Grace and Peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ!
Welcome to Tree of Life Lutheran Church, located in suburban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We are a congregation of over 900 baptized members, diverse in our membership and welcoming in our ministry. If you don't know us, please browse around to learn who we are and what we believe. And if you are seeking a family of faith, we hope you'll visit us in person. We are rooted in faith and growing in love. We'd love to have you as a part of our faith family!
Pastors Message for April
The light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
April brings with it the churches conclusion to the forty days of Lent, it's celebration of Holy Week, Easter Sunday and the beginning of the fifty day Easter Season. It's a lot to think about liturgically in a relatively short time chronologically and with a lot to do pastorally!
As we move into the month of April, I'll narrow the focus of this letter to the three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Great Easter Vigil - the last three days of Holy Week which begins on Palm/Passion Sunday and the three days known to many as the Triduum. Often described as the churches most sacred or central time, these three days recall the last events of the earthly life of Jesus - his act of loving service when he washed the feet of the disciples, the last supper, his betrayal, arrest, torture and crucifixion, his burial and finally, at the Easter Vigil, his resurrection. While the liturgical map leading the church through the Triduum has varied through the centuries, the goal remains the same - to lead the church from the Passover of Christ from death to life. This three day long service is the high point of the church year that culminates at the Easter Vigil with lighted candles marking the first light of the resurrection.
I've often struggled with words to interpret the significance of these three days, at least in a way that seemed to appeal to my reader's sense of commitment. Here is the image that came to mind this year. When you go to see a movie, do you delay your entrance into the theater until the movie is halfway over, almost over or even, has reached the final climax? Of course not. You go at the beginning so that you can watch the film from beginning to end.
The Great Three Days set the stage for Easter Sunday - one service, from beginning to end. To come in at the end, means to miss those parts of the story that set the stage for the triumph of God in the empty tomb of Christ!
This year, prayerfully consider conforming your life "to the worship rhythms" of Holy Week, as our liturgical sourcebook Sundays and Seasons suggests. Let these three days take priority over other things - meetings and rehearsals and sports and all those other things we use to excuse our absence - and come to church - three times on three consecutive days, one service - our journey from darkness into light!