Good Sunday morning. What a beautiful day to celebrate life with the Risen Christ. I would like to remind you that on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm we gather on Facebook live for a Vespers service. Also this morning at 10 am on our web site. EOCCME.COM
Please keep in prayer the Pooler family as Jim Pooler passed earlier this week. A service will be planned for when we can gather again. In the meantime Ruth Mary could use our love and prayers. Their address is in our on line directory.
Please let us know if you have any needs and we will do our best to help out. We are still here!!!
Lamentations 3:18-26 18 I thought: My future is gone, as well as my hope from the LORD.
19 The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison. 20 I can’t help but remember and am depressed. 21 I call all this to mind—therefore, I will wait. 22 Certainly the faithful love of the LORD hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! 23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness. 24 I think: The LORD is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him. 25 The LORD is good to those who hope in him, to the person who seeks him. 26 It’s good to wait in silence for the LORD’s deliverance.
The writer of this passage was there when Babylon completely destroyed Jerusalem. Amid the rubble, the deaths and total destruction he wrote this passage. A tragedy of such magnitude that it would last with him forever. For us today it is like the Vietnam War, 9-11 and now the virus.
What I love about this passage is the writer wrote about his pain, his misery in life. He did not hide from it or try and deny his own experience of agony. Yet, in this he projected to us and himself a undying trust in God. " I have hope. Great is your faithfulness. It is good to wait in silence for the Lord's deliverance. What power these writing have for those who are mourning at this time. Those who are scared or even simply frustrated.
As I have said before, I believe God's love and compassion are renewed every morning. The sun will come up and we will make a choice to walk with the Lord or not. It is a choice to take one day at a time, to learn while our mind is grieving. A difficult task yes, but one that I have seen many achieve with Christ. In times of tragedy and grief it is easy to doubt if things will get better, but this is never a reason to abandon hope. I believe this is exactly why Christ chose to die for us, so we might have eternal hope in Him.
I pray you will join us at 10 on our web site eoccme.com . You all are deeply missed.
Almighty God, I know and have experienced Your renewing power in my life. This morning God I ask that this power be given to all whose hearts are open to receive this love and hope. Father, I give you thanks for the grace that is being seen in the world around me today. Thank you for being with us and lifting many up in Your arms. Father, I ask you to forgive me in my sinfulness. I ask you to renew my soul and heal my body. Lord Jesus, come. Father, I pray this and all things in Your Son's Holy name. Amen
I put all my hope in the Lord. He leaned down to me; he listened to my cry for help.
He lifted me out of the pit of death, out of the mud and filth, and set my feet on solid rock.
He steadied my legs.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise for our God.
Psalm 40:1-3a (CEB)
My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.” The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness-- Lamentations 3:17-23 (NSRV)
Our cat (now deceased) loved to lay in the sunlight, in the warmth of God's gift. On days that the sun did not come out it seemed as if she would almost mope around a bit, grudgingly finding a lap to jump on. Even when the sun was out she learned that through out the day she would have to search to where the light was and move back into the light..She knew If she stayed in one place, she would have lost the sunshine, the warmth for the rest of that day. It seemed if the morning started with light even if grayness came her hope carried her through the day that the warmth and light would return. Her mood was totally different if her day sated with light, hope.
Sometimes hope is easy to find – our finances are good, our jobs are going well, and we are in good health, so it’s easy for us to be hopeful. At other times, we experience setbacks and have to work really hard to find hop Over the past month many have had problems finding the light in their day. Between gray days, being seperated from others, the depressing statistics, the constant name calling are a few reasons i have heard that the hope or warmth is hard to find.
Even in the moments when the sun or hope isn’t shining on us, it can still be found. We can find it by meditating on Scripture, reading a positive uplifting book, reaching out to a friend for a chat, or lacing up our shoes and going for a walk. Hope is always nearby because Christ is always with us.
If you find yourself feeling hopeless, do not ignore those feelings. Pick up a phone and call another member, your pastor or a neighbor. If needed make an appointment with a therapist. Sometimes, like my cat we have to get up and look for the warmth we desire and need. Remember: there is always hope, your are never alone with the Son.
Almighty God, my Lord and my God Jesus, I am so grateful for the love you give, the warmth and hope that comes from our relationship. Thank you for being with me when the sun is shinning and in the dark moments of life, often seen as night. I am blessed to know you in my life. I am grateful in knowledge that your promise to never leave me or forsake me is trustworthy and true. Lord help me plant my roots deeper in the knowledge of your never failing love. Father forgive me of my sins as I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
I feel like it is ground hog's day. "The Movie" THe events page will come back,but in the mean time are you using this time to learn new things? Reading the Word? For now let us all make our own calendar of events. Share with others what you are doing. for example: Trease Hodge made wonderful sugar cookie easter pops and gave them to people. Share you story.
Back to the beauty of the garden but his time near where Jesus rose from the dead! Shall we recall the wonder of the empty tomb, where the women were told of Jesus that "He is not here, for he is risen"? At first the disciples in Luke 24 answered, "No!" They considered the women's report to be "an idle tale and they did not believe them." (verse 11) But later that night they saw Jesus fro themselves and accepted the fact that something wonderful had happened.
How can we make the story came real for ourselves today? Especially in the midst of chaos and fear. Even without the events unfolding today many of us subscribe to the advice that, " If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't." How do we get out of our skepticism? Can we truly believe that Jesus lives among us?
The Apostle Paul dealt with this question. ( I could paraphrase but I won't, read 1 Corinthians 15) The truth that I know is Christ is in our worship time, Bible studies and most especially Communion.Whether gathered here at EOCC or through modern technology. He also come to us in personal prayer, our daily tasks, at the office or even quarantined at home. Jesus lives in the garden of our lives, enabling us to experience beauty and to bear fruit in creative living. Happy Easter and I hope you can join us with Facebook live at 5:45 ish in the morning and then again at 9 am on our web site eoccme.com. Both services will be left up for a period of time afterwards.
