These days? If you are anything like me, you have to pause and think about what day of the week it is! The days all run together! “Is this Monday?” we might ask ourselves, remembering, “oh yes, yesterday was Sunday, and I went to church!”
Of course, none of us likely went anywhere yesterday, but hopefully you were able to worship at home for the beginning of this Holy Week, with Trinity’s Palm Sunday liturgy broadcast.
This is the strangest Holy Week we’ve ever had. Think about it- usually, this is a very busy week! Every other year, on the home front, traditional Easter menus and baskets are planned and a lot of things would need to be purchased….eggs may need to be dyed, cakes baked, etc.- and don’t many of us remember Easters past, when a special hat had to be found, or a new outfit was bought. For choir singers and musicians among us, it would mean rehearsing one last time. And for teachers and students, it would mean a short week, before the Easter Holiday. But not this year!
At the church, Holy Week and Easter is normally the most special week of the church year, when everything is planned and executed with the utmost of care and concern. Fellow members have a list of things to do, helping with food, altar care, cleaning, decorating etc. Special music is rehearsed, the chancel is prepared and decorated, and un-decorated, then decorated again; food is purchased for the congregational Easter breakfast (and of course, for the Pastor, there are sermons and liturgies to get ready). Normally, once Maundy Thursday and Good Friday have past, Holy Saturday is a day of frenetic energy, getting ready for the next Day of Days! But not this year!
Not this Holy Week. We are sequestered. All is quiet. At church, the liturgies are held to a church empty of all but a video camera. It won’t be the kind of Holy Week you and I have ever had before. I will miss each of the liturgies, most especially Easter morning’s festival, singing praises, and hallelujahs with great joy together with the people of God! I will also miss having a nice Easter dinner with my daughter and other family members!
The stark reality for all of us is, we won’t experience this week together, going through the emotions of the 3 days! With all the fear and worry and isolation, and bad news out there, it is hard to even think about it actually being Easter.
But, wait…Easter comes this year, even though everything else stops!!
Perhaps this year, and especially as we begin this week on this Holy Monday, we can gain some perspective just by thinking about what this week must have meant for our Lord and the disciples. Traditionally we think of the Palm Sunday event centering on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. There were all the accolades of the crowds gathered with branches of palms waving as Jesus passed by riding on the back of a donkey. The Gospels each tell a different version of the time preceding the days just before the Passover! The Gospels tell us that Jesus was continually teaching the disciples and the crowds that gathered, despite the growing concerns of the temple leaders, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. We can assume that, for Jesus, this was a time of prayer and resolve.
He knew what was coming.
Usually on Holy Monday, school is in, work places are busy and life goes on as it did every other day. We go about our normal activities of a normal week, and when Thursday comes, we begin the Triduum leading up to the Great Festival of Easter. In other words, Monday – Wednesday, are nothing special. But not this year!
I suspect, for Jesus and the disciples and the crowds gathering in Jerusalem, that Holy Monday was nothing more than a day filled with worry and fear and resolve…at least for Jesus. He knew what he had to do. He was well aware of his destiny. He would pray that God’s will, not his, be done. Surely that Monday and the rest of the days before his betrayal and trial, were filled with all the human emotions he carried….. fear, anger, worry, isolation, grief and deep sorrow!
I would suggest that Jesus had all the feelings we are experiencing today, on his Holy Week Monday! We have been told that this week, the virus is going to increasingly spread here in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in other areas in the USA, and in many places around the world. Locally we know it is all around us. Dr. Anthon Fauci, of the NIH, along with the president, has said this week will be the apex of the virus’s destruction, and it will be “shocking.”
So, dear friends, if you are feeling frightened, worried, sad and very anxious, take heart during these next days in the realization that, for Jesus and his followers, this was a week of similar if not the same feelings. Jesus and the disciples were to face every feeling we could possibly feel.
This week will be bleak, filled with virus fear – for ourselves, our loved ones, our fellow Americans and what we are promised is a week with a lot of death!
