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Holy Cross Lutheran Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Lord & Storer Streets
Kennebunk, Maine 04043
(207) 985-4803
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AIM RELECTIONS

I have been thinking that April Fool's Day should really be in mid-March. That is the time when the calendar officially turns to spring and the days are longer and generally warmer, lulling us into thinking that winter is over. And then along comes a big snowstorm - or two - or three - and we realize that we were fooled once again!

At the time when Jesus began his ministry on earth, people were also fooled - or using a word I like better - surprised. They were expecting a military/political ruler to come as the Messiah. Instead, Jesus appeared, humbly riding on a donkey rather than in a chariot, preaching a message of service rather than worldly power and glory. But even more surprising is that he invites us to lives of service and that sacrifice and giving and caring for others can be blessings rather than burdens. We will be exploring these blessings during our Thursday Lenten worship, through a series on the Beatitudes. I hope that you will join us.

Another surprise is that Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, ended up being crucified on a cross, the worst punishment that anyone could receive in that day. How could this possibly be the fulfillment of God's promises of salvation and redemption? But then comes the biggest surprise of all when three days later Mary proclaims to the disciples "I have seen the Lord!"

I have had many surprises in my life, some good, some not so good. I imagine that you could say the same about yourself. But one thing that remains constant is God's promise to never forsake us, even when we might feel forsaken. As one of our Ash Wednesday texts reminds us and as we often say or sing during Lent "Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love" (Joel 2:13). I am absolutely sure that there will be more surprises - and that whether they bring us joy or sorrow, turmoil or peace, God will be there, rejoicing or grieving with us, giving us strength and comfort and the hope of the resurrection - and of Spring! Karen

MESSAGE FROM A COUNCIL MEMBER

"The weather is fine; wish you were here!"

At one time or other everyone has received a postcard with this pithy saying. It usually comes from a friend or family member who is vacationing in some warm place while you are freezing here in Maine. It usually is sent in jest, playfully rubbing salt in the wound caused by the fact that you did not get to go along. Of course, it could be from some jerk who really is showing off that he or she can afford such a vacation and is happy that you cannot. Or it just may be a sincere expression of wishing you really had been able to come along, but for whatever reason you could not.

At our Church Council retreat last month we tried to focus on how we at Holy Cross can carry out the Great Commission, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." How do we accomplish this? What steps can we take as leaders of the congregation to both do this ourselves and help you to do it?

The first idea we kicked around was to start with our own membership. We have members who used to attend Sunday services regularly, but are now seen infrequently. Why? What has changed? Is it them or us? We also have members who have always been sporadic in their attendance. Why has regular attendance not been a priority? How do we answer these questions?

Before we can get to the "why" we have to figure out the "who." One simple way is for all of us to be more aware of whom we do or do not see in the pews every week. Who always used to sit in the fifth row on the left but has been absent recently? Who used to usher regularly but hasn't been seen for a while? Make an attempt to look around to see who is not here on Sunday morning.

Now send them a figurative "Weather is fine; wish you were here" postcard. I do not mean the playful one or the boasting one, but the sincere one. Make a phone call. Ask how they are. Express concern that you have not seen them in a while. The response you get may be that they now sit in the fifth row on the left at the late service. It may be that someone has an illness and can no longer get out and maybe you can help. It may be that someone is experiencing a serious crisis that needs to be handled by Pastor and the Deacons and you can pass the information on. And it could just be that a member of our church family needs to hear that the weather is fine at Holy Cross and you wish they were here to enjoy it with you. Ann Scott, Council President

REPENT, AND AGAIN I SAY, REPENT

By Bishop Margaret G. Payne

Several years ago, on a camping trip in Nova Scotia, I saw a bumper sticker that announced: I saw the Tidal Bore. By the time I saw it on the seventh bumper, I decided that I had to see the tidal bore, too - whatever it was.

I stopped at a tourist information center and learned that a "bore" is a high tidal wave and that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. When the tide turns near the town of Shubenacadie, you can actually recognize that one split second when the power shifts. So I headed the camper to the west to see for myself.

Arriving at a small ranch-style house, I paid money to a man at a table in the front yard and then headed down a long flight of rickety stairs built along the side of a hill behind the house. There were about a dozen of us, and we ended up standing on a wooden platform erected 50 feet above the water of the river that leads to the Bay of Fundy. We chatted and swatted mosquitoes while we looked out over a calm, wide stream whose water flowed serenely to the left.

I remember that I was leaning casually against the rail, arms crossed and peering up the hill when our guide announced that the moment for the turning of the tide had now come  it was that exact. When she spoke, I turned my head and glanced at the river.

