbiting, snarky comments and not-so-hidden agendas we might hold as individuals. Many in our congregation have dealt with great personal hardships and tragedies and have emerged with a purity of spirit, observable as a radiance from within, which touches and energizes us all.
Probably anyone at St. George is holier than I am, but volunteering at Christian Assistance Ministry is another uplifting influence in my life (aside from my being married to a truly spiritual man who is also my best friend and confessor.) To experience the warmth and graciousness of people who face one daunting day after another with little hope of lasting relief has truly opened my eyes to the saving power of forgiveness and acceptance. To share a smile, grasp a hand, exchange a hug or a prayer with a person who has stood in line for an hour to get a sandwich and a piece of fruit is a privilege. That person blesses me more than I can ever bless him or her.
I am grateful that St. George offers many chances to celebrate Christ through service.
Reflection: Therese Trahan-Edussuriya:
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” Where do we find the Light? It will never be extinguished. In some situations, the Light seems hard to find. See beyond the apparent darkness, with your true sight – the eyes of your heart.
How do we reflect the Light of Christ? Our reflection can bring new sight to those who have been blind, shrouded in darkness. The beauty is that as we reflect the Light, we become transformed by it, until we are the Light. Become the Light, and pierce through the shrouds.
The definition of faith is believing in things unseen, but evidence for our faith is all around. The man in our story was healed and this led him to believe in Christ. However, what of those who are shown, yet refuse to accept? They ignore what is in their sight, just as the Pharisees refused to believe. Perhaps the refusal to accept is rooted in fear of persecution or judgement. The man who had been given sight was cast out – judged – for something which others knew nothing of. His parents feared speaking that which those in power did not want to hear. Who or what holds power over our sight? Can we challenge preconceived notions accepted by society and dare to see differently? When we trust in the only One who has the right to judge, we truly see for the first time.
Sight is more than our physical eyes. What is it that we have been blind to? Is now the time to be restored to wholeness? Are we ready to see that which we could not see? Pray that He open our eyes in His perfect timing. And when that moment comes, allow your new sight to be used for his glory.