The good news is that Jesus shares in our fears and sorrows. He is our good shepherd who leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. He is our light, our joy, our hope and the one whose love will never let us go. Jesus is risen from the dead, and with that is the promise – that Christ has conquered sin and death forever!
So, be of good faith, dear Christian. Live these days of Holy Week, and beyond, with confident hope and trust in the promises of the resurrection. Yes, this year, Christ is Alive, and his Resurrection is secure.
– Pastor Torben Aarsand
At Trinity, we have several ways to share our joys and sorrows with God in prayer. During Praise Worship, Peg Hardinge includes requests given to her that morning in the congregation’s prayer. There are Prayer Request forms in both worship locations and in the church office for your requests, that will then be printed in the Mini-Messenger that is distributed at both services. You may fill out a yellow Amazing Prayer request card, available at both locations, and put it in the offering plate. The Trinity staff and the Tuesday Bible study members will pray for you.
- Every week I suggest prayer petitions that you can find in the MiniMessenger and on the TLC website (tlchag.org).
- We have the ELCA Prayer Ventures resource that is available for you every month on the TLC website; printouts are at both worship locations. The petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social, and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, com- munities and world.
- On Tuesday mornings after Bible study, we pray for one or more congregations that are picked randomly from the list of ELCA congregations and we send post- cards to let them know. In previous months we prayed for all 65 ELCA synods. What a privilege and joy to support the life and mission of the larger church through prayer!
In 1 Peter 5:6-7 we read: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” The Apostle Peter assures us that God will hear our humble, honest, and trusting prayer, made in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!
Please Pray this Week
- … Lord of life, our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, we are thankful that you promised to be with us always and that you hear our prayers. Lord, you know about the trying times we humans all over this earth are experiencing because of the corona virus. Please heal us from this scourge. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- … and from Prayer Ventures for March 27, 2020: Praise God for spring and its abundant signs of new life, which prompt us to remember the good things God has given us to tend, share and use. Amen.
PRAYER VENTURES: April 2020
These petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. Thank you for your continued prayers for the life and mission of this church.
1 Give thanks for laughter, smiles, joy and humor today! Praise God for humor that lifts our spirits and provides us an unexpected doorway to reflect on social issues that are difficult to ponder or discuss.
2 Pray for God’s blessings upon the ELCA’s Arab and Middle Eastern Ministries, which serve our neighbors and strengthen the church through evangelical outreach, advocacy, social ministry, ecumenical and interfaith relations, leadership development and affirming the dignity and worth of Arab and Middle Eastern people and their cultures.
3 The season of Lent can seem dark, muted and immersed in thoughts of our human weaknesses and failings. But along the way, remember to give thanks for the good news and hope found in our journey to the cross and in the life-giving miracle of Jesus’ resurrection.
4 Give thanks for bishops, staff, volunteers and leaders who serve in our synods across the country. Pray that the Spirit will strengthen and encourage them for service in the diverse contexts to which God has called them.
5 Palm Sunday Some people describe our times as post-Christian, an era in which Christ has little meaning, influence or relevance. Pray for the Spirit to be present and diligent in our lives and in the world, rekindling faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God, our Savior, the light and hope for humankind that holds true throughout time and changing cultures.
6 “How precious is your steadfast love, O God!” Give thanks and praise for God’s love and mercy washing over us and providing us refuge.
7 Pray that we will be guided by the spirit, manner and example of Jesus to be humble and gracious in our faith, service and lives.
8 Total Inclusion! Widening the Welcome at ELCA Outdoor Ministries is a collaboration between the ELCA churchwide organization and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, the association of camps and retreat centers affiliated with the ELCA. Pray that this new program will equip and empower outdoor ministry organizations and leaders as they move toward more intentional welcome of people who historically have been marginalized in the church and society ― especially people of color, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
9 Remember in prayer all who despair, suffer or long for liberation, love and redemption.
10 Good Friday As we tell and retell the story of Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection, pray that we will see the cross as a vivid symbol and reminder of God’s amazing love for us, a life-giving gift given to us in Jesus Christ that is meant to be shared through words, actions and imagery that inspire faith today.