Suddenly, I felt the need to stand upright on both feet placed wide apart and hold out my arms for balance because it seemed that surely the earth had tilted. The water below pulsed from the left to the right creating enormous turbulence. There were 15 minutes of wild water until the tide from the bay had its way with the river water, and then the flow was established serenely to the right. Most of the people on the platform exclaimed that it was amazing and dramatic. Being Lutheran, I thought about Lent.

For years, I had known that to repent means "to turn," but I had never understood that the earth should tilt. When we turn and re-turn to God with a repentant heart, our spiritual life should foam into turmoil. God is in the turmoil but does not calm it right away. First, we need to deal with the wild water and to establish a new direction. Grace gives us the courage to turn in the first place and grace encourages us to keep at it, to keep repenting, to keep challenging the meandering course of our natural sinfulness. The process goes on and on in a rhythm that will never end in our lifetime.

I walked back up the steps from the platform as though there were ashes on my forehead. I saw the Tidal Bore and it told the Lenten story. Life beyond repentance might sometimes be calm, but first the earth has to tilt. From the March/April issue of "The Lutheran Link"

CHOIR NOTES

As I am sure you are all aware the penitential season of Lent begins on March the first with Ash Wednesday. This year we will be using the palms from last year to make the ashes for the service. On this day, the people of God receive an ashen cross on the forehead (a gesture rooted in baptism), hear the solemn proclamation to keep a fast in preparation for Easter's Feast, and contemplate anew the ongoing meaning of baptismal initiation into the Lord's death and resurrection. (Adapted from Sundays and Seasons)

This year the choir is going to sing a major choral work. Olivet to Calvary by J.H. Maunder is a work that depicts the last few days of the Savior's life. The rejoicing of the multitude with hosanna and palms, the view of Jerusalem from the steep of Olivet and the lament over the city, the dispersal of the money changers in the Temple, and the sad nocturnal walk on the Mount of Olivet are all portrayed. The Las Supper, at which Jesus washed his Disciples' feet, and commanded them to love one another. Then follows the agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the sudden appearance of the hostile crowd, the abandonment of Jesus by His disciples, His utter loneliness among ruthless enemies, the turmoil before Pilate, when Barabbas is released, the tragedy of the Cross, and the triumph of Calvary. (Adapted from the liner notes)

This piece will be performed over three days: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. I invite anyone who would like to be a part of this wonderful music to attend choir rehearsals on Thursday immediately following the Mid-week Lenten Services. Peace be with you during this Lenten Season. Warren

FROM THE FLOWER GUILD

"See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin&If that is how God clothes the grass of the field&will he not much more clothe you?" Matthew 6: 28-30

The flowers that adorn our altar have an important purpose and significance in our sanctuary and our worship. Their placement on the altar not only contributes to the beauty and harmony of our worship space; they also help draw our eyes to the cross. When we place flowers as thank offerings and remembrances, they help us honor God. Flowers are both symbols of our joy in Christ, and our human frailty. "All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40: 6-8

As we enter the season of Lent, however, the joyful presence of flowers is not longer appropriate. Lent is instead a time of austerity, purification, penitence and spiritual cleansing. It is a time of darkness; waiting and hoping for the light to come. Also appropriate, therefore, is the veiling of pictures, statuary and crosses. This year during Lent, our cross will be draped with a cloth of deep purple, the color of sorrow, penitence and humility. The stripping of the altar following Maundy Thursday worship symbolizes Christ's humiliation by the soldiers; and the bare altar on Good Friday, or "God's Friday," continues our time of mourning.

On Easter Sunday, flowers return in abundance, directing all eyes to the empty cross, the symbol of our Risen Savior, and the triumph of life over death.

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13: 15, 16

...AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW.....

I still hold doors open for ladies. When the Pastor says "The Lord be with you" in the liturgy, I close my eyes and incline my head forward slightly. When the invocation or benediction is spoken, I trace the sign of the cross starting on my forehead. If you ever sat behind me in Church you might notice that every time the name "Jesus" is spoken in the liturgy, I also incline my head forward slightly.

All of these things mentioned above have been a part of my life long training. They help me to add meaning to every day events that I might otherwise do so automatically that they may not be as fruitful as they ought.

My mother taught me manners when I was growing up and respect for all people, especially men showing respect for women in a tangible, commonplace action such as holding the door open, was an important part of those manners.

Luther instructed his followers to pray "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" and to make the sign of the cross to remind them of their new life in baptism. Paul writes in Romans 6:4: "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life". Every time I cross myself, I am cognizant of that verse of Scripture.

Following Paul's other admonition from Philippians 2:10 "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" is a bit harder to follow. Even if we had kneelers, we would be up and down like jackrabbits trying to be literal about this. Yet, since Jesus is the center of our scripture and our liturgy, I find it meaningful incorporate Paul's directive into the liturgy to enhance its meaning for me.

