(Posted March 17, 2018)
So here we are, living in the pause between one super storm and the next one, not quite sure what’s coming, but knowing that, after three nor’easters, we seen it all before. These storms have taken away the literal and figurative light, at least temporarily, taken away our assuredness. They have made us hyper-vigilant but for what, we’re not sure. Now there’s talk of yet another one.
We are indeed living in the in between times.
We are living in Lent as applied to our lives on a grander scale.
By definition Lent is a Middle English word for Spring. But It’s hard to tell that by looking out the window right now. What I see there are forsythia bushes flattened down to the ground by the weight of a storm two weeks ago. I wonder will it ever rise up? I see the box tree I planted ten years ago crushed into a stalk by two drifts. Will it be all right?
What this comes down to, like the Lent of our church understanding, is to rely upon our TRUST. This isn’t blind trust. Experience has taught us that Spring will, indeed, come again. That the trees and bushes were created resilient, and will rise. They are built for New England in the in between times of the seasons.
And so are we. God made us to rebound from the storms in life, made us capable of surviving as Christians in that time after the crushing blow of the Crucifixion, and the return of the Light on Easter morning. We are a Holy Saturday people for now. The day after Golgotha we continue to live in the emptiness and silence of a world that has yet to see where Jesus has gone. We continue to express our trust by living his teaching despite a culture that seems to mock our Christian faith as foolish, antiquated in a marketplace that values acquisition at the expense of others. The storms will come. They always do. But we know that, deep within the heart of our being, trust has made us limber, ready to rise again, with the One who taught us that God has inscribed on our own hearts the promise of resurrection and the joy that follows. Come join us this Jazz Sunday as we Holy Saturday people shake off the snows, and rise. -- Pastor Pat Kriss
(Posted March 18, 2018)
All are warmly invited to The First Congregational Church of Danbury Holy Week & Easter.
9:45 a.m. Blessing of the Palms at City Hall (Weather permitting)
10 a.m. Palm Sunday Worship
6 p.m. Potluck Supper – Annie Orr Hall
7 p.m. Service of Tenebrae - Sanctuary
12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sanctuary Open to Public
Scripture Readings & Meditation with Rev. Kriss
10 a.m. First Church Easter Sunday Worship
Children’s Easter Egg Hunt
(Posted March 22, 2018)
When I was growing up, there were two men of God whose ability to express Divine love in their preaching transcended any sense of religious denominations in those who listened. One was Billy Graham; the other was Fulton J. Sheen. It didn’t matter that Rev. Graham was a Protestant. Many Catholics, including my parents, listened to his crusades. It also didn’t matter that Fulton Sheen was a Catholic – and a Catholic Bishop at that. So many Protestants I know listened intently to his often lighthearted messages, too. Both preachers had unique and sometimes startling insights about Jesus.
It wasn’t surprising then when I was preparing this Palm Sunday’s message that I happened upon a book of Fulton Sheen’s vision of that fateful entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. But I had never considered that this moment of borrowing his ride was part of an intentional pattern in Christ’s life. Fulton Sheen pointed out that Jesus -- the Word Became Flesh -- who was “rich,” became poor for our sake. He borrowed our human nature with all its pains and fears so that he could genuinely teach us how to live.
And then Jesus kept on borrowing. He borrowed a boat from the fisherman to preach from. He borrowed barley loaves and fishes from a boy to feed thousands on a hillside. He borrowed a grave at the end of this week of earthshaking passion from which he would rise on Easter. And on the beginning of this passion week, he borrowed a colt, the offspring of a donkey, so that WE could visibly understand that he chose the life of poverty and service over the thundering might and wealth of the Caesars who always entered with their army parades on this road into the Holy City.
On these days leading up to Palm Sunday, I think of all that borrowing, and I see that, no matter what was borrowed, what was repaid to us humans was worth so much more. A boat provided a platform from which Jesus’ voice would echo through the ages. Bread and fishes quenched the hunger of those who ached to take in hope. And an empty grave would become the Manger, the birthing place for Salvation, for victory over death. As Bishop Sheen noted, “sometimes God preempts and requisitions the things of man, as if to remind him that everything is a gift from him.”
So I hope, on this Sunday when the church smells of fresh green palms, and the children will play with the fronds they pass out to us, that you will join us bystanders reenacting the parade that leads to Jesus’ destiny. It leads, more importantly, to the glorious Easter morning that put an end to death and our own sins. Holy Week all starts here, on a borrowed donkey. - Pastor Pat Kriss
An important Sunday weather note: Unlike many years in the past, there may be foul weather for the Blessing of the Palms that we and other area clergy and congregations usually attend across the street in front of City Hall. If the weather is bad, we will move our own Blessing of the Palms into the Narthex of the church, and you are welcome to join us there right before the beginning of Palm Sunday services.
First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 744-6177
Monday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thrift Shop Hours:
Friday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.–11 a.m.