St. Luke's United Methodist Church

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4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
407.876.4991

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A Note from Pastor Jenn-February 25, 2021

Posted on February 25, 2021 at 10:32 am in .

Dear Hero’s Journeyers,

I was reading our Scripture lesson for this week to be ready for our Wednesday night LEARN Bible Study with Pastor Bill. It’s from Mark 8:26-38. It’s a hard text, but as I read I couldn’t help but giggle. I was remembering every time when I would complain about something to Bill when he was lead pastor, about how hard it was to do a particularly hard funeral, wondering why people could be so critical, or struggling with why pastoral life was in a such a bubble, he would say, “remember Jesus went to the cross.” In this Scripture, Jesus tells the disciples that in order to follow him, you must “say not to themselves, take up their cross and follow me.”

Cross bearing. Not cross wearing.

The cross I wear around my neck is a very simple but stunning one given to me by a family in the church as a thank you for performing their wedding. It’s very intricate, rose gold, very light, and simple in its beauty. I love it for all it means and because of the love with which it was given to me. But it’s no burden, and unless I glance in a mirror, I hardly know it’s there.

Cross bearing is what Jesus called us to. Not cross wearing.

Cross bearing has nothing to do with what I wear, however I am using my purple Lenten bracelet as a physical reminder of Christ’s call and my baptismal vows.

I’ve started moving it from my left arm to right arm for the day that I’m fasting, and when I’m tempted or getting ready to give in, I move it back to my right arm in prayer.

I’ve also taken to moving it from right to left and back again for all of the moments when I am living less than my baptismal vows. For the moments when cross bearing becomes hard and I want to ignore the opportunity – to speak up and call out talk that’s less than Kingdom living, when I don’t want to wade into a conflict to get to reconciliation, when I want to make a choice that’s easy for me but not for everyone else, the moments when I am asked to participate in a panel or sign a letter, or speak up about a gospel value, but it feels like it’s controversial and I’ll get negative email, or when I want to be finished with my mask wearing, but remember that 500,000 have died and many in our congregation are ill with this virus.

In those moments of Christ’s call to cross bearing, when I say no out of fear or lack of courage or selfishness, I recall what happened in the verses just before Jesus calls us to this task. I am convicted by that moment when Jesus chastises Peter who tells him he doesn’t need to suffer. I hear Jesus saying “get behind me, Satan. You are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.” Then I hear Bill’s voice saying “remember, Jesus went to the cross” and I move my bracelet as a reminder to confess and then pick up my cross and follow.

The Hero’s Journey is a daily intention. It’s about the cross I am called to bear. Less about the cross I choose to wear. This week in worship Pastor Jeremy will take on this text as well as our baptismal vow: “Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?” Pray for his preparation, and for our own hearts to be open to this cosmic, yet very personal vow of The Hero’s Journey. Don’t forget to register for on-campus worship or set your alarms to join us virtually at 9:15 and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday. Remember, it’s not St. Luke’s without U, and neither is The Hero’s Journey.

Grace and peace,

Jenn.

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Celebrations of Life:

St. Luke’s is hosting a celebration of life to honor Anthony John “A.J.” Garcia on Friday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Due to COVID-19, the in-person attendance is by invitation only, but CLICK HERE on Friday to watch the livestream where everyone can join and honor A.J.’s life.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in A.J.’s name to:


A memorial service to honor Danita Mancini will be held at St. Luke’s on Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. CLICK HERE on Saturday to watch the livestream and join in the celebration of Danita’s life.


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