One of those ways that has come down through history is the slight forward inclination of the head, a small bow, if you would, each time the name of Jesus is used in the liturgy. Its like putting the name of Jesus in bold face type as we have done in this article. It works for me. So does holding doors open for ladies. Roger Rotvig, The Worship Committee

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. ~Author Unknown

SHROVE TUESDAY

The day before the beginning of Lent is known as Shrove Tuesday. When I was asked to write a short article for the Crier about Shrove Tuesday and the pancake-sausage supper, I realized that I knew nothing about it. But with the help of two articles that I found on the Internet, I have learned all these interesting facts to share with you and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the ritual of shriving that Christians used to undergo in the past. In shriving, a person confesses their sins and receives absolution for them. Many Christians make a special point of self-examination; of considering what wrongs they need to repent and areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with.

The eating of pancakes themselves are part of an ancient custom with deeply religious routs. Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence because it is the last day before the start of Lent.

Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last time to indulge yourself, and use of the foods that were not allowed in Lent. In the "old days", there were many foods that observant Christians would not eat during Lent: foods such as meat, fish, fats, eggs and milky foods. So that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday and eat up all the food that would spoil in the next 40 days. Since pancakes are a way of using up fats, the day is also called "Fat Tuesday" or "Pancake Tuesday". Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday as they were a dish that could use up all eggs, fats, and milk with just the addition of flour.

In England, and perhaps elsewhere, the day is celebrated with pancake races. The contestants run a course while holding a griddle and flipping a pancake. Points are awarded for time, for number and heights of flips, and number of times the pancake turns over. There are, of course, penalties for dropping the pancake.

I hope that many of you will join us for the pancake and sausage supper in Luther Hall on February 28th from 6-7 pm. Violet Stephens

LENTEN SERVICES

ASH WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, March 1st, marks the beginning of Lent, the season of the church year when special attention is given to the themes of self-examination, confession, repentance and discipleship. The service at 7:00 p.m. on March 1st will include the opportunity to receive the imposition of ashes on the forehead - symbolic of our need for God¹s grace and mercy in the face of human mortality. The service will also include the celebration of Holy Communion as a sign of our ever present hope, even in the midst of our failings.

MIDWEEK LENTEN SERVICES

Beginning on Thursday, March 9th, and for the next five weeks, a midweek Lenten service with the theme "Beatitudes of Promise" will be held at 6:45 after the soup supper. The service is an opportunity to come together for prayer, scripture, hymns and a homily done in dialogue format. All are welcome.

BREAD & SOUP

On March 9th, we will begin our simple Lenten suppers of Bread & Soup. These suppers will begin at 6:00pm in Luther Hall followed by the Lenten service. Subsequent Bread & Soup suppers will be held on March 23rd, 30th and April 6th. On March 16th we will join the Harvest Cafe for supper which begins that evening at 5:30pm. There are sign up sheets on the Narthex bulletin board for each of our Bread & Soup suppers asking people to bring either bread or soup (no donations needed for March 16th). There is also a sheet to sign up if you are going to attend the Bread & Soup suppers. For further information please see Carol Heller. Thank you!

HOLY CROSS PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY

Seven prayer shawls were blessed on Sunday Jan 22nd at the 10:30 service. This ministry began six years ago with just three knitters. It was slow getting more knitters but now we have several and hopefully more will join us. We have given twenty shawls in this time. To finally have some extras on hand is absolutely wonderful. Thank you to all who knit -but please keep knitting. There will always be a need.

Prayer shawls are knit with loving hands and prayers for God' s comfort and solace. Shawls are given to people who are ill, grieving or otherwise in need of God's comforting love. If you know of someone who is in need please call the church office or Helen Rotvig.

HOLY COMMUNION

A five session class preparing young people for Holy Communion will be offered on Thursdays in Lent, beginning March 9th. Generally speaking, this series of classes is intended for young people who are in fourth grade and above (though parents of third graders may consult with the pastor as to their son or daughter's readiness). Each class with be held from 5-6pm and will be taught by Associate in Ministry Karen Indorf. In addition to the in class instruction, there will be a worksheet associated with each lesson that is to be completed at home and then returned the following week. It is hoped that parents will all attend the first session, part of which will be a separate parent meeting with Pastor Horner to discuss Holy Communion and to answer questions. Then one or two parents will be asked, if possible, to attend one of the other four sessions. The dates for the whole series are as follows: Thursday March 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th and April 6th. Those who take the classes will then begin receiving communion on Palm Sunday, April 9th. In order to ensure that we have enough materials, please contact the church office if your son or daughter will be participating in the classes. Thank you!

KNITTING DAY A SUCCESS!!