11 The living word of God in Jesus Christ breaks through every barrier and border, shines light wherever there is darkness and bridges every rift and difference in humankind ― real or imagined. Give praise and thanks to God!
12 Easter Sunday This is the day we eagerly anticipated, a day of celebration and joyous mystery ― the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Shout praise and glory to God for saving us and setting us free to live as children of God and share the good news with the world.
13 Give thanks for our church’s long-standing commitment to global mission and faithful service alongside global companions, churches and organizations as they share the good news of Jesus Christ, care for neighbors in need, work for justice and grow the church.
14 Look up and all around today; notice what is good, life-giving and hope-inspiring. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
15 Give thanks for the volunteers of all ages who are vital to our mission and work in the world and who share their diverse gifts, interests and abilities in congregations, volunteer corps, camps and retreat centers, ELCA Global Mission, ELCA Mission Builders, Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran social ministry organizations and however else they feel called to serve.
16 Having received a new life and identity in Christ, we ask God to help us recognize and focus on what God considers to be important, good and true.
17 Remember in prayer ELCA missionaries serving alongside the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Slovak Republic in ministries of education, leadership development and parish life.
18 Give thanks for our church’s history of hospitality and concern for refugees and immigrants. Pray for the 60 million displaced people in the world and ask God to equip and embolden us to advocate on their behalf and welcome them, in partnership with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Lutheran World Federation and companion churches in other countries.
19 Earth Day Sunday Praise God for this wondrous creation! Give thanks for how our church embraces our responsibility to care for God’s creation through stewardship, education, advocacy and urging one another to take personal and institutional responsibility. Pray that the partnerships and collaborations of the ELCA will produce far-reaching results through ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program, Creation Justice Ministries, Lutherans Restoring Creation and other networks focused on engaging the church and society in the care and stewardship of creation.
20 Ask for God’s grace and forgiveness when questions and doubts undermine our joy in the good news of Jesus Christ. Give thanks that God meets our uncertainty with the same patience and love shown to the disciple Thomas when he needed reassurance that Jesus was the Son of God, the true Messiah and Savior of the world.
21 Pray for worship leaders gathering in Valparaiso, Ind., for the Institute of Liturgical Studies seminar “Living Breath of God: How Word Through Music Forms Us.” Ask that the Holy Spirit strengthen and stir their faith, wisdom and creativity as they reflect on questions around the theology and practice of music in our worshiping communities.
22 Earth Day Rejoice in God’s astonishing handiwork of creation; praise God’s life-giving power and might revealed in the smallest microbe and the infinite mysteries of the universe. Pray that we will demonstrate wisdom, appreciation and respect for nature and all that God has entrusted to our care and use.
23 Remember in prayer the leaders, voting members and others gathered for the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod Assembly, that the Spirit will strengthen, guide and encourage them in proclaiming the gospel, growing the church, serving our neighbor and doing God’s work in an ever-changing world.
24 Remember in prayer the leaders, voting members and others gathered for the assemblies of the Alaska and Minneapolis Area synods, that the Spirit will strengthen, guide and encourage them in proclaiming the gospel, growing the church, serving our neighbor and doing God’s work in an ever-changing world.
25 Give thanks that God is our ever-present refuge, counsel, comfort and joy.
26 Pray that we will recognize the presence of Jesus in our daily lives ― at home, at work, at church, in relationships, during leisure time and in our travels and encounters with strangers.
27 Give thanks for the witness and work of Alberto (Gustavo) Driau, regional representative for Argentina and Uruguay; Rachel Ringlaben, YAGM country coordinator; and the seven volunteers serving alongside our companions in Argentina and Uruguay as part of the Young Adults in Global Mission program.
28 Ask God to stir our generosity for supporting the ministries and witness of our congregations, synods and churchwide organization.
