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February 26th - April 9th 2020
Lent is a Christian annual period that starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not Including Sundays) - that represent the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. This 40 day period for Christians is a time to reflect, fast, and give penance in preparation for the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday.
During Lent, our Christian community gathers at for a noontime worship sevice and meal hosted by a local area church.
Haven taken place for many years, the Community Lenten Series is a wonderful opportunity to worship, fellowship, and eat with our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Carthage area.
At noon each Wednesday during Lent (except during Holy Week) we gather together at a different church in town for a short worship service and meal.
Come and take part in this meaningful Lenten activity each week.
Lenten 2019 dates and Carthage locations:
Carthage United Methodist Church
First Baptist Church - 108 S. McNeill St.
First Presbyterian Church - 110 S. Ray St.
John Hall Presbyterian Church – 520 Dowd St.
Mt. Olive AME Zion Church – 440 Bethlehem Church Road
First Missionary Baptist Church – 576 Needmore Road
February 26th, 2020
Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday and begins an important season of fasting and prayer. During our 6:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday service, ashes are placed on the forehead in the shape of a cross to symbolize the dust from which God made us. Palm Branches from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned into ash used for Ash Wednesday.
HOLY WEEK 2020
Sunday, April 5th - Sunday, April 12th, 2020
The Sunday before Easter to Easter Sunday
Holy Week observes a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ, which was his unconditional love of mankind.
Beginning with Palm Sunday, Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and ends on resurrection day - Easter Sunday.
April 5th - 11 a.m. Worship Service
The Sunday before Easter - 6th Sunday of Lent
The Sunday before Easter is known as Palm Sunday and is the beginning of Holy Week. Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover - entering on the back of a donkey. While an unlikely entry for a king, great crowds of people thronged the streets waving palm branches to welcome Him. During Palm Sunday, children of the church enter worship waving Palm branches singing, "Hosanna. Hosanna in the Highest." Hosanna used in praise of God or Christ in an appeal for deliverance.
April 9th - 7 p.m. Tenebrae Service
The Thursday before Easter
Jesus and his disciples were in Jersualem to celebrate Passover - the Jewish festival commemorating the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt with Moses. Escaping quickly from Pharoah and his army, there was no time for their bread to rise during the night.
While commemorating that historical event of freedom for his people, Jesus gathered his disciples in the Upper Room for what is known as the "Last Supper" - a Passover Sede feast of unleavened bread.
The Latin word for “darkness,” Tenebrae is a service of mourning the upcoming crucifixion of our Savior on Good Friday by means of prayer, scripture, music, and the symbolism of light.
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper, the beginning of Holy Eucharist Lord's supper / communion that is described in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22.
At the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus breaks bread, saying, "This is my body," and pours wine, saying, "This is my blood." He then asks the disciples to "Do this in remembrance of me."
Because Jesus instructs his followers to love and to serve, the term Maundy is derived from the Latin word for "command," and refers to Jesus' commandment to the disciples to "Love one another as I have loved you."
Maundy Thursday is also associated with foot-washing. When someone entered a home, a servant of the household would wash their feet. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, an act described in the Gospel of John, chapter 13, as a way of teaching them to be servants. A Eucharistic celebration often includes washing of feet in commemoration of Jesus teaching his disciples how to be come leaders through servitde.
The Friday before Easter Sunday
Jesus made the perfect atoning sacrifice so that our own sins can be forgiven. When we accept Jesus Christ's payment for us to have a new birth or beginning, he washes away our sin and restores our right standing with God. It is through God's mercy and grace that makes our salvation possible, and we receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. This explains why the date of Jesus' crucifixion is considered a "Good" Friday.
"He has risen. He has risen indeed!"
Easter Sunday is one of the most festive events among Christians worldwide. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death, as a festive Christian celebration worldwide.
The early church noted Jesus' resurrection as the central witness to a new act of God in history, and the victory of our Messiah over death, providing eternal life for believers. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon, after the Spring equinox.
Because Easter signifies rebirth and a new beginning, beautiful white blossoms of the Easter Lilly decorate church sanctuarys on Easter Sunday - symbolizing the purity, spirit, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The rugged cross is also decorated with new flowers to signify new life and beginnings.
Palm Sunday Service
11 a.m., Sunday, April 5th
Maundy Thursday / Tenebrae Service
7 p.m., Thursday, April 9th
Easter Community Sunrise Service and Breakfast
7 a.m., Sunday, April 12th at FPC Cemetery,
followed by breakfast at FPC.
Easter Communion Worship Service
11 a.m., Easter Sunday, April 12th.
One Great Hour of Sharing
Easter Sunday Special Offering
This Easter, let God’s love for all people guide you in supporting a special One Great Hour of Sharing offering. This worthy mission supports families suffering from
loss or poverty.
Church Office is closed on Monday, April 19th.