Twenty-three women and girls attended the first knitting day on January 28 in Luther Hall. Amidst wonderful conversation, everyone was busy knitting hats, mittens and scarves. The event was sponsored by the Social Concerns Committee. In addition to the items made that day, others were brought to the church and blessed by pastor on February 5. A total of 45 hats, 24 pairs of mittens and 8 scarves were donated to the York County Shelter in Alfred and the Sweetser Home. Thank you to everyone who donated their time, labor, yarn and love, as well as soup and bread for lunch.

In response to the enthusiasm generated for this type of even, the Social Concerns Committee has scheduled another day of fellowship and crafting. On Saturday, March 18, everyone is welcome to attend the first "Dolls2Love" making event. We will be in Luther Hall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come for part or all of the time and lend a hand creating simple dolls for children in crisis. Materials for making and stuffing the dolls will be provided. If you have a portable sewing machine in good condition, please bring it with you. Breakfast goodies and soup and bread will be served. If possible, please bring non-perishable food items as a donation for the Kennebunk Food Pantry and the York County Shelter.

Following is information about the project, taken from the organization's web site: www.ragdolls2love.org

"Rag Dolls 2 Love, Inc was started to put a soft cloth doll in the hands of children in countries ravaged by war. It now includes children infected with HIV/AIDS, children in orphanages, children affected by natural disasters."

"As cloth ambassadors, the Rag Dolls 2 Love can bring love to children turned all too quickly into adults by the violence of everyday life. This isn't just a doll. It is a doll without hair, a doll without clothes, a doll who has nothing but its heart, its eyes and its smile. Rag Dolls 2 Love offers children solace that real life doesn't offer. The Rag Doll 2 Love can become real as it is loved by the child who hugs it at night, whose tears wash its body. The Rag Dolls 2 Love is 20"" long and is big enough to hug and small enough to tuck under a child's arm."

"Over 15,000 dolls have been shipped to children in countries including Palestine, Israel, Haiti, The Sudan, Iraq, South Africa, Belarus, Mexico, Honduras, China, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, India, Zambia, Katrina victims, Lithuania and Afghanistan."

EASTER FLOWERS

Easter will be April 16 this year. As usual, the congregation will have the opportunity to order potted lilies and spring flowers, and to donate toward flowering the cross to celebrate the day of Christ's resurrection. Once prices are available from the florists, order forms will appear in the Sunday service sheets; watch for them in March!

SCRAPBOOKING

On Saturday, March 11th from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. the Church Life Committee will be holding a "SCRAPBOOKING" get together!! We havent had a get together in a few months, so this would be the time to get out your pictures and scrapbooking supplies and put together some albums! There are the big tables set up and lots of room to work. If you have never scrapbooked before and want to learn how, just bring some pictures and there will be people there to help you get started! This will be held in Luther Hall and people of all ages are invited! Refreshments will be served too! Hope to see you there!

SHARING THE JOY

We will be going to the Atria again on March 19th at 3:15 to sing along with the residents their favorite old songs and hymns. Please join us, whether to help with the singing (no talent required) or to be in fellowship with our Atria friends who enjoy our presence so much. They love people of all ages, including youth. See Karen for further information.

BIBLE STUDY

The 8:30 Wednesday morning Bible Study group has begun a new study, No Experience Necessary, based on material written by Kelly Fryer. The focus is reading the Bible to hear what God is saying to us and then discussing how that gives meaning and purpose to our lives as Christians. In addition we spend time in prayer and in sharing needs or concerns. We also keep in touch with our college students and recently sent them Valentine cards. All are welcome to join us at any time ­ this is an ongoing study. See Karen for further details.

YOUNG AT HEART

This group for age 55ish or older has had a wonderful winter. We had a delightful time at the Magic of Christmas concert in December. Then in January, everyone absolutely loved the tea party that Mary Keating put on in her home. Thank you Mary for being such a gracious hostess. In February we enjoyed a Valentine¹s Day potluck, sharing valentine cards, food and fellowship. In March we will be having another luncheon on Friday, March 17th ­ St, Patrick¹s Day. Wear your green and bring on the corned beef and cabbage! Everyone is welcome. Signup sheets are always on the Narthex board or see Karen for questions or ideas.

ADULT FORUM

Determining your gifts and how God can use them is the continuing discussion at Adult Forum during March. Using the program "Network: Understanding God's Design For You in the Church", the Evangelism Committee will facilitate the discovery of how you can serve God with your individual gifts. The class meets in Luther Hall each Sunday from 9:30 - 10:30 am. All are welcome!

VACATION BIBLE CAMP - HELP WANTED

Co- Director for Vacation Bible Camp Looking for someone to work with Mary Keating to help plan and direct the week of VBC. This year the theme is "Fiesta!" If you would like to help, call Mary.

Planning Meeting: There will be a planning meeting for Vacation Bible Camp after the second service on Sunday, March 19th. Please see Mary for more information


God understands our prayers even when we can't find the words to say them.

~Author Unknown



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