29 Pray that we will find words to share our faith in Jesus Christ and our understanding of Scripture with one another and the world, while also trusting that the Holy Spirit works to deepen our faith and enrich our knowledge of God’s word and ways.
30 Ask God to help us see and attend to people who are unseen, forgotten, underserved or ignored in our congregations, communities and society ― elders who are homebound; people who are quiet, incarcerated, homeless or mentally ill; and people living in shelters, care facilities and group homes.
Attached is a flyer for the Zoom sessions that I will be hosting on Stress Less with Mindfulness and Spirituality starting next week for 5 weeks. It is 5 weeks but it’s not necessary that anyone needs to attend every week. It is truly just a way to help people to manage their stress and understand it better during this COVID-19 and our need for social distancing.
As I work on the class this week, I will determine the best way to provide handouts to participants and will share with you. I am looking forward to this exciting adventure at this critical time for our world. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
Lisa McCoy, MS, RDN
Senior Agent – Western Region
Family and Consumer Sciences – Healthy Living
Washington County Office
7303 Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro MD 21713
University of Maryland Extension
In the US, we are just beginning to feel the spreading effects of the coronavirus. New York now has 25,000 cases, and it doubles every 4 days or so. Seattle and Chicago are similarly impacted. Maryland will not be far behind. At this stage, we can learn from other places. Some of the best learnings are:
- Wash hands every 30 minutes – don’t touch anyone
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others – avoid crowded places
Much of this is called “social distancing”. Deploying it well reduces the spread of infection, and enables the healthcare system to avoid being compromised. So Trinity is increasing the amount of Social Distancing. Here’s how you can help:
- Communicate with the Office and Pastors as much by phone and email as possible
- If you MUST come in to the church, make an appointment with David, Greg or Rich
- Use the 15 Randolph St door only. Once inside, climb the stairs, and stop at the table. Your contact will meet you there. Unless otherwise arranged by appointment Visitors to the actual church offices are now limited to the following people: David, Greg, Andy, Ricky, Rich, Colleen and Jeff
Trinity offers scholarship to member students attending institutions of higher learning. Applications are available in the church office. This year, $500 is available to each student applying. Any active Trinity member accepted into or attending an accredited college, university or trade school can apply. Be sure your application contains everything required and is as complete as possible. Applications returned to church by May 3, 2020 will be reviewed by the Christian Education / Family Ministry Team.
Each year when Thanksgiving boxes are distributed, Carol Brashears and her team of volunteers give our community recipients an opportunity to fill out a prayer request as they leave. TLC members then pray for these people. Here are two examples of what we have received:
This is the first time I have had to ask for help and it’s very hard. This is not really a prayer but a thank you because I did not believe I was about to lose my home that I worked very hard and something happened. So thank you. God bless you.
Love, Taylor & Eric.
I pray to love God and I hope He loves me and everybody else. I hope, I hope. That’s what I want to say.
LETTER FROM GRATEFUL SCHOOL STAFF
Dear Carol, Jeff, and volunteers of Trinity Lutheran Church,
At the end of another school year, we are taking time to reflect back and thank members of a community who have supported our students’ needs. When communities and schools work together, students are more successful!
Eastern Elementary staff members are beyond appre- ciative of all the services that Trinity provided this past year to make our school a better place! We thank you for weekly nutritious Micah’s food bags and the turkeys and Thanksgiving food boxes for our students and families in need. Thanks too for the testing mints and all the prize incentives for students who receive them for showing re- spect, readiness, and responsibility.
The generous support from individuals like you made it possible for our school to better meet the needs of our students and families. Again, thank you! You truly made a difference! Looking forward to continuing our partner- ship with Trinity Lutheran Church!
Vanessa Mannick, School Family Liaison
Picking up a bag of lentils offered at our Food Pantry, the woman asked us, “How do I eat this?”