Almighty and Holy God, Bless this day as I seek to live Easter in my life daily. Lord thank you fro sending Your Son. Thank you for the people you have brought into my life as we journey together. Lord forgive my sins, give me what I need today. I ask you to bless my colleague and friend Pastor Wilbins Maginet. i ask you to bless the NACCC as they have decided to cancel this years annual meeting in Portland, Maine. Be with those who have worked so hard putting things in place only to see them vanish with a vote. Lord, bless this church family, the community and the world around us. Father, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
Holy Week Devotional
We should never lose sight of the amazing love God has displayed toward us.
As we are in the middle of Holy Week I think the phrase above has an even greater meaning than normal. Many of you know that I am married to a most amazing person. I can honestly say that I love her with all my being. Yet I know my love is limited. No matter how deeply or sincerely I love ,I am constrained by my own failings so that I cannot perfectly love another. Only God has this perfect love to offer I believe.
An example of this love is most clearly seen in His offer of salvation. It is not because we are good or lovable that He loves us, but because of His gracious love. The late Dr. John Rice, author and evangelist said, “Nobody ever deserves salvation, and no one ever will. I deserved Hell before I was saved, and I deserve Hell now. But bless God, through His infinite mercy I am saved and on my way to Heaven. Salvation is wholly by God's rich grace. Jesus died for sinners.”
Today we face a darkness, there is a lot of fear, misstatements, foolishness as well as kindness and goodness. No matter what is going on let us not lose sight of the amazing love God has for us. Let us live in it, share it and give thanks for it knowing that our God is an awesome God and our. God is good.... stay safe and stay connected. Pastor Carl
On Palm Sunday we find ourselves not in a garden but on a dusty road heading into town. Because of the scriptures we do know Palm trees were plentiful as it tells us they cut Palms and laid them in the road as Jesus entered before them.The streets were lined with people shouting Hosanna, Blessed is the King who comes int he name of the Lord. Can you feel the hope, joy, even a sense of victory that most likely filled the hearts of the many who hailed him.
Then, in a blink of eye we stand in the Garden of the High Priest, to whom Jesus was taken after His arrest by the Roman soldiers. It is in this area where Peter denies knowing Him and left weeping bitterly. It was here all had abandon the Messiah. They had come from a road of triumph and delight to despair.
If we think about it, life brings us many different garden experiences. Though we come to the garden with Jesus there is no guarantee it will be easy. Life is like that rose garden; beautiful at times but there is always thorn present. However, it makes a different knowing the Jesus walks with us, that God is near. Somehow this always bring hope into the moment. The very one who walked this lonesome valley makes us less lonesome.
In this time of darkness, uncertainty, may we never forget the Psalm where we are reminded God walks with us through the valley of shadow of death, not "in" the valley.God's rod and staff they comfort us.
For me, especially this year's journey of Lent, I am reminded to live life fully, to enjoy the wonder of things; the simple and complex; to trust and not despair when things get tough. For our God is trustworthy and True. He is our constant companion and nothing can ever separate us from His love. I hope in some way our Lenten journey together has brought you closer to God and to who He is.
Almighty and Holy God, may all honor and glory be Yours. Father as I enter Holy week with Your Son I thank you fro Your great love. I thank You fro giving us a hope of everlasting life and salvation through Your cross and resurrection. I kneel before You asking You to forgive me of my sinfulness. I thank you for my family who teaches me daily and all those who walk with me.Lord, I need You. Father, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
Luke 17:1-37 1 Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause people to trip and fall into sin must happen, but how terrible it is for the person through whom they happen. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into a lake with a large stone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to trip and fall into sin. 3 Watch yourselves! If your brother or sister sins, warn them to stop. If they change their hearts and lives, forgive them. 4 Even if someone sins against you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I am changing my ways,’ you must forgive that person.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Come! Sit down for dinner’? 8 Wouldn’t you say instead, ‘Fix my dinner. Put on the clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and drink’? 9 You won’t thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you? 10 In the same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.’”
11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
20 Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom was coming. He replied, “God’s kingdom isn’t coming with signs that are easily noticed. 21 Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is already among you.”
Jesus told his disciples they should forgive “even if someone sins against you seven times in one day.” (Luke 17:4. Matthew 18:21-22 said either “seventy seven times” or “seventy times seven.”) In any form, that’s more forgiving than we do naturally! “Increase our faith!” the disciples said. Jesus told them even a little faith is powerful. He healed ten lepers who showed just a little faith. Asked when (in the future) to expect God’s Kingdom, Jesus instead spoke of the need to trust God today to be ready for any trial that might come.
Today, in these times of being shut in may each of us hear these words of Christ and bring them to life. Who do we need to reconnect with? Are you questioning your faith with God? Especially in these times of trouble. If so remember, it is God who tells you that His healing powers are upon you with the smallest amount of faith. For me that's reassuring. And finally, today is the day you have. Do not worry about tomorrow, do not waste your time with when God will return.It will happen in his time. Instead take this time of isolation to talk with God, listen to His whispers, and know He is with us.
Gracious God, too often we fail to see the moment we are in because we are so concerned about tomorrow or things that are not in our control. Lord, help me to focus on the now, to make connection today, to give generously knowing you will provide what I need. Lord, thank you for those who are still able and willing ot the work. Thank you for those who are listening to the experts and staying home and spreading this terrible virus further. Lord, may the experiences we are now experiencing lead us to a deeper love for you and each other. May good come from this. Lord, I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006