Sunday, May 31st
Seven-week season from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday/Ascension Day
Pentecost is the day we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ from his ressurection on earth into heaven to prepare a place for us. It is the day the Christian church was born. New believers in Jesus were baptized as they joined this church. They, along with the first followers of Jesus, shared life together, focusing on teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. They shared their belongings so that no one was hungry or needy. As these first Christians lived out their new faith together, “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Thus we speak of Pentecost as the birthday of the church.
Before He returned to His Father in Heaven at the Ascension, Jesus told His disciples that He would send His Holy Spirit as their comforter and guide, and He ordered them not to leave Jerusalem. After Christ ascended into Heaven, the disciples returned to the upper room with Jesus' mother Mary.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to preach the Gospel of Christ to Jews "from every nation under heaven" who were gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost.
On the tenth day:"suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim".
The Central Role of the Church in God’s Work in the World
On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those followers of Jesus who had gathered together in Jerusalem. What happened on the first Pentecost continues to happen to Christians throughout the world today, though usually not in such a dramatic fashion. We rarely get a heavenly wind and tongues of fire anymore. Nevertheless, God pours out the Spirit upon all who put their faith in Jesus Christ and become his disciples (see Romans 8:1-11).
Christians are meant to live in the presence and power of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit helps us to confess Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12:3), empowers us to serve God with supernatural power (1 Cor 12:4-11), binds us together as the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-13), helps us to pray (Rom 8:26), and even intercedes for us with God the Father (Rom 8:27). The Spirit guides us (Gal 5:25), helping us to live like Jesus (Gal 5:22-23).
Personal Implications: Pentecost presents us with an opportunity to consider how we are living each day. Are we relying on the power of God’s Spirit? Are we an open channel for the Spirit’s gifts? Are we attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Is the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) growing in our lives? Most Christians I know, including me, live in the presence and power of the Spirit, but only to an extent. We are limited by our fear, our sin, our low expectations, not to mention our tendency to be distracted from God’s work in us. Pentecost offers a chance to confess our failure to live by the Spirit and to ask the Lord to fill us afresh with his power.
On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on individual followers of Jesus as they were gathered together in Jerusalem. This gathering became the first Christian church.
In theory, the Spirit could have been poured out on the followers of Jesus when they were not gathered together. There are surely times when the Holy Spirit touches an individual who is alone in prayer, worship, or ministry to others. But the fact that the Spirit was given to a gathering of believers is not incidental. It underscores the centrality of the church in God’s work in the world. The actions of the earliest Christians put all of this in boldface. The Holy Spirit is not only given to individuals, but also, in a sense to the gathered people of God. Thus, in 1 Corinthians 3, the Apostle Paul observes that the church is God’s temple and that the Spirit dwells in the midst of the church (3:16-17; in 1 Cor 6:19-20 we find a complementary emphasis on the dwelling of the Spirit in individual Christians).
Personal Implications: Many Christians, especially those of us who have been influenced by the individualism of American culture, live as if the church is useful but unnecessary. We seem to believe that as long as we have a personal relationship with God, everything else is secondary. But Pentecost is a vivid illustration of the truth that is found throughout Scripture: the community of God’s people is central to God’s work in the world. Thus, Pentecost invites us to consider our own participation in the fellowship, worship, and mission of the church. It is a time to renew our commitment to live as an essential member of the body of Christ, using our gifts to build the church and share the love and justice of Christ with the world.
Pentecost is not as well-known or as popular as the Christmas and Easter, though it commemorates a watershed event in Christian history. It many ways, Pentecost is the birthday of the church.For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.” Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” It comes from the ancient Christian expression pentekoste hemera, which means “fiftieth day.”
his event is recorded in the New Testament book known as The Acts of the Apostles. Chapter 2 begins, “And when the day of Pentecost [ten hemeran tes pentekostes] had come, [the first followers of Jesus] were all together in one place” (2:1). All of a sudden, a sound came from heaven, like a strong wind, filling the house where the people had gathered. Something like tongues of fire rested on their heads. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak” (2:4). (Notice the tongues of fire on the heads of the people in the painting by Restout.)
The languages spoken by the early Christians were intelligible (not other worldly) and were heard by thousands of Jewish pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot. The content of the miraculous messages had to do with God’s mighty works (2:11). Many who heard these messages in their own languages were amazed, though others thought the Christians were just drunk (2:12).
At some point, Peter, one of the leading followers of Jesus, stood up and preached his first sermon. He interpreted the events of that morning in light of a prophecy of the Hebrew prophet Joel. In that text, God promised to pour out his Spirit on all flesh, empowering diverse people to exercise divine power. This would be a sign of the coming “day of the Lord” (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32).
Peter went on to explain that Jesus had been raised and had poured out the Spirit in fulfillment of God’s promise through Joel (2:32-33). When the crowd asked what they should do, Peter urged them to turn their lives around and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Then they would be forgiven and would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (2:37-39). Acts reports that about 3,000 people were added to the church that day (2:41). Not a bad response to Peter’s first sermon!