Dear Church Community,
Have you seen the beautiful Lenten Roses (hellebore) in our church gardens? For some reason, I’d never heard the common name for this wonderful winter/spring flower until recently. In fact, I hadn’t paid them much attention at all. Now I’m a fan!
Like humans, hellebore isn’t without complications. First, it’s not a rose at all; it comes from the buttercup family. Second, its flower “petals” are actually sepals. And its Greek name, helleborus, means “injure food” (i.e., it’s poisonous). In fact, gardeners recommend putting on gloves before handling…
In the Victorian language of flowers, hellebore held a dual meaning: anxiety and hope. Which sounds a lot like Lent. This is a plant that thrives in the shade, can handle cold weather, and doesn’t suffer fools. It’s poisonous; yet, in very small doses, has been used medicinally. And when the sun comes out, it takes what it needs and lives on, resurrecting year after year.
I love having Lenten Roses in our church gardens (thank you, Mary Jane!), for they remind me, in the words of Camus: “… no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger—something better, pushing right back.”
Holy Week is coming up, and I hope you’ll join me for the following:
Palm Sunday, 4/2—This service focuses on Jesus’s last week. We’ll gather for a new ritual of the palms and hear what the story of Jesus’s final days has to say about Empire in our 21st century context.
Maundy Thursday, 4/6—This 7 pm service celebrates Jesus’s Last Supper and commemorates his death at Calvary. Join us for a candlelit evening of Communion, Foot Washing, and Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”). If you’d like to read a part in the Passion Story, email email@example.com
Good Friday Meditation, 4/7—Join Pastor Ellen in the church sanctuary from Noon to 1 pm for a reading of the Passion Story with time for silent reflection.
Easter, 4/9—We’ll celebrate with a service of Joyful Alleluias! The music will be glorious, our children and youth will participate in a fun-filled Sunday School and Easter Egg Hunt, and we’ll all enjoy a festive Coffee Hour.
I wish you a beautiful Spring and offer this poem by Rev. Laura Martin.
See, spring comes close
And tells you again that
Resurrection is no party trick,
But the truest Story.
Today let there be mud-light
And green shoots.
Let there be the birds with wings
Half-opened in praise.
Let there be daffodils that
Have come to tell you
They remember it all,
Loss leading to return.
Everything is ancient and new.
When you see that
What can you do but
Reach your body up,
Remember that you are rooted
In this Story,
And reply alleluia,
Blessings and Peace,