Often preparation of fresh foods given us by our local grocery is also questioned. So Tim Higgins (a dietitian, nutritionist, and chef at Meritus Medical Center) and Jeff Reed presented a three-day program at our Food Pantry, “Cooking for the Seasons,” this past November. Tim, along with Catherine Feaga, DO, a family practice physician, and Kezia Ellison, MD, a Meritus family medicine resi- dent, set up tables of food prepared for our outreach guests, using provisions provided to us by the Maryland Food
Bank. To taste and learn how to make healthy recipes with ingredients from the Food Pantry, guests were shown the products before use (in this case lentils, pork loin, rice, green peppers, peas), the recipes to follow, and then an opportunity to sample the dishes, which included lentil soup, lentil tacos, lentils and rice, pork stew, pork roast, and roasted peppers.
The result was wonderful warm samplings, appreciative guests, and a desire to continue this collaboration in 2020. Thanks to Tim, Jeff, and the team at Meritus for making the sharing of food with families more practical, healthy, and meaningful.
ON THE MOVE
As the number of hungry grows and as TLC volun- teers continue to age, the Outreach Team, in collabora- tion with the Property Team, determined new room as- signments to allow easier access to the tons of food moved into and around the church for distribution. Food that had been stored two hallways away from the Food Pantry is now more available to staff, located in Jeff’s old office next to the Food Pantry. Jeff is down the hall next to the Lit- eracy Council Room. Thanks to all who helped make the moving possible during the holiday break!
Also, many thanks to Ed and Jane Drawbaugh for put- ting new flooring over the asbestos tiles of the Food Pan- try. It is a cleaner, safer, and padded(!) surface for volun- teers to use.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The Food Pantry needs cereal, chicken noodle soup, boxed desserts, and crackers. The Clothing Bank needs towels, blankets, sheets, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, and shampoo.
“And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will haveforyearstocome.Andallofit…allofitiscom- pletely worth it.”—Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran minister
– June Habeck Holler
We are so grateful for a very generous donation to Micah’s Backpack. Because of this donation, we have the funds to get some items for the children that we have not been able to get recently because of the cost. We are looking for someone who would like to go to the grocery store once every 6 to 8 weeks to purchase items for the bags. Examples would be more costly snacks-pudding cups, cookies, Jell-O cups. If you would be interested in doing this, please see Jeff Reed or Carol Brashears. This is a great opportunity to help the children especially if you cannot commit to a regular schedule. You can shop on your schedule!
Here are some ways you may become involved in this ministry:
- Join a team that meets once a month to pack the bags. This takes approximately ½ hour of time and is usually done on a Sunday or Monday.
- Deliver the bags to the schools. This is a once a month commitment. This is done on a Wednesday or Thursday and can be anytime from early morning (7 am) to early evening (6pm) at Bester Elementary and 9 am to 4 pm at Eastern.
- Contribute financially to Micah’s so food may be purchased.
We could use any help. It is possible for you to even pair with another person to help out on an every other month basis.
Interested in helping Pack or Deliver?
Please contact Carol Brashears
301-992-5016 or Brash115@aol.com.
Joyful Noise Choir practices will resume at the beginning of March. Jane Drawbaugh (and others!) will once again be working with young people at Elgin Station.
Watch next month for updates and a possible perfor- mance date for a spring program. Boys and Girls Club is so grateful for this partnership with Trinity. Please keep us in your prayers.
for more information!
The Food Pantry needs any nonperishable items are welcome – crackers, oatmeal, and cake and cookie box mixes.
The Clothing Bank greatly needs blankets, sheets, towels, mens shoes, men’s boxer shorts, washcloths, and toiletries—especially shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brushes, and deodorant.
Please consider donating.
Join us at 9 a.m. at the Dutch Market at the Long Meadow Shopping Center. Not an exclusive group, just a gaggle of Lutherans enjoying breakfast and fellowship time. Started several years ago with a few men having coffee and now can number up to 20! Come as you are able to join. No assigned seats, no membership fee